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Looking On (A Mom’s Perspective) – A Field of Dreams Story

by Janet Semendinger

A quote from our August 6, 1991 diary begins our story… “We stopped at Lock and Dam #10 on the Mississippi River and watched a barge maneuver through. Then we followed road signs to the Field Of Dreams. What an amazing sight! We were part of a movie set along with other tourists. We photographed the ball field, the corn field, the farm house, the swing, the stands, the signs, everything. A dad pitching to his son captured our hearts.”

That was the birth of Paul’s dream to have a catch with our son Paul on the Field Of Dreams, in Iowa, a thousand miles from home.

Fast forward to Christmas, 2015. Paul opens a gift from his son. It is a Field Of Dreams postcard with the message. “If you go there, I will come – April, 2016”. A puzzled expression covers Paul’s face. He’s questioning the challenge. His son is smiling. Paul understands that his dream can become a reality – he can have a catch with his son… on the most magical ball field in the world.

Meanwhile, I ‘m observing all of this – listening, processing, watching, and I am shocked. I am delighted to picture my husband’s dream becoming true. But realistically there are so many factors to consider. I remember our past trips to Iowa. Iowa is almost like heaven, however, heaven is far away. For us, flying is not a option. Paul, my husband, had a DVT – a trach. We don’t fly any longer.

Train travel could be an option, but it would involve too many schedules and car rentals. I strike it from my mind.

I quickly determine that if we’re going to go, we’ll have to drive. Paul will load up our camper van. So many details must be considered….coordination will be a must so our schedules all work. And then there is family, our health (we’re not so young any more), travel safety, van maintenance, and the weather. The weather. We’re going to go to Iowa in April?

My deep down inner voice whispers, “Embrace the offer and go forward.”

So we do. “Merry Christmas!” In four months, we’ll be heading to Iowa.

Over the ensuing weeks, we share our plan with friends. Our friends from Iowa advised that April is out of the question for catching or playing ball. The fields will either be flooded, soggy, squishy, or snow-covered. Expect mud. That’s the best we can expect. Mud. (What are we doing?)

But Paul, my dear husband, is ready to embark on an incredibly exciting adventure. I am praying. We have many days of driving ahead, and Route 80 beckons.

April 5 is the departure day. Freezing rain is predicted. Nope. We awake to sunshine. The stage is set. We have smooth sailing.

Day 2 is flawless.

Day 3 we are in Indiana and are met with freezing rain. We end our driving earlier than planned.

Day 4 we visit some sights in Indianapolis.

Day 5 we have an unanticipated situation…something I never considered on my list of concerns. Three times we are confronted by panhandlers in Springfield. Illinois. It’s not fun to be accosted by strangers who want your money. Thankfully, they backed off once they noticed Paul’s trach.

Day 6 we cross the Mississippi River and arrive in Davenport, Iowa. Iowa. We made it.

Day 7 we’re at our designated destination. Whew! We are almost breathless waiting for our son to arrive. Paulie didn’t drive with us. He didn’t have this much time. He’s flying out of New York with a transfer in Chicago to meet us here – in Dubuque.

Paulie arrives ahead of schedule….a positive omen.

Day 8 of our trip is the day we have waited and wished for. It has arrived but, the forecast is for rain.

But…a miracle. Maybe this is Heaven. The skies are blue. Truth is stranger than fiction. The three of us, my husband, my son, and me are heading to the Field of Dreams. All the concerns, all the worries are whisked away.

And it was magical and wonderful and special and timeless. We were the only one’s there. Me, my husband, and my son. At the Field of Dreams. In Iowa.

A thousand miles from home.

We were transformed. We are young again. We are super-stars, athletic, and agile.

We run. We catch. We throw.

We hit.

We have the time of our lives.

The time of our lives.

There is one descriptive word for all of this …miracle!

This was love shared.

For a wife and mother – indescribable joy to witness the fulfillment of her husband’s dream into reality.

It truly happened…

on The Field Of Dreams.



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