On every April 13th we celebrate Jacob Daniel McKee Odle. He was the first boy born in our family in 3 generations. He was named after my grandfather Bill McKee. My grandfather, as far as I was always concerned, could walk on water... he was a man of integrity, hard worker, man of his word, loved his wife, family, and most importantly his God! I miss him!! He was a great example of what a follower of Christ should be.
My grandfather was an amazing baseball player. I never got to see him play, but many who did grow up watching him, or had him as a coach have always raved about how good he was. He was so good that he was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates in 1947 to play in their Triple A League.
We asked Jake what he would like to do for his birthday and we talked about the possibility of many things, but he finally decided on a Louisville Bats game, Triple A ball club for the Reds.
As we drove downtown, the weather was gorgeous, the kids were excited, chatting in the car, and I couldn't help but to think of my grandpa. How proud he would've been of Jacob. As I sat quietly and tried to take it all in as the night progressed, I watched the sweet boy that God gave me, I watched as an old man walked up to my son and gave him a game ball the team was practicing with,( it made me think of my grandpa, Thank you, Lord!) I watched his sweet friends with hats and gloves on, watching the game. I watched them get excited about an outfielder throwing them a ball, and get mad as Bekah, (the only girl in the group) caught the ball. She shouted "Girl Power" as she caught it! I watched them throw popcorn up in the air and try to catch it in their mouths, I watched them eat snow cones, and throw the baseball in the pitching radar. I watched as a man sitting close to the boys told Jacob how much he liked his Cubs shirt, and Jake, with a smile from ear to ear, so proudly yelled back, "GO CUBBIES!" I cherished the moment!
I knew in my heart that these days were numbered, as little boys grow up to be men, and little girls, women. I knew this was the only eleventh birthday he will celebrate, and it was good!! I celebrated! My heart was bursting with joy and pride!! It was fabulous! It was only fitting that we happened to celebrate it at a Triple A ballpark, in the city, on a beautiful spring night at the beginning of baseball season. A season his namesake knew all too well!! Happy Birthday Jacob Daniel MCKEE Odle! Your grandfather was proud of you. Wear the name well!