Monday, June 13, 2011

Is This Heaven?

John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven.

[John starts to walk away]
Ray Kinsella: Is there a heaven?
John Kinsella: Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.

[Ray looks around, seeing his wife playing with their daughter on the porch]
Ray Kinsella: Maybe this is heaven.

The Lansing farm near Dyersville, Iowa, was the setting for the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, and today the field is perfect--more closely resembling a sandlot field than a professionally manicured diamond.

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.

We, too, felt it was special because our imagination could supply the players and actions from games played by neighborhood friends at age 10 to those played by the heroes of those same 10-year-olds.

Mark: You build a baseball field, and you sit here, and stare at NOTHING.

"Nothing?" Certainly not. Our imagination created far more meaningful contests on this field than any organized league contest could hope to offer. It was this rare instance of preserving starkness that has made this ball field a destination for all those who chose up sides and played four-on-a-side with "pitcher's hands out" and any ball hit to right field being registered as an out.

[Mark goes out to the field, where Ray and Karin are watching the players]
Mark: So, I thought you were going to watch some game?
Ray Kinsella: Well, it's more of a practice since there's only eight of them.
Mark: Eight of what?
Ray Kinsella:
[motioning toward the players] Them.
[looking around at the field, unable to see the players] Who them?
Ray Kinsella:
[emphatically, not realizing that Mark can't see the players] Them them.

Yes, I could see eight players--but they may have been different than the ones Ray saw.

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.

(Archibald Wright Graham made his major league debut on June 29, 1905, with the New York Giants. It was the same day he retired from professional baseball. He was a ninth inning defensive substitution, and in less than five minutes, three quick infield outs by the Dodgers ended the game, along with Graham's only chance to face a big league pitcher.

Graham left baseball to fulfill his dream of becoming a medical doctor. He practiced medicine in Chisholm, Minnesota--six years at Chisholm's Rood Hospital and the next 44 years as physician for the Chisholm schools, where he gained national recognition for his thirteen-year study of children's blood pressure, as well as the love and respect of the entire local community.)

Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within...
y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.

John Kinsella: Well, good night Ray.
Ray Kinsella: Good night, John.

[They shake hands and John begins to walk away]
Ray Kinsella: Hey... Dad?
[John turns]
Ray Kinsella: [choked up] "You wanna have a catch?"
John Kinsella: I'd like that.

A simple game of catch. A father-son bond lasting for decades.

Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a novice farmer who becomes convinced by a mysterious voice that he is supposed to construct a baseball diamond in his corn field. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author (Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones) to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.

If you are interested in more of our references to baseball through quotes from Field of Dreams, the movie based on the book, Shoeless Joe, penned by University of Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate W. P. Kinsella, refer to our March 14, 2009 blog.

Today marks the three-year anniversary of our travels. We're still enjoying our encounters with the people, food, music, and scenic attractions of this beautiful country. We'll have more to say about our three years on the road in a few days.

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