The soundtrack of my childhood was that of the television sportscaster, announcing the latest Padres game.
My mother and I had moved in with my grandparents when I was a kid, ostensibly to take care of them, but mostly because my mother had just gone through a bad divorce and she wanted out of Texas. For my eleven year-old self, California was a long way away, and while my grandmother was lovely, my grandfather was a distant figure, with whom I had little in common. Even though I lived in that house for ten years, I never really got to know him. He was mostly outside, working on the house or the boat-- or as the years went by and he had to sell it due to declining health, simply hanging out at the docks-- and I was inside, engrossed in the world behind my computer screen.
Things were different, however, on those evenings when there was a baseball game playing. He and my grandmother would settle down in the living room in their la-z-boys and turn on the TV to Channel 4, and I'd be on the couch with my laptop, doing my homework. Sometimes my mother would join us, when she'd finished grading her students' papers. Frequently, it was the only time we'd all be in the same room at one time during the day.
Even though I'm grown and gone, and my grandfather has been dead for three years now, whenever I hear the crack of the bat and the cheers of the crowd, I'm instantly transported back in time to those late summer evenings, sitting there together with my family, watching the Padres play.