Until the End of the Ninth

Beth Mary Bollinger

SUNDAY, JULY 29: FIELD OF DREAMS, IOWA

I don’t really sell many books at the Field of Dreams.  The set-up makes it a little hard for people to see me there.  But here’s the thing.  I don’t care.  I just don’t care.  Because I am at the Field of Dreams.  It is Ghost Sunday.  There is magic in this field.  Just being here is worth the trip.  I wonder how often there are shadows of spirit players on this field at the midnight hour, when no one else is around. 

At the appointed hour, the music from the movie begins and seven men in White Sox uniforms come out from the corn fields.  (Not eight.  Apparently the eighth is out of town.)  It is wonderful.  And then it is wonderful as they play ball with all the kids, who come up to bat and run the bases and laugh a lot at the antics of avoiding tag-outs.  I am told that it is the largest crowd that they have had in a long time for Ghost Sunday (which is once a month in the summer).  People do come up to talk to me. They have come from all around the country.  It is true – if you build it, they will come.  It is one man’s birthday.  He’s a sports guy.  “Happy Birthday,” I write in the book that he buys. 

One young woman in particular helps me, and so it seems fitting to give her one of the remaining shafts of wheat.  The kernels appear electrified still.  I knew I wanted to leave a piece of wheat at the Field of Dreams.  I just didn’t know, until I had arrived and the day was unfolding, that I would want to give it to her. 

Time again for the road. On to Chicago, and to see my sister.  Chicago comes on the radio.  Perfect coincidence.  I turn the song up loud.  Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?