It was sad to learn last week of the passing of the Father of one of my childhood friends. Mr. Earl Collier was a fairly big man who seemed even larger when I was young. He had two sons, Jim who was the age of my older brother Mike and Rick who was a year behind me in school. We used to play football in his yard, Rick, Chuck (Rick’s cousin who was my age and lived behind the Collier’s) and me against Jim and my brother. We came home covered in mud many times after those football games.
However, my most vivid memory of Mr. Collier is related to baseball. Jim and Mike had taken Rick and I to the Little League fields behind Hara Arena for some extra practice, I think it was on a Sunday afternoon in the days long before cell phones. The four of us were out on the field and I am sure Jim and Mike were teaching Rick and me the finer points of the game and we were the only ones out there that afternoon.
In the midst of our fun, we see a car approaching, it kicked up some dust as it moved from the paved Hara Arena parking lot to the gravel parking lot of the Shiloh-Ft. McKinley Little League. As the car got closer we could recognize it as Mr. Collier’s vehicle. The car stopped at the end of the gravel lot, out beyond the outfield while we were around Homeplate.
Apparently Jim and Rick were expected back home at a certain time and that time had passed. I can still see Mr. Collier getting out of the vehicle, looking towards us and bellowing, “You’ve got three minutes to get home and two of them are already gone!”
Mr. Collier got back in the car and left as quickly as he came and, needless to say Jim and Rick scurried as quickly as they could back home.