If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely responded to my call for memories of Perry. Rachael Springfield Bumpus passed along this as a Father’s Day surprise for Gordon. I thought Facebook probably isn’t the best place to keep something secret so…
Here’s the story from Rachael:
Hi everyone. I have a special request that I am helping out with and hope you all can help out if you can. We all remember Perry Tyler, some of you might not know that he and I were first cousins. Perry has a brother, Gordon that is all grown up and has a family of his own. His wife has asked me to help out with some memories of Perry and or pictures for Gordon. She is making a memory book for Father’s Day for Gordy. I am going to put her request on here with all her information. If you can think of anyone else that would like to help out please pass the info on. I really appreciate any help that you can give! Thanks!!
…and from Gordon’s wife, Traci:
i want to make a little memory book for Gordy that has stories and maybe some pics of Perry. He doesn’t remember much about his brother and loves to hear stories about him and things they did together too. I thought I’d try to surprise him for Fathers’ Day with it.
If you don’t mind, if you think of any stories or know of anyone, can you have them message me on FB or email me the stories or pics to firstname.lastname@example.org, please?
I’ve left comments open below if you want to add your own story here. Get in touch with me and I’ll post any pictures you have as well. I’ll send them along all at once, or you can send it to Traci Tyler at the email above. Some browsers might not show the email above correctly. If it doesn’t look quite right, that’s due to some code that protects it from mail-collecting spammers. You can always send me a note and I’ll send you the email address. Thanks!
Here’s my story…
A Boy Named Bull
Bull…that’s what we called Perry in high school. I’ve forgotten many things from the late 80’s, like exactly how he got that nickname. I remember that he was proud of it, and it certainly fit him. His hulking, lean figure was intimidating, and you knew that if you messed around with the bull, you might get the horns. But I don’t remember anyone that brought that out in him. With his nearly ever-present smile and friendly nature, everyone liked him.
Most of my memories of Perry now are on the baseball field. Perry and I competed for our own personal home run derby during our last year of Little League. We both pitched, and we both could pound the ball. I don’t remember who won, but I know the home run count was in double digits, and we had a lot of fun with it. By our sophomore year, when Coach Gilliam tried to give everyone a “textbook” swing, my bat got weaker, but Perry’s was better than ever.
There are a lot of little memories from those days of high school baseball. Most are now a bit fuzzy and incomplete. There’s one, though, that I can still see in my mind like it was yesterday.
I was pitching that day at the park in Dixon, and Bull was playing first base. The lefty at the plate was ready for my fastball, and ripped a hot line drive down the first base line. Bull was quick, but he didn’t have time to get a glove on the ball. He really didn’t have time to move much at all. I heard the crack of the bat, and then a smack!
From his down-and-ready position, Bull had just enough time to reach up with his bare right hand and grab that line drive just above his shoulder! Most people brave enough to even try that would cushion the blow a bit. Not Bull. That ball may as well have hit a brick wall. What I knew of the laws of physics—that stuff about inertia, action and reaction—didn’t mean anything in that moment.
Time didn’t matter either. It seemed to freeze for a couple of seconds as he held the ball for everyone to see. Any jaw that hadn’t dropped already certainly fell when he calmly stood up and tossed the ball back to me. He turned around, kicked the dirt a bit as if to settle back in, and looked toward home plate, ready for the next batter.
We finished the inning, and when I got back to the dugout, I was sure that his hand would be swollen and discolored…possibly broken. He just sat down like nothing had happened. I said, “Bull…you okay? Didn’t that hurt?” He said, “Oh yeah. It hurts.” Then he grinned as he looked out toward the field where the other team had taken their positions. “But I’m not going to let them know it!”