Cobb County, 2019

A father, a son and a new stadium.
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It is a sunny afternoon, the air warm and Georgia-dense, the light low and honeyed. A father and son are in Cobb County, Georgia, walking on a low, grassy berm. Down one slope is a parking lot, baking and full, with large-format, robustly air-conditioned retail beyond the shimmering field of cars. Down the other slope is a multi-lane road, honking and buzzing with traffic. Towering above the low horizon of pines and low roofs is a new baseball stadium, looking like a grounded alien mothership and tattooed with various lurid brand logos.

The son stops and looks up at it. He is young, but he knows that he is looking at something big, something important. The traffic pulses and ebbs. The stadium is enormous beyond it.

"Dad," he asks, "what is that?"

"That's Coca-Cola Field at Lockheed Martin Yards Brought To You By TBS Very Funny, son," the man says. He pulls down the bill of his son's Braves hat, and the boy laughs, bats his hand away and clears his view. "You know what it is. It's where the Braves play. The house that B.J. Upton built."

"Where they had the nachos?"

"Yes, the place with the nachos." Fatherhood, man. This all made sense, and it didn't. This little person, so much like him but also his own small self, someone who would be someone else someday. Everything so real and so impossible to foresee. In 2013, when word came that this stadium would rise from the tangle flattened to create the parking lot sprawled around the stadium, he was a young man.

He still is young, he reminds himself, but this... he is out of the city and in Cobb County, now. He is married, and he spins the ring on his finger slightly, firm and certain and a hard reassurance that this is real, this is his life. And he has this son, this miracle. There is so much that he could not have imagined then, would never have known how to imagine, the absence of which is now unimaginable. In 2013, no one even joked about The Rock running for President. And now here he was, cruising towards a second term. Everything happens and just keeps on happening.

"Does it belong to B.J. Upton, dad?"

"Well, he's the team's most popular player, son, so in a sense it does." Does the boy understand? Can he? He might as well tell the boy the truth, let him hear it and know what he can know at this age. He'll have no choice but to learn it later. That is how it goes, how it happens. "But in another way, son, that stadium is ours. We built it. Or... well, I didn't build it myself. I have my job. But we paid for it, your mother and I and our neighbors. We built it for a billionaire and now we get to pay to go into it and park near it and eat nachos there. The same way that you pay men to build a house because you need to live there, we paid men to build this house because the baseball team's old house was like 17 years old. But that, there" -- and he signaled to the shining crash-landed UFO on the horizon -- "that's ours. We made that."

"Is 17-years-old really old?"

"For a person? No. For a stadium? Actually, also no. So..." How did this end, again? "Well, it's like: you know how your school has that family of possums in the gym and there was that one classroom -- not the kids, the classroom itself -- that had Strep last year? Well, that happens when a building gets old and it starts to not work as well. And then you have to leave that building and get someone to build you a new building someplace else."

"How does a chalkboard get Strep, dad?"

"I don't know, son." A moment. They both pondered it. The walls in the classroom had sweated for months on end. Finally they just moved the combined second and third graders out of it and had class in the Golden Corral.

"Dad, did the team not want to live in the city anymore?"

"No, son, the team loved the city very much. That's why they left the city a big almost-new baseball stadium to play with however they wanted."

"That's the place with the wolves in it, right, dad?"

"Yes, son. It's the large haunted structure with the wolves in it. Never go there."

"I know, dad." The kid smiled. The father was stern.

"I'm serious, tell me you'll never go near there, okay? It's not safe. There are a lot of wolves."

"Okay, dad," the kid smiled. He shook his head. It was already happening, a little teenager growing up inside him. A little person who would grow up in this world, who would tell his own kid how things changed and why someday. Who would look at his own father, someday, and the things he remembered, and wonder how they had ever been true. It just keeps happening.


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tell his own kid how things changed and why someday. Who would look at his own father, someday, and the things he remembered, and wonder how they had ever been true. It just keeps happening.new york notary public class

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" the man says. He pulls down the bill of his son's Braves hat, and the boy laughs, bats his hand away and clears his view. "You know what it is. It's where the Braves play. The house that B.J. Upton built."
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the man says. He pulls down the bill of his son's Braves hat, and the boy laughs, bats his hand away and clears his view. "You know what it is. It's where the Braves play. The house that B.J. Upton built."
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