The other night, Henry Pahmahmie died at his home. He turned 59 in August. He’s been sick for awhile with a heart problem and I guess he refused to go to the doctor. So many of us are bull-headed like that!
We’ve known each other for close to 46 years starting back in Pony League days. Larry and I played for a Hoyt baseball team and we won our league and thought we were pretty good. One time we played Delia, in an inter-league game, the team Henry played on and he threw a no-hitter at us. Boy, that guy could throw that ball.
In high school we played football together for three years, he was one grade up from me and our teams did well. During the four years I was there we had a lot of Indians start and we only lost 2 games in that time. One of the losses was to Denison 14-7. I played defensive end and Henry played the other end. They would run a sweep at me but I made the tackle every time so they went Henry’s way and wiped him out and scored. After the game I told him “well, at least they didn’t score around my end.” He was mad at me for a long time after that, but got over it. I always wanted to win. He made all-league four years in football and scored about 20 points a game in basketball.
On one of our baseball teams, he pitched us into the state tournament. We beat a Lonnie Kruger-led Silver Lake team in the regional finals 3-1, but it was because of Henry’s pitching that we did that. It sure wasn’t because of the rest of us. He had the size and the arm to really do something but he didn’t have the drive, but he remains the best pitcher I ever saw in these parts – then and now. I didn’t go out for baseball my senior year because I told the rest they wouldn’t be worth a damn without Henry and I was right.
After school, he joined the army and went to Vietnam but never talked about those days whatsoever. Later on we played softball on different teams and eventually got us a team of local Indians. We were pretty damn good winning 88 trophies over the years. Henry pitched and threw a knuckleball. Man, I could never hit that damn thing either. I don’t want to give you the impression I couldn’t hit because I could, but some guys just had my number.
Our team started to fall apart in 1984 when my brother Bubs died. It took the wind out of me and I eventually gave up the game entirely. Henry named his boy after my brother – Andrew. I watched his kids grow up. They are good kids. His daughter Josie could hit the ball a mile and I used to tell Henry "damn she can hit it further than you."
I guess you could tell that we gave each other a rough time, but that’s the way it was. In an earlier life, when we partied together the football, baseball and softball stories were told every time and they weren’t lies. The others would say “oh not again,” but in time the stories stopped until now. He had his faults, I had mine but we were friends.
It’s a rough go seeing so many of my family and friends dying off. All of us should appreciate life, no matter how it’s served up to us.