The following is an excerpt from a journal I kept in 1983. This passage was written in January, of 1983, and I copied it word-for-word.
I stared into my son’s blue eyes. I remember thinking that everything had gone exactly like we talked about all along; nothing had gone wrong. We had known it would be hard and it was. Harder than we even remember, I am sure. But nothing could diminish the feeling of triumph, the feeling of accomplishment, and I wanted to shout it to the clouds above.
Kate gave the baby back to Gluten-Free Mama, who suddenly realized she was famished. Of all things, she asked, “Markie, will you get me a cheeseburger?” I thought she was having a relapse since cheeseburgers used to be last on her list of palatable foods, but I realized she was just starving, and the good old A&W was only two blocks down The 101 from Howard Hospital. Off I went.
I was hungry also so I ordered for me too. After I had ordered, it hit me again that I had a son. “But my son doesn’t have a name,” I almost blurted out loud. We had picked several girls’ names but had not settled on any boys’ names. As I was sitting there thinking, in drove a monster 4-W-D pickup truck, all decked out in polished chrome, and parked right opposite me.
Gradually, as it came into focus, I noticed the off-road lights on the front bumper. What I zeroed in on were the initials on the two, cloth-covered spotlights, K C on the left and K C on the right. K C, K C , KC, Casey. It was perfect, even if I was not particularly thrilled with the A & W parking lot as a source. But I thought the name was the best in the world.
I wasn’t sure if GF Mama would go along with my choice of names, or not. Others we had considered included Doyle, Graham and Blaise, but all of the sudden I liked the name Casey more than any other.
I could already hear him running into the house, shouting, “Dad, let’s get the baseball and toss it back and forth.” He doesn’t have to play baseball; I don’t plan on forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. But if he’s into it, he will find me a willing participant-if my legs will still carry me.
Somehow I can still see myself playing baseball at sixty. I guess it’s because I think of baseball as a state of mind, and not a physical achievement.
Later as GF Mama and I chatted quietly, I asked, casually, “What do you think of the name, Casey?”
“K. C.?” she asked.
“No, not K. C. Casey,” was what I replied.
She asked me if I liked it. “Yeah, it sounds Irish. Casey Stengel, Casey at the Bat. You know. Kind of All-American and home-townish.” My voice was still very calm.
She agreed. “It is a well-known name but certainly not common. It is kind of nice. Let’s think about it.”
The rest is history. The A&W is gone now but it left behind some memories.
One of them became a legend.