Before we know it, the baseball season will be upon us: can’t wait to see the New York Yankees’ Baby Bombers in action along with their seasoned counterparts. I hope we get down to the stadium and experience a couple of “in-person” games this year—they’re always fun-filled and adventurous family excursions!

Back in the day when the boys were playing Little League Baseball, we operated like a well-oiled machine. Bud and I would rush home from work, get into our relaxing clothes and load our cars with coolers, snacks, equipment and lawn chairs; he usually went with George to his game. Because Paul and Matt were so close in age, they were chosen to play on the same team; I was their driver and No. 1 fan. This was a relief for us: as much as we thought we were wonder parents, we couldn’t be in three places at once!

You ask: Where was Joe? He was not a sports kid; he’d rather be puttering with an old engine or machine and getting greasy. Poor kid was usually dragged to the game with me. He grumbled that he could stay at home by himself and that baseball was boring. By the time I set up our chairs, he was in better spirits as he’d met up with other “also-dragged-along” kids and they’d run around and play and then attack the snacks and drinks. An aside: We all know cars were and still are Joe’s passion.

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The Crock Pot played a major role in our baseball production. Before setting off for work in the morning, I’d put meat, vegetables and seasonings in the pot, turn it on and head out the door. Whoever got home first after his game would set the table. By the time we all landed on home base that evening, dinner was ready. Then while baseball uniforms swished in the Tide-loaded washing machine, we sat down to a delicious dinner and a rehash of the games. We did this so often and so smoothly, it was second nature!

When the boys left home to strike out on their own, I gave each a Crock Pot along with copies of some of my recipes. They’ve since been replaced with bigger and better pots, but Mom’s recipes live on; they serve them up to their own families from time to time or ask for a reprint.

I fondly reminisce about these moments in our family life. It was a chance to enjoy being together, getting into the spirit and rooting for our kids and their teams. The end to a perfect day—not so perfect if your team lost—was gathering once again around the kitchen table to continue that togetherness and maybe soothe some feelings of frustration and disappointment.

“La famiglia e’ tutto.” Family is everything.

Ruthann can be reached at grandmopps@aol.com.