There are a few things about pre-crazy, over development of Williamsburg that locals might remember. The John Yancy used to be the unofficial edge of town, 7-11s and pancake houses were everywhere, and the only putt-putt was on By-Pass Road. Some might also remember the Bonanza, provider of home run dinners to all of the Williamsburg Youth League power hitters over the years.
I remember two home runs clearly. We were playing on the little league field when I happened to contact a pitch just right. It barely went over the fence and I knew nothing of the reward for my accidental Ruthian hit. The homers would be few and far between for me, although I did like a certain curve ball from Bruton High School.
The second, though, is as clear as can be. The park was lined with a cast of characters. There were the men of the syndicate who were held up by the right field fence, there were the kids behind the backstop playing cup ball, and there was Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Stewart, two of the loudest and proudest moms anywhere.
Mrs. Walker had a bushel of kids with an each with a healthy amount of athletic talent. She may as well had rented a room at Kiwanis park for all the time she spent there. Her usual spot was the centerfield bleachers so she could watch both the Pony League game and the Little League game. Word has it that when the action got particularly tense she would grab hold of any man’s hand and squeeze it for all it was worth. Whenever one of her boys made a good play she would let out a yell and the hand holding turned to hugging whoever was closest.
Mrs. Stewart was similar, but without all of the kids. Her son stood at bat one afternoon with the sun staring right into the first basemen’s eyes. I stood on the bare spot in centerfield doubting if a ball would come my way because our best pitcher was throwing. Rick dug in and half swung at a ball making solid contact that rose towards right field and sailed right over the fence. Mrs. Stewart started running and yelling, “We’re going to Bonanza tonight! We’re going to Bonanza tonight!”
It was classic.
Year later, Rick and I would become as close as brothers. We’d fight like brothers and get each others’ back like brothers. Today, he is still a super important part of my life. Now that Williamsburg is all grown up and the Bonanza is long gone, I’m just thankful to have seen Hub’s home run and to have him as a friend.