By Mike Johnson
You don’t have to winterize a baseball mitt.
You don’t even realize your last use before the snow flies.
You just tuck it into its cubby like normal, then winter overtakes you before the next use.
It sits until spring.
Leather lasts as long as a human life.
I know this from seeing baseball gloves at thrift shops.
Universally, they smell the same. Universally, I pick them up and deeply inhale, just to verify.
They all exhibit the same stiffness until you slide them on, bend the two edges inward and punch the pocket a couple times with your fist.
Now they’re game-ready, no matter their age.
You pick them up with reverence because you know you’re holding the repository of warm memories. Deep, rich, personal memories. You’re not holding leather, you’re holding legacy.
No one ever throws a baseball mitt away. They’re generational. They're passed to brothers, passed to children, passed to friends, passed to basement shelves. Finally, they’re passed to thrift shops after parents die and houses are emptied to close the estate.
These baseball gloves witnessed it all. Birth through death. They earned their worn patina through moments of glory, despair, utility and years of patience, awaiting their next use and next owner.
They rode bicycle handlebars, tiny and fat fingers, dugout benches, the tops of heads, baseball bat handles and on rainy days, the rumps of kids with no other dry option.
Like life, you never know which will be the very last inning.
You never realize that the last use of that mitt will be your last use of that mitt.
You tuck it in its cubby like normal, then death overtakes you before your next use.
It sits until the house is emptied.
Then it sits in the thrift store cemetery.
It deserves better.
More: Handle Time Travel With Kid Gloves
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