Mr. and (Somebody Else's) Mrs.
Student Council Advisers Mitch Matteson and Eleanor Lewis made sure the Hillsboro High School Student Council Officers were present and accounted for onboard the rented mini-bus from Integrity Bus Company before leaving the high school parking lot at 5:45 a.m. for the two day conference at Barnstable High School on Cape Cod.
The two teachers settled into the two seats up front. It would be an easy chaperone trip as the ten students were among the most mature, trustworthy, responsible and intelligent of the school population. Most were already occupied with their IPhones and laptops so there wouldn't be a whole lot of conversation or intervention, especially since most of them were going back to sleep.
"So, are you going to miss it?" Mrs. Lewis asked Mr. Matteson before the bus even reached Route 2 for the journey to the eastern part of the state.
"Miss what?" Mr. Matteson asked.
"The Serguci League," Mrs. Lewis smirked. "You finally hung it up after twenty years as a Brown."
"It flew by like that," Mr. Matteson smirked, snapping his fingers. "But ask me in August in the middle of the first season without me being in uniform."
Mitch made the Browns out of high school along with his pal Barney Lewis who ended up marrying Eleanor Verney having met at Green College.
Mitch married his high school sweetheart Paige Demison and the two young couples became friendly around Beano Field where the Serguci League amateur baseball games were played.
In the small world department, Mr. Matteson and Mrs. Lewis also became co-workers at Hillsboro High School although this was their first joint field trip venture together, fifteen years into their careers.
"I didn't think you'd ever quit," Mrs. Lewis admitted.
"You were my biggest fan," Mr. Matteson grinned.
"I was there for your last game," she recalled.
"You kept coming to the games even though Barney hung it up ten years ago," Mr. Matteson said with appreciation.
"I enjoyed watching you play," Mrs. Lewis smiled.
It became a ritual of theirs: Mr. Matteson would tip his cap to Mrs. Lewis in the first base stands whenever he came out to man first base to start the game and Mrs. Lewis would cheer him and the Browns on and sometimes they'd chat after the games.
Barney lost interest in the team and the league after he stopped playing and he razzed his friend Mitch for becoming "an old man" in uniform. Very few players lasted twenty years in the league so Mitch's accomplishment was notable.
"How's Paige?" Mrs. Lewis asked after a few miles passed.
"We haven't talked much recently," Mr. Matteson admitted.
"We bumped into each other at the County Fair," Mrs. Lewis revealed. "You still at your moms?"
"The house is big enough," Mr. Matteson replied.
"She's a nice lady," Mrs. Lewis smiled.
"I never see Barney anymore," Mr. Matteson complained.
"I don't either," Mrs. Lewis groaned. "Selling, promoting and training this new medical software program has him traveling all over the country all the time."
"So, are you going to like me less now that I'm not playing anymore?" Mr. Matteson teased.
"I'll miss watching you play," she replied honestly.
"Time runs out for everybody at one point or another," Mr. Matteson remarked.
"Including your marriage?"
"She hasn't filed the divorce papers yet so there's always hope," Mr. Matteson shrugged.
"She was with somebody at the fair, Mitch," Mrs. Lewis told him.
"She's also talking about maybe transferring to Albany," he sighed. "I'm not sure if Sherrie is keen on that at her adolescent age."
"How do you feel about it?"
"I'd rather my daughter stay here," Mr. Matteson answered. "But I can't control what Paige does."
"Nor can I with Barney," Mrs. Lewis sighed. "I begged him not to take that account but it was his proud baby and he wanted to see it through from start to finish and now he has more frequent flyer miles than the Boston Red Sox."
"Paige assumed I was going to quit the Browns when Barney did," Mr. Matteson revealed. "Even though I made no such overture."
"That must have been a long ten more years," Mrs. Lewis commented. "No wonder she left you."
"She thought I was sacrificing our summer nights and weekends at Sherrie's expense," Mr. Matteson shrugged.
"Well, forty two games between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend is a big commitment," Mrs. Lewis said. "If I wasn't such a big baseball fan myself, I could see myself resenting Barney for spending so much time at Beano Field."
"You kept coming even after he stopped," Mr. Matteson pointed out.
"I liked watching you," she said for the third time.
"We'd go to Summer Beach for a long Columbus Day weekend every year," Mr. Matteson said defensively. "Plus a February school vacation trip to Florida. I thought that made up for it."
"Too bad it won't be warm enough for the kids to go into the ocean when we're at the Cape," Mrs. Lewis noted.
"April is pretty early for the Atlantic," Mr. Matteson agreed. "But they can still run around the beach."
Several miles passed with neither saying anything.
"If you had it to do all over again, would you have played as long as you did?" Mrs. Lewis finally asked.
"I don't know," Mr. Matteson sighed after a long pause. "Not too many guys get to play amateur baseball for the love of the game. I suppose it would be easy to blame that for our martial woes but there was more to it than that."
"Paige thought I spent too much time worrying about everybody else's kid as a teacher instead of focusing more on our own," Mr. Matteson said. "The thing is, Sherrie is a great kid. I didn't have to worry about her."
"She is a great kid," Mrs. Lewis agreed.
"And Paige can fault me all she wants for the baseball stuff but it wasn't as if she didn't have her own interests, hobbies and distractions," he complained. "She has to run at least five miles every day. She volunteers for everything. And she stopped coming to my games."
"I noticed that," Mrs. Lewis admitted.
"I haven't coached or done any other extracurricular stuff at school other than this," Mr. Matteson said defensively. "I was usually home before she was. I attended most of Sherrie's activities."
Mrs. Lewis didn't say anything.
"I really loved playing baseball," he admitted. "I guess that was my one vice."
"The ironic thing is that Paige wanted you to quit for years and now that you have she isn't around," Mrs. Lewis observed.
"I could have hung around and played out the string for a few more years but it wouldn't be fair to the team to waste a spot a younger guy could have," Mr. Matteson said.
"Your production was dropping," Mrs. Lewis concurred.
"Anyway," Mr. Matteson said with a resigned sigh. "Enough about that stuff. We're here to cheer on the kids with their student council presentations."
"We are," Mrs. Lewis agreed, pulling a binder out of her bag. "Let's review the agenda and go over our notes."