"Looking for something?" The white blazer pulled up alongside me, two elderly men sitting next to each other, awaiting my answer.
"A baseball," I replied with a smile.
One of the men punched the arm of his friend next to him with a warm familiarity, "I told you. I told you that's what she was going to say."
They both looked back at me. "Going to be tough to find a baseball out here." He paused as I nodded, "Snow and all."
"Right," I said. "Did someone tell you they threw it out here? That it's out here in the ditch?" I shook my head no and looked down at my foot as I made a circle in the snow.
I picked my head back up and told them that my plan was just to look for imprints in the snow that resembled a baseball. They looked at one another for a moment; I could sense that within their glance, they were silently deciding which one would talk next and that neither of them wanted to be the one to speak.
"It's going to be really tough, not even knowing if the ball is out here, you know? It's cold, maybe you should head inside."
I was hoping that my smile might belie my tears when I told them that I'd seen a lot of things that I wouldn't have believed possible.
"You're awful young to have seen something that big," the man closest to me responded softly. I could see the genuine concern in his eyes and I thought, for a moment, of my grandfather, of how he would tell the story of the crazy lady he talked to on the side of the road, looking for a baseball in the snow.
I laughed and said one of those things happened in 1984, in the bottom of the eighth inning and was cut off mid-sentence as the driver said, "I still can't believe they threw to him." "I know," I said, "I was doubled over with hope and fingers over my eyes when everyone in the house was yelling, 'They're not going to walk him! They're not going to walk him!' " Our laughter danced in the freezing air for a few moments.
Then he nodded slowly toward the land in front of me, "Better let you get back to looking, then. Never know what you're gonna find."