From my journal: For most of my life, my father and I have struggled to connect with each other. We are very different men, and our differences have grown during the passage of the years. Nevertheless, there were occasional exceptions to this distancing, and I think I remember almost everyone of them. They were the events when, for a short while, there was—between him and me—a sense of sublime closeness.

One of the more memorable of those moments came when I was a second grader at P.S. (Public School) 33 in New York. On a spring day shortly before lunch hour, my father came to the door of my classroom. After a brief word with the teacher he gestured for me to join him. "Son," he said, "clean off your desk and come with me." Soon after, we were walking down the hallway and out the front door of the school.

Only when we reached the privacy of his car did my father speak again and disclose his real purpose in taking me out of school. "I thought you'd like to go to the ball game with me today," he said. Sixty years later I can still see his mischievous grin as he disclosed this wonderful plan.

Muse on this! You're seven or eight years old. It's the middle of a school day, and your father springs you from school to see a baseball game.

Ninety or so minutes later, my father and I, hotdogs and crackerjacks in hand, were in our seats along the third-base line at old Ebbits Field in Brooklyn where Jackie Robinson, just feet away, was warming up to play one of his first games as a Brooklyn Dodger. Does this smell like Heaven?

Somewhere in the early innings of the game, a batter, the New York Giants' Johnny Mize, hit a towering foul ball. An instant replay deep in my memory recalls the trajectory of that ball going almost straight ...

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