Henry Baerg, who turned 114 in September, has not followed baseball much in the last 90 years or so, but fondly recalls the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.
“Oba, those were the days,” says Baerg, with his grandsons, Abraham, aged 77, and Johann, aged 74, curled up on his lap to listen to his tales of a bygone era. “I didn’t have much use for Theodore Roosevelt, nor the wild ragtime music of Scott Joplin, but, diewel, did I love baseball yet!”
Baerg recalls that a three-fingered pitcher named Mordecai Brown was his absolute favourite.
“He could do more with three fingers and a bit of spit,” explained Baerg, “than most people could do with a fistful of fingers and a gallon of schmaunt fat.”
Young Abraham and Johann may not have lived through the dead-ball era like their grandfather did, but they appreciated his anecdotes nonetheless.
“I just love coming to Opa Baerg’s place and listening to his stories about the olden days,” says Abraham. “I’ve been coming here since the early 1940s and Opa’s stories just never get old. Especially when he talks about baseball.”
The fun times could not last forever, however. After a while, Mr. Baerg’s legs started to get numb, and Abraham and Johan’s 95-year-old mother Martha interupted the discussion.
“Na, Junges,” she said. “Don’t you think it’s time we hit the hay?”
Abraham and Johan whined a little and begged to stay a while longer. Martha, however, gave them ‘the look’ and the boys decided it was better not to mess with a Mennonite mother, especially one who had so many decades of experience with this sort of thing.
(Photo credit: Snapshots of the Past/CC)