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Friday, June 05, 2009

An artist, a little boy and enduring community

It's a long story.

And, it means so much to me.

The story begins with Wyatt Toombs, my 5-year-old grandson.

Wyatt loves sports, all sports. On every team Wyatt wears the number 7.

Rewind to 1956 and forward. Mickey Mantle is my number one favorite baseball player and basic, all-round hero. I remember pulling for the Mick against Roger Maris in 1961 when Maris set the home run record. Both players were New York Yankees. I grew up on baseball in the vacant lot beside my house. I grew up on Yankee baseball on the radio and on television.

Naturally, I tell Wyatt that Mantle wore the number 7, too. Wyatt doesn't know who Mantle is, but the connection to the shared number really gets his attention and we enter one of those wonderful "tell me more, grandad" moments!

Now, to the image here.

Rick Timmons, an artist and a friend, painted this amazing oil portrait of Mantle. Rick's brother, Tim, also one of my dear friends, saw a post here of Wyatt playing soccer on a YouTube cut I posted back in April. Knowing my love for Wyatt and my appreciation for Mantle, Tim suggests that Rick give the painting to Wyatt.

The painting comes with its own story. It was painted almost a decade ago. Rick decided that Tim's idea makes more sense than any other he has encountered when it comes to this particular piece. So, now the portrait belongs to Wyatt!

Number 7. So much more to say. But, I'll let it go for now.

Thanks, Rick and Tim.

I love you, Wyatt.


1 comment:

rcorum said...

I love the Yankees and hate St. Louis. I believe that you can hate in sports because it is just for fun. As far as I am concerned your grandson owns a priceless painting. I don't remember Mantle in 61. I was too little, but I do remember the last years of his baseball career. Our family moved in 1971 and I left behind in the attic my shoebox full of baseball cards. My brother had them first and then handed them down to me. I hate to think of how many Mantle cards I had. There was even more than one Mantle rookie card. I was eleven at the time and had lost interest in the cards. I am sure you remember watching the game of the week with Dizzy Dean and Reese. Those were the days. What an awesome artist. What a thoughtful man to give that painting to your grandson. Great story.