The year is 2035. The setting: a Thanksgiving gathering somewhere in the Midwest. Matt Tucker, 35, is helping himself to another scoop of Jell-O salad. His sister Emily, 38, sits next to him, a cup of cinnamon tea cradled in her hands.
Emily: (turns to her brother) Do you remember that time the Royals won the World Series?
Matt: Which time?
Emily: Back in high school. You know, when they cancelled school, and Mom took us to the parade?
Matt: Oh, yeah! I did not want to go to that.
Em: I liked it. There must have been six-hundred people with us on that street corner.
Matt: Remember the mud? Mom found a spot in a patch of landscaping. We were up higher than the sidewalk, but the bushes had just been watered. After three hours, our shoes were caked in black muck.
Em: Yeah, I nearly ruined my favorite boots. But we were in the right place when Lorenzo Cain drove by on his way to the Sprint Center. His window was rolled down, and he was waving to the crowd. Mom acted like he’d walked into our living room.
Matt: I didn’t care about baseball back then. For me the whole thing was like going to someone else’s family reunion. Remember Loud Drunk Guy?
Em: Yeah, he was obnoxious. When his Loud Drunk Son started up about hiding his beer from the police, Mom leaned over and whispered, “Frat boy.” I didn’t figure out what she meant for a couple of years.
Matt: (half-smiling) Grandad went with us.
Em: Yep. The Budweiser Clydesdales were in the parade. They were always his favorite.
Matt: He cheered with everyone else when the players drove past.
Em: Oh, my gosh, Mom screamed in my ear, even though she mostly couldn’t tell who was who out of uniform. I thought I’d go deaf.
Matt: Who was that player she loved so much?
Em: Salvador Perez. The whole city loved Salvy.
Matt: (unimpressed) Oh. Right.
Em: Hey, have a little respect. He’s a Hall-of-Famer now.
Matt: (shrugs) You know, Mom kept telling me, “Someday, you’ll be glad I made you go to the parade.”
Em: Was she right?
Matt: It didn’t exactly change my life. But you guys had fun, and that was good.
Em: (sighs) I miss Mom and Dad.
(The conversation lags.)
Matt: When do they get home from the Bahamas?
Em: (Shakes her head) From the sound of their last email, maybe never.