After the Union County 4th of July Veterans Parade, Mindy and I strolled toward Market Street. I wanted to introduce her to the Smiling Chameleon, one of those college town best-kept secrets. Terry Hartzell and I stumbled onto the place last September. We liked it so much, we returned in November.
Mindy and I enjoyed a quick, light lunch before walking toward the Bucknell campus. As we crossed 7th Street, I noticed a lone gentleman in a baseball cap studying the sign at the entrance to the Lewisburg Cemetery.
I just had a feeling, so I asked him, “Are you here to find Christy Mathewson’s grave site?” My hunch was right!
We walked up the hill together. He told us that he’s a Virginia resident on his way to upstate New York on business. Once we reached the Mathewson family plot, I told him a little more about Christy’s story. He picked up the baseball bat that was leaning against the headstone. A ball and cigar card replica in a card sleeve also rested there. He drove away, continuing his business trip, satisfied that he discovered another little piece of baseball history.
Mindy and I continued toward the gate at Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium. Although I had shown her pictures, I wanted her to see the bricks, iron and dedication plaques for herself.
It was the only monument built by Major League Baseball at somewhere other than an MLB stadium site. I had driven by Bucknell numerous times on Route 15 over the years and never anticipated that the entrance gate at the football field was dedicated to a legendary Hall of Fame pitcher.
We walked to the car and drove to Market Street. That’s when I called Jack Fisher, who presented the extensive Christy Mathewson inside story to the Fan Club last September. Coincidentally, Jack said they were just arriving at The Lewisburg Hotel for an early dinner.
Mindy and I had parked a block away to call Jack. I was thrilled that Mindy would finally meet these new friends: Jack, his cousin Betty Cook (who represented the Mathewson family at the Hall of Fame for 30 years), three former AAGPBL players (Sarah Jane “Salty” Sands Ferguson, Joanne McComb and Katie Herring James), and Babe Ruth’s granddaughter and her husband (Linda Ruth Tosetti and Andy).
We also dined with the wives of the three helicopter pilots who maneuvered those Vietnam era choppers on trailers over the parade route. Other original parade committee members and spouses attended, too.
We had a wonderful time listening to interesting stories from all around both long tables. We had that front dining room to ourselves so we talked and laughed for hours. After a promise to reconvene soon and a series of hugs and handshakes, Mindy and I were back on Route 15, reflecting on our beautiful Saturday in Lewisburg, PA.