NYT: But my father caught ball after ball this way. Slap! Slap! He winced. After about five minutes, I told him I’d had enough. It wasn’t out of mercy, but for my own self-interest. Neighborhood kids were watching and would no doubt tease me later for having an old man who didn’t even know how to properly catch a baseball.

My father took the glove off and shook his left hand. His palm was as red as a beet.

Dad, who passed away 11 years ago, never told me he loved me. But that sound of the baseball landing in the soft flesh of his hand, over and over again — it spoke its own tender language, though at the time, all I felt was shame.