Bat versus Bat

Little brown bat
The little brown bat is one of the bat species listed as endangered in Ohio, and one of the 12 species susceptible to white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed more than 5 million bats in North America since 2006. However, studies show that little brown bats are changing their hibernation habits, sleeping alone instead of in clusters. The National Science Foundation says this may help them fend off the fungus and avoid extinction. (Tim Daniel, Ohio Division of Wildlife, photo)

My father taught me how to stand and swing a baseball bat. He knew that there was
more to life than a horse and cowboy hat.

One night while batting at the plate, I couldn’t hit the ball. He said you’ve gotta change
your stance if you wanna hit at all.

He pushed me closer to the plate, my left leg just ahead. Then said, “Never rest your
bat up on your shoulder by your head.”

And then he said, “Be ready. Keep your good eye on the skin. And soon you’ll see the
stitches that the ball has been sewn in.

“Swing level, eye still on the skin, then watch the ball take air. With practice, you can be
the best ball-hitter anywhere.”

I practiced every day and learned to swing with all my might in hopes that I might hit
another home run for the night.

I can’t say I could hit the ball much better than the rest. But every time I swung the bat I
gave it all my best.

Well, that’s been nearly 60 years. Still have my baseball bat. And I won’t forget my
dad’s advice was more than just a chat.

Two days ago, on Saturday, I heard my good wife scream. I panicked, maybe burglar or
a mouse fell in the cream.

Thank heaven for no burglar and the cream without a mouse. But flying in our bedroom
was a bat loose in the house.

I moved the two scared hostages, dog Daisy and my wife. Then grabbed my baseball
bat for the bat’s battle of his life.

The lessons from my father and my baseball expertise would prove this scary bat’s dark
life was on the shortest lease.

I felt just like Clint Eastwood though I stood at 5-foot-3. I could hear the bugle
playing, “The Good, The Bad and Me.”

The battle started in. The bat was flying straight my way. I took a swing and missed him
by a mile, you could say.

Each time the bat came close enough I’d swing then he would dart. They say a bat is
blind, but makes me look like one old fart.

It didn’t take me long to see this bat was more than brave. So I opened up the window.
Let him fly back to his cave.

When asked if I had given that old bat a brand new start, I kept my big mouth shut and
placed my hand next to my heart.


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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.



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