Saturday, May 26, 2018
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A baby, ball games and cars: How a grandfather is made

Contributed photo: Taylor June Hargis kisses her daughter Allison June.

Every year without fail, spring sports is the most hectic and unpredictable of all seasons for small town sports editors.
Unpredictability might not be the right word because spring is filled with chaos every year, especially when you have the most teams of any of the three seasons playing sports in the shortest time frame.
All you can do is hope to survive.
The last two full weeks of May are undoubtedly the busiest and toughest for guys like me, especially when you consider you have boys and girls track and field sectionals and regionals, girls tennis sectional, softball sectionals and baseball sectionals. No way a guy like me can pull it off without help.
But after years of dealing with it, you get used to it and figure out a way to get everything covered, even if you have to call in several favors.
Sectional and regionals aside, this spring was distinctively different because of my daughter Taylor, who was expecting her first child and my first grandchild.
She was due on May 9, but it was beginning to look like it would not happen then. Her final appointment at the doctor before birth would be on May 11, when they decided to have her go to the hospital on May 14, Mother’s Day, to begin the process.
But before she made it to the hospital, her car had to be put in the shop. She was not complaining as she got to drive my newer car, which features air conditioning,  Bluetooth and modern conveniences that most of my junkers don’t include.
It seemed like it was going to be a simple fix, if you call $450 simple. But during the repair process, the mechanic found not one, not two, not three, but four places on the frame that made the car not safe to drive, especially for my child and grandchild.
Financially, I had to spend $40 instead of $450 and got $200 back when I had to junk out the car.
With all that said,  I finally had to put one of my backup cars on the road for me, and looked for another vehicle for Taylor. Yes I eventually wanted my 2014 Kia Forte back.
On May 12, I looked at two cars in Terre Haute, but neither one was right, even though the guy with a Lincoln Town Car was literally leaving the state within minutes. I felt bad telling the guy the car wasn’t for me as he prepared to take it to the salvage yard before exiting the Hoosier State.
Later in the day, I was on my way to Mecca to watch the Sullivan baseball and softball teams play at Riverton Parke.
Lo and behold, I found a car for sale north of Terre Haute. Within about an hour or so, I had purchased another vehicle that I had to get home.
After the games on Friday and a friend helping me get my latest used car home on Saturday, it was time to get focused on the main course — becoming a grandfather.
So after putting the sports pages to bed that Sunday night, I went to Union Hospital in Terre Haute to begin the waiting game.
As it turned out, they were not expecting anything to happen until Monday morning, when nurses and the doctor got more serious.
Taylor wanted me to stay in the room during the birthing process. This was going to be new to me as Trish had booted me out of the room on June 9, 1992 when Taylor was born. Why? I am not sure. Maybe I was making her nervous or couldn’t handle it.
The father Zach, my future mother-in-law Charlene and myself were the three chosen ones to be included in the process.
So at 3:58 p.m. May 15, Allison June was born. She came in at six pounds, 15 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Hard to believe it was 25 days short of 25 years since I had last held something so fragile and precious. I was pretty uncomfortable, I can admit.
I sent more texts and photos than I ever have that day. Never did I think I would become the annoying grandpa that was constantly showing pictures of my lovely grandbaby.
Allison June is not quite a month old now and already has overcome having to go back into the hospital for a couple of days for a fever. But “Papa B,” I picked my own moniker, has got a feeling that she is going to be a survivor.
Oh by the way, I made the quick trip from Union Hospital on Tuesday afternoon to Terre Haute North High School, the site of the girls track and field sectional, where my two weeks of bedlam started. Every now and then, the timing works out.
It will be 27 years ago on Aug. 18, 1990 when my days as a confirmed bachelor ended. I was lucky enough to marry Patricia June Latham.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever image finding the love of my life, being a parent and becoming a grandfather. The only sad thing is that “Trish” wasn’t at my side to share in this, as she passed away a little more than six years ago.
 In the movie about Stephen Hawking named “Theory of Everything,” Stephen and his divorced wife Jane were watching their three kids.
In virtually the final scene, he told her, “Look what we did.”
I had seen this just a couple of weeks before Allison June was born and his words echoed through my head when she was born.
We did OK, Trish.

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