Cincinnati Red Stockings

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 WarVolume VII is Emilene Adopts Her Family.

This must be the reason they get paid. Every one of them is better than everyone of us.

David knew his job was still important. The players were getting discouraged and they didn’t need him to mope around with them. They needed him to look after them, and keep encouraging them to do their best.

So put that thought away and pull out your good thoughts. You gotta help them rally to tally. I like that — rally to tally. Maybe I’ll say that this inning.

“You don’t have to be a lot better than the other guy to win, you just have to be a little better,” Smokey said, as they walked in from the top of the sixth inning. “And then things can get way out of hand.”

“Well, it is that. Way out of hand,” Birdlegs said. “I’ve already run as far as the courthouse and back, just in right field.”

“Five more tallies,” Bull said. “What is that now, 33?”

“Thirty-five,” Gopher replied. “It’s 35 to 3.”

“Well, just because their bats are on fire, there’s no reason we can’t be having more tallies. This is our crowd, Men. Let’s give them a show.

Middle of the sixth inning: Cincinnati 35, Mansfield 3.

+ + +

Tim stormed out of Mr. Wiler’s office and started marching back to his store, with Grace rushing to keep up.

I can’t run in this dress, but if you go any faster Mr. Tim, I’ll have to hitch it up.

As though he suddenly realized that Grace was trotting behind, he stopped. Oomph. Grace bumped into the back of him.

“Oh, I am sorry, Grace. I forget that your legs aren’t as long as mine. I was just stoked a bit from that encounter. I’ll walk slower.”

“I don’t mind that, Mr. Tim.”

Thank him.

“And, well, thank you for what you just said.”

“I can’t begin to know what your life has been to this point, Grace. And certainly not what your parents’ life was. And I do know it has been a big change for you since you got here.”

You ain’t just whistling “Dixie.”

“I just want it all to be a good change for you.”

Grace was quiet. She knew that her adoptive family was trying hard to make things better for her, but now here is Mr. Tim, caring about her. And so many others — The Pleasants, Miss Vasbinder, the ladies at the church, lots of people.

“I only think about the ones who are nice to me. I don’t have time to worry about the rest, Mr. Tim,” Grace said.

Tim smiled, and they walked on, a bit slower, quiet now. Just as they reached the door of the store, Grace said, “That was a nice speech you gave Mr. Wiler. I was, uh, proud of you.”

“Proud? You sound like my mother,” he smiled.

Grace felt her face flush.

“I meant, I, well, I liked it.”

“Thank you, Grace. Yes, it was a good talk. I don’t know where it came from except from deep inside. I had been thinking it for a long time. It felt good to finally say it.”

“Do you think you’ll lose his business?”

“Hard to say. He is a hard businessman, but fair. Has to be, to cater to so many people. I just hope he changes his thinking. I want you to be allowed to walk in there, and sing in there,” Tim said.

“I really don’t care about that building at all, Mr. Tim. Really. There are wonderful places all over God’s green world; it don’t matter if I’m not allowed in a few of them,” Grace replied.

He’s just looking at me.

Tim smiled.

“Now that sounds like something you heard along the way.”

My Mama. Plain as if she was standing here next to me. I miss you, Mama.

As though Tim noticed that tear in Grace’s eye, he said, “When I stand behind the counter there, I often hear Jimmy’s voice, as though he were talking through the shelves, which he did a lot.

“I hear his advice, and his teasing, and his jokes. I know it will never be the way it was, but every once in a while, I get a little reminder, I get to go back, for just a moment,” he said, and sighed.

“Is that good enough?” Grace asked.

“It has to be, Grace.

“It has to be.”

Tim pushed the door open.

“Come in. Let’s see how Mother got along, and let’s raid the candy jars.”

If that means the licorice jar, I’m in.

As Grace was walking home, with two little bags of licorice and wintergreen candies, she spotted David two blocks ahead, coming toward her, or more specifically toward their house, which was between him and Grace.

He must be done with practice. He’s getting out of all his chores by helping out with that team. I’ll be glad when next Tuesday comes and that game is finally done.

She waved, and he broke into a trot past the house up to her.

“Hi there, Greasespot,” David said, using one of the two dozen nicknames he had for his older sister.

“Hi back, Flatfoot,” she replied.

Grace had two dozen nicknames for David, too.

“What were you up to?” he asked. “Your chores. Did you forget today is your day to run the grocery list to Costin’s?”

David’s eyes got big, Grace continued before he could say a word.

“Of course I took the list to Tim. Mama is none the wiser. Besides, I got to go with Mr. Tim to the Wiler House and hear him tell Mr. Wiler to change his ways and let our band play there.”

"You went to see Mr. Wiler?”

“We did, and he told Mr. Wiler that my face is what the war was all about.”

“Your face could start a war all right.”

“No, you ninny, he said the war was about freedom, our freedom and that Mr. Wiler is holding up the future by not changing, or something like that.”

“Wow!”

“Then he marched out of the office — I went, too, of course — and he was so proud of himself, he gave me two bags of candy.”

David stared at one and then the other.

“Yes, one is for you, and it’s not the licorice.”

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