“What about this old thing?” she asked her brother as she held it up from across the room.
The two of them, brother and sister, had been asked by the lawyer to go through Granny’s things. They were the youngest of her relatives and the one’s still physically capable of doing the job.
Her brother looked up from what he was doing and replied, “Oh, that’s a baseball catcher’s mitt. Throw it over here. Let me take a close look at it. I might want to keep that.”
Granny had been a bit of a hoarder. Nothing too serious, but there was a lot of stuff to go through. She had been a bit of a drinker, too. And a bit of a family gossip. But at ninety-six when she died suddenly at home, the rest of the family forgot her shortcomings and quickly came together to settle her affairs. And part of that was to pack-up her house, which her granddaughter and grandson were now doing. They were told that they could keep whatever they wanted in exchange for taking care of Granny’s things. And they had each agreed that either of them could keep whatever each wanted, no arguments.
They decided right off to do it systematically. Put all the clothes in one area, all the crockery in another, and on and on. And if something was found that defied description, they both agreed in advance to discuss it first. And that’s why her brother was now fiddling with the catcher’s mitt his sister had found locked away in a chest.
He had the mitt on his right hand, and was punching into it with his left hand. She smiled as she continued to sift through the other stuff in the chest. He was about the least athletic one in the family, she thought to herself, but he was about as avid a baseball fan as anyone she knew. “It’s a left-handed catcher’s mitt, Dedre,” he said, getting up and walking over towards her. “And you know that there are no left-handed catchers playing baseball? None. And in my memory, and that goes back for over fifty odd years, there never has been one.”
She nodded absentmindedly as he got closer and as she continued to look at what remained in the chest. “Oh, that’s interesting,” she remarked as he stood right next to her, still pounding the thing in his right hand with his left hand.
“Which is odd. It’s a Rawlings product. See, here’s the tag sewn on the inside. But why make a mitt that nobody was going to wear, ever?” he asked, a very serious tone in his voice, as he removed the mitt and made a closer inspection of it.
“Maybe we should call Rawlings and ask,” she suggested. “Might be that it’s valuable. And maybe that’s why Granny had it locked away.”
“Well, I’m going to keep this. We agreed, right? No arguments?” he said abruptly, clutching the mitt and turning away as he walked back across the room.
She said nothing for a few moments as she continued kneeling over the open chest. She had found something else along with the mitt, something she hadn't told her brother. She knew very little about baseball but she recognized the autograph on the baseball she was now holding in her hand outside of his view.
“That’s fine,” she replied to her brother. “We had an agreement.”
He smiled to himself, consumed by his new-found possession and wondering just how much it might be worth. He thought he might have gotten an argument from his sister about keeping the catcher’s mitt, but she seemed very adult about the whole thing.
“I’ll just keep this little baseball that was in the mitt, Bob,” she muttered from across the room.
“Whatever, Dedre. We had an agreement,” her brother countered, a self-satisfied look on his face.
Looking down again at the ball she now held in hand, she just wanted to make absolutely sure about the name. Yes, there is was, ‘Honus Wagner’, she said to herself, as she slipped it into her apron pocket.