Drew Neuenschwander is a 2013 graduate of the PWR program. “Grampa Gus an’ the Baseball Game was originally published in Parnassus, won 1st place in Barton Rees Pogue Poetry Contest—2010 for poetry category and 2013 for performing lit. category.
Each 4th of July our family leaves town
an’ meets with kin folk at the ol’ hoedown.
Baked taters hit the spot; roast does the same,
but the day’s highlight is the baseball game.
Now somehow ev’ry year Grampa Gus gets word;
he busts outta the rest home just to join the herd.
An’ ev’ry year since the Wright plane flew,
Grampa Gus’ team is the winnin’ team, too!
Y’all might not believe this tale ’o mine.
Most folks his age can’t dash the baseline.
But Ol’ Gramps can! An’ with his cane for a bat,
I declare, Grampa Gus can knock a brick wall flat!
His thumbs are big as sausages; arms, thick as trees.
An’ he’s fast as greased lightnin’ on creaky ol’ knees.
His loopin’ swing’s a legend, an’ it ain’t slowed down
by his Parkinson’s disease or that itchy flannel gown.
The bat cracks hard, an’ the ball flies deep,
Gus lopes off home plate with a vic’try leap!
Relatives stampede, fightin’ tooth an’ nail
to SNATCH UP THAT BALL but to no avail!
Gramps’ toe stomps first, an’ he grinds due south,
his dentures a’rattlin’ inside his mouth!
Cuz’n Joe wings the ball with Mach 10 force,
but Gus jumps up, an’ he clears the ball’s course!
With a rebel yell, Gus stomps down second base,
not a drop of persp’ration yet rollin’ down his face.
Aunt Beulah dives at Gus, the ball in her hand,
but Gus stops quick, landin’ Auntie in the sand!
Dad pries the ball from our sniggerin’ aunt
An’ flings it on home, his percision scant.
He beans our catcher below the waist.
Gaspin,’ the boy scoops the ball in haste.
Mitt swings round an’ tags nothin’ but air!
Not fair! Some stare, some glare, an’ some swear!
But soon, all is laughin’ ’til it rings in the dell.
Then the young ’uns ’ll mob ’im with an eager yell!
An’ Gus falls on ’is back where he rumbles with mirth
’til his laughin’ shakes up the foundations of earth.
Yep. All in all, though rowdy an’ bizarre,
Our hoedowns is the best of times there are!