Editor's Note: This is an ongoing series which runs each Thursday morning titled the Richland Chronicles, by author Paul Lintern. It is set in the 1860s and tells the story of Richland County through the eyes of young people. The books are available from Lintern for $25 a set, tax and shipping included. Each book is about 120 pages written for intermediate readers (4th grade) with local illustrations. Volume I is Amelia Changes Her Tune. Volume II is Isaac and Wolf Paw Find Their Home. Volume III is Autumn Keeps Her Secret. Volume IV is Mr. Gamble Starts a School. Volume V is Jacob Blows his Horn. Volume VI is Cassie Fights the War. Volume VII is Emilene Adopts Her Family.
He’s not giving up.
David smiled as he watched Jacob standing at second base.
He can catch anything.
From the ﬁrst time he played catch with Jacob, David had been impressed with his new brother’s hands. He never dropped the ball, or if he did, it was a throw that most people would not have even gotten to.
Even when it bounces funny.
Which the ball did quite regularly today. Cincinnati scored two more runs, but the big news was that they only scored two more runs, and that was because Jacob grabbed a ball right out the air as it riﬂed past him, to make the ﬁrst striker hand dead.
Then, three batters later, he grabbed a ball with his left hand before it went into right ﬁeld and with the same hand softly tossed it to ﬁrst for a second hand dead, even though the runners moved up to second and third.
Two batters later, after a right ﬁeld one-bagger had brought in those two runners, he snagged a bad bounce, again with this left hand, and threw out one of the fastest Red Stockings on their team.
Without Jacob, it would have been much worse.
“Hey, nice play out there, Kid. Three dead, no muﬀs. And those lefty plays were pretty impressive,” Ice Wagon said as the team came in.
“Maybe we should call him Lefty,” Gopher suggested.
“Nah, Kid still works for him,” Spider said.
“All right then, Kid Lefty,” Gopher replied.
“Anybody notice we are now down by 27?” Smokey asked. “Maybe we save the nickname contest till we pull to within a dozen.
“Gopher, you’re up. Make us proud.”
Middle of the ﬁfth inning: Cincinnati 30, Mansﬁeld 3.
“Those plays at second ought to lift his spirits,” Nate said of Jacob’s ﬁelding.
“If you prevent tallies by the other team, it’s like scoring tallies for your own,” Phillip said.
“Again, with the philosophy. Nothing beats pounding the ball past the other team,” Nate suggested.
“Okay, but still….”
“Yes, I see your point, but I am sure Jacob does not. He wants on base,” Nate said. “And I am sure he will. He has to, they all do.”
“So, is Cincinnati that good, or is Mansﬁeld that bad?” Nate asked.
“Yes,” Phillip said, and they all laughed.
+ + +
“I think that playing for the game is a wonderful idea, girls,” Miss Vasbinder said at their lesson a week before the game.
But does it have to be that churchy stuﬀ? Grace wondered.
“We could play some patriotic music, something the people would sing to, and then something they could dance to,” she said.
That doesn’t sound like church, at least not white people church.
“But what if there are a lot of people there? Will they hear us?” Emilene asked. “I was thinking I would ask some friends to join us, some of the violin teachers in town, and their students.”
This is getting complicated.
“Do we have to get permission?” Emilene wondered.
“Let me take care of that,” Miss Vasbinder said.
The girls practiced with great enthusiasm, not just because they were planning to perform, but also because they ﬁgured now they would get to be part of this special event that David and Jacob were so involved in. Not that they wanted to take anything away from them and what they were doing. Except maybe a little.
“Let’s play ‘My Country Tis of Thee.’ Everyone will sing that,” Miss Vasbinder said.
“And ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ ” Emilene suggested.
Miss Vasbinder nodded her head.
“How about ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home?’ ” Emilene asked.
“And the ‘Star-Spangled Banner!’ ”
“Oh, ‘To Anacreon in Heaven.’ What a ﬁne tune,” she said.
“An Akron Nun?” Grace asked.
Miss Vasbinder smiled.
“‘To Anacreon in Heaven’ is the name of the tune, one written for a men’s social club in London, but with diﬀerent words. The Star-Spangled Banner poem ﬁt with that tune, and that’s what people sing,” she replied.
“Can we play songs that are not just patriotic?” Grace asked.
“Oh, I think we should,” Miss Vasbinder replied.
“How about ‘Boatman Dance,’ or ‘Swanee River?’ ”
“Or ‘Dixie,’ ” Grace said.
“Mr. Lincoln had said it’s our song again. Let’s do that,” Miss Vasbinder said.
The girls smiled. Emilene suddenly thought of one.
“How about that brand new one that everyone is singing. ‘Little Brown Jug?’ ”
“We’re not playing a song about drinking gin and rum,” she said. “If you want to sing a brand new song, then we can sing a hymn I just learned. It’s called, ‘I Love to Tell the Story.’ ”
Emilene got a gleam in her eye.
“Let’s do both; we’ll play and sing the story song, but we’ll just play the brown jug song.”
Miss Vasbinder agreed to the compromise, and then got a gleam in her eye, too.
“Say, you wouldn’t be turning me into a ﬁddler, would you?”