Time in the minors

I'm a sports fan. I wouldn't say I'm a sports fanatic who follows everything every NFL or MLB player does on and off the field but I like to watch the Steelers and the Pirates.

I've been to a few minor league football games and watching my kids play football, baseball and wrestle in school were some of my favorite times.

So when I heard the church takes an annual trip to an Erie Seawolves game followed by a picnic at Presque Isle, it sounded like a good time so I signed up.

When church was over, we packed our cars and headed out. As I pulled out and headed down the road, I thought I really should stop for gas but I didn't want to get there late and hold everyone up so decided I would just stop somewhere on my way home.

It was a warm, sunny day so I had the windows down and the radio on, rather loud so I couldn't hear myself singing, enjoying the ride.

Being somewhat (so maybe a little more than somewhat) directionally challenged, and never having been to the stadium before, I put the address in my GPS.

I drove right to it, just like I knew where I was going.

I was a little concerned about finding a parking spot; I didn't want to have to park too far away and not remember how to get back to my car but it was my lucky day. The gentleman working in the parking lot directly across from the stadium motioned me over and offered me the last spot in the lot, right across from where I was going and right on the end near the exit.

It was perfect.

I pulled into the spot, put the car in park and grabbed my purse as he walked to my window to collect the four-dollar parking fee.

Digging through my purse, I wasn't finding my wallet. I looked on the seat beside me. Nothing.

Then it occurred to me. I had taken my wallet into church with me, placed it in the seat beside me and I was sure I hadn't brought it back out with me.

Feeling my perfect day coming to a screeching halt, I quickly checked the glove box in hopes of finding some "mad money" stashed for such occasions but no such luck.

I explained to the very patient parking lot attendant that I had left my wallet in the pew at church and asked if it would be possible for me to stay in the spot until others from my group arrived and I could hopefully borrow the money to pay for my prime parking spot.

Anyone who says there are not good, understanding people in this world is wrong. He told me I could stay in the last spot until someone else from my group arrived, and if I had to leave, he would sell the spot to someone else.

He then explained he was "going over there" to work and I could just bring the money to him there. Over there was a finger pointing in the general direction of the other side of the parking lot.

As the nice man walked away, I pulled my phone out and called my friend and former co-worker, Linda McCoy to explain my problem and ask if they had arrived yet and if I would be able to borrow a little money from her to pay for the day.

Knowing Tom, Linda, Bob and Julie were still about 15 minutes away, I called Pastor Brian to see if they had arrived. As I was talking to him, he was crossing the street at the opposite end of the parking lot.

Hurrying over to him, careful not to leave the parking lot without paying for my spot, he gave me the money to pay for my parking and I went in search to find the attendant.

I couldn't find him in the parking lot or at the other end. I looked across the street to the stadium but couldn't find him there either. Not wanting to get a parking ticket or worse, have my car towed for stealing a parking spot, I wasn't sure what to do.

I crossed the street and joined some others from the church who were waiting to go into the stadium. I looked all around trying to find someone to pay for my parking spot. I even asked one of the gentlemen working at the gate if they knew where he might be.

I returned Pastor Brian's money to him and hoped I didn't come out to find my car gone.

When Tom, Linda, Bob and Julie arrived, Linda lent me some money so I could eat overpriced food at the stadium and get gas on the way home. Everyone was very nice, offering me as much as I needed.

We had good, almost front row seats, saw a good game surrounded by the atmosphere of a baseball stadium, had a nice picnic after the game and enjoyed the fellowship.

My car was even still there, ticket free, when we came out.

As it often happens, the day didn't go exactly as I had envisioned and I was more than a little embarrassed about forgetting my wallet and having to borrow money but it was a good day with good memories I won't soon forget.

I have also decided I enjoy watching minor league baseball and am looking forward to attending some games next season.

I just have to remember to take an extra four dollars with me the next time I go to pay for my parking spot from this year.

The author is a Knox-area resident.