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Giving voice to displaced children and young people.

At 8:30 pm I—still wet from my post-swimming practice shower-- sat down on my soft blue couch with a plate of warm red pasta in my lap to watch the Cincinnati Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers. After about 10 minutes two of my dogs, Butter the coonhound, (with her floppy ears and her habit of turning three times before curling up in a ball) and Albus, the old beagle, (with the tilted head and long pink tongue that sticks out the side of his mouth) crowded into the room and onto the couch next to me. My 6-year-old brother Thomas announced his entrance with his Black Panther spear and usual question of, “Did someone hit a cycle?” referring to his pride of knowing what a cycle in baseball is. (A player hits a single, double, triple and homerun in the same game.)

The small green tv room is mostly all couch with a floor covered in Thomas’ toys and a wall of my mother’s books. Everyone on the couch always snuggles in one of the many fleece blankets with Santas or gnomes or orange bats that we seem to collect from Kroger the supermarket each holiday. On the flat platform top of the couch, dishes and glasses collect over the course of the night as I finish dinner and then we all snack on fruit, sherbet and root beer.

In the top of the third inning Elly De La Cruz lifted a 456-foot homer to put the Reds on top of the Brewers 1 to 2! My brother and I whooped, yessssss!-ed, cheered and then high fived. My Dad ran into the room, late for the game. In the next inning, Spencer Steer made an error to the second baseman. After that play, my Dad and I both agreed that Spencer Steer should be playing 1st base. The sherbet was sweet and the root beer was fizzy.

My Dad is wrapped in the gnome blanket between the wall of baby pictures and Butter. He talks to the players on the tv, criticizing errors that he is sure he would have avoided. His “yesssss!” is louder than mine and he usually pumps his fist Luis Castillo style. He is interrupted often by Thomas jumping on him while yelling, “Hulk-smash!” Dad flips him over on the couch for tickling. When the inning continues, they stop and settle down again.

With each commercial break the three of us would repeat every commercial word for word. Only a handful of commercials are played during a game and they are played over and over. Most seemed to be public service announcements from the government and the acting was terrible. My brother laughed loudly and acted out the commercials. We both would start laughing as soon as we recognized the commercial. Near the end of the game, my dog Lucy joined and squeezed onto the couch, snuggling up to me with her big soft coat.  The Reds lost the game in the bottom of the ninth inning when Christian Yelich hit a walk off single that scored Blake Perkins from 2nd.  Only my dad and I were left with sleeping dogs difficult to wake up and the messy collection of Thomas’ toys. We collected the dishes to bring to the sink and made our way up the stairs to bed talking about the next Reds game to come.

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