The ball sailed high into the air before smashing into the window of a house situated deep in right field of the makeshift diamond.

Jeffrey Snyder grabbed his glove and prepared to make a hasty exit to avoid the wrath of the homeowner.

“Wait a minute,” came a shout from over his shoulder. Jeff stopped in his tracks and turned to face his classmate, Ryan Green.

“It’s OK,” explained Green. “The old lady that lives there is really cool. She just gives us the balls back without yelling at us.”

Snyder hesitated. Could this be true? Any time an adult had caught one of his friends breaking a window, the whole group had been yelled at and forced to pay to fix the window. He decided that Green wouldn’t lie to him. He turned back around and joined the group and they walked toward the house.

Ryan Green took a step forward and rang the bell. A moment later, a woman answered the door.

“I’m sorry, Miss Marshall. We broke your window again.”

Kathleen Marshall looked at the group of young boys. “Which of you boys hit the ball?” she asked.

Jeffrey Snyder hesitated for a moment, and then spoke. “It was me, ma’am. I’m very sorry.”

“You a righty or a lefty?”

“Uh, I’m righthanded, ma’am.”

“That’s a good piece of hitting, then,” she remarked. “You took the ball the opposite way. You can’t expect to succeed by pulling everything.”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied a dumbfounded Snyder.

“Go back to your game, boys. Don’t you worry none about this window – I can get it fixed easily enough.”

The relieved group muttered thanks to Kathleen and they raced back toward the diamond to continue their game.

Kathleen Marshall made a note to call her handyman to get the glass in the window replaced. She could expect to replace the glass at least a couple of times each year, as well as suffering several dents to her siding.

Marshall put the cost of the repair out of her mind for a moment as she watched the boys continue the game. It was a beautiful day in June, and these were the true boys of summer – the kids who played the game for the sheer enjoyment.

Kathleen thought back on her own son, Edward. Edward’s favorite toy as an infant had been a plush baseball, and he spent countless hours swinging away at a ball on a tee in his younger days. When he was finally old enough to play with real bats and balls, he spent summer days such as this playing baseball from sun up to sun down. Many times, Kathleen had to walk down to the diamond to drag him home for supper.

Kathleen also remembered the last year. Edward fighting the leukemia that ravaged his body. Every day, he listened to baseball games on the portable radio next to his bed. His love of the game gave him the strength to continue his fight.

The she remembered that long ago fall day. The baseball season had wrapped up, and there was no baseball to listen to on the radio. Edward managed to stumble across The Natural playing on one of the movie channels. He drifted off the sleep as Robert Redford smacked the mighty blast that froze the clock at a moment in time.

Frozen in time, too, was the smile on Edward’s face. It was the final time that he would drift off to sleep.

Kathleen looked back toward the boys playing baseball and took a moment to dab a tear from her eye. Some of her friends said that she allowed the kids to take advantage of her and that she should make them pay to fix her window when they broke it. Kathleen knew that she could never do that. She would never do anything that would chase away these boys – the boys who kept alive the memories of her Edward with their joyful baseball games.