My mother, Delia Martinez, has been a Cubs fan ever since she moved to Chicago from Kansas City in 1953 and was instrumental in getting me hooked too. She moved into the neighborhoods around Wrigleyville there where my grandmother and step grandfather (who both worked at the Chicago Club downtown) and started hanging out at Wrigley Field with friends to watch the Cubs. I was just home in December and she shared with me a bit about that, sharing her baseball memories and what Ladies Day was like, etc. I was mesmerized. Why didn't I ask sooner???
She likely was the one who inspired my father to buy me a Ferguson Jenkins mitt for my ninth birthday, August 19, 1969, a date etched into every long time Cub fan's mind. That happy confluence of date and year made me stupid for the Cubs ever since and neither my mom or I have ever looked back. The Cubs have been her team ever since, and through all the tough and often tragic times in her life since then, they have been an outlet and a release for her. I could call her up and hear her ask over the years "Hey did you watch what Dawson did?" "Did you watch the game in LA last night?" "What about that Zambrano, huh!" and feel her completely adoring Cubs fan heart gush from the phone. She raised five sons virtually alone and made us all Cubs fans, and to this day, three of us are still diehards and we still root for them .. as does she. My mom is one of the most longsuffering and loyal Cubs fans you'd ever meet, as well as vocal as to her opinions on all things Cubs related (if she was blogging, she'd be here) and the Cubs are her passion during the years. My parents had a ferocious divorce in 1982 and since then, she's been alone when her last son finally married and moved out in 1996. It's not been easy for her, but her faith in God and the support of five sons has been an aid to her .. and the Chicago Cubs have been an outlet for her.
Well, sadly, she's not doing well physically now. She's suffered with congestive heart failure and renal issues for three years and they are slowly degrading .. and now she's now hospitalized at Margaret Mercy in Dyer. We're not sure what's happening with another lower GI issue she's now suffering pain from, but she's up for another procedure tomorrow. We're taking it a day at a time.
Any of you Cubs fans who feel you could find a place in your daily lives to say a prayer for her recovery and for wisdom in her decisions as to how her care is going to from now on are people I'd truly be thankful for. My mom would pray for any of you for anything in a heart beat .. and the Cubs have been a recipient of no small part of that as well .. and this old Cubs fan would appreciate it too.
My mom means the world to me and whatever character I have I owe all to her. I know she'd love to be watching spring training if its televised right now. I would love to see her to live long enough for me to get her into Wrigley one more time, even if in a wheelchair, along with some of her grandkids. I don't know how much that might cost, but just to see her in Wrigleyville again for one more time would be a dream. That thought alone gets me a bit misty eyed and I'd better not say anymore. But for you good folks who understand, thanks for any of your consideration and your own agreement in prayer. My faith in God is the link my mom and I have through all of this and I'm just doing my best to trust the One whom she taught me to. Being poised on the balls of my feet ready to get home back to Chicago if something changes abruptly is very hard for me now .. and having to be forced to drive is hard enough. My wife won't even be able to come due to work. If anything, thanks for reading and allowing me a bit of release.