Hello, my name is Dan Stitt and I found out that I only have eight weeks to live. As I drive home I had loads of emotions running through my mind, most of all fear. My attention turns immediately to my daughter Madalynn; she is a beautiful four year old with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I am very emotional because I will not be there for her sweet sixteen birthday party, her graduation, and to walk her down the isle like a father should. I made the decision to tell my family about everything, and how I planned to deal with it. My heart was in my stomach as I told my family and they were all crying, When my dad and I came up with the idea to do what we have dreamed of since I was just a lad, travel the country to go see every Major League Baseball park!
So immediately we went into planning it. I got on the internet and printed out schedules for all the teams. My dad got ahold of a friend of the family with a R.V. and allowed us to borrow it. We then mapped out our trip, started in Cleveland, and headed west. It was Madalynn, my dad, my brother, and I. This was really exciting because I got to do something I’d always dreamed of doing and I get to spend with some of the most important people in my world. So we left on a warm Thursday afternoon headed up route seventy seven to Progressive Field. After finding a place to park we caught some dinner, I had a colossal burger with tomato,mustard and ketchup some fries and a tall Sam Adams Summer Ale with a lemon. After dinner we watched the Tribe get beat by Oakland. This game was special to me in so many ways; one being this was Maddy’s first game ever, second being this is all for me. After the game we drove up to Detroit where we spent the night. The next morning we all wanted to visit the old Motown hitsville building. Later that night we caught a Tigers game and then back on the road. Chicago was our next stop and we were there for a few days, because one they have two teams in Chicago and two its a great site seeing city.
The next day my daughter and I walked down to the Sears Tower Sky deck where I was real emotional. The thoughts of no family vacations are starting to linger in my head and it’s getting hard to fight back the tears. We were walking back when we decided to stop and have a Stromboli in this great Italian Deli. My daughter was so cute wearing her little Boston Red Sox hat and a summer dress. That evening we watched the Cubs play under the lights at Wrigley, which is a rare thing, they usually play day games. I had a few beers and of course a hot dog. The highlight of this night was my dad getting an autograph with a huge mustard stain on his shorts. City to city we went and we were having so much fun, the stories that we had could last forever, and that’s just what i wanted for Maddy.
We made it to sunny California, where as a kid I dreamed of surfing off the piers, and laying on the beaches. Our very first stop in Los Angeles was to eat at the famous Pinks Hot Dog stand where I ate a kraut dog with mustard, hard fries and a medium Coke. Then later that day we went to the beach where my daughter and I just laid in the cool waters of the Pacific. My brother and I also went and rented some surf boards and tried to surf. We failed miserably. That night we did not feel like going to a game so we stood outside Dodger stadium and took a family picture. As I was laying in my bunk that evening i was thinking about all we had done in a short period of time, my daughter can now say one day she swam in the Pacific Ocean, stood on the very windy San Francisco Bay bridge staring at Alcatraz. She saw more in a few weeks that I saw in my short life. The next few days were filled with tons of driving and one pretty cool stop in the Sin City, then off to Texas.
Texas brought scorching temperatures and one severe thunder storm that enabled us to see games in either stadiums in the Lone Star State. It’s funny, my whole life I’d always wanted to move out west and it took all this to make me realize my home is in the East.We hit all the city’s such as Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, and Philly and all of them were a blast. We pulled into New York and all it’s hustle and bustle of the city was around us, the bright lights, loud cars and annoying Yankee fans. This has to be the hardest place for a New Englander to come. So much hatred between the two teams, and it boils over into us, the fans. The Sox beat the Yanks that night in 10 innings thanks to a two run dinger by J.D. Drew to the right field seats! On the way out of the stadium we grabbed a hot dog, again, but this time at the most famous East coast hot dog joint, Gray Papaya Hot Dogs, I again went with the Kraut dog with mustard and onion, which is a better dog than Pinks I might add. As we are leaving the city that never sleeps Madalynn and I were looking out the window and she was asking me so many questions, and that time I couldn’t hold back the tears, knowing that the trip was only a few days from being over I stared to get bitter and scared.
The R.V started to smell like dirty socks and garbage as we pulled into Bean town! We started this day off on a tour of the city they call the Freedom tour, they take you to all the historical sites such as the Old North Church, where they hung the lanterns, one if by land, two if by sea. We also got to take a tour through Paul Reveres house where I realized that I still had my sense of humor, when the guide said, “Any questions?”, and I replied, “When did Mr. Revere install the air conditioner?” She was not impressed. That night we had a great dinner at the Purple Shamrock, and by great I mean they have the best steak on the eastern sea board. After dinner we headed to Boston’s Cathedral other wise known as Fenway Park. It was a cool night, temperatures in the lower sixties, so we dressed for such a night, hoodies and jeans. My daughter was extremely tired, so she slept on my lap for most of the game, which might be the most memorable moment of this trip. Of any game we were spectators at this was the one I’d been waiting on, because the Sox are my favorite team since I was a young boy, and isn’t it funny that I’d would’ve rather be holding my angel than enjoying a cool Fenway night.The Sox lost that night, and it wasn’t pretty. They only got a few hits and didn’t manage a single run.
That night we were heading home, and on the drive I was extremely grateful to my Family for not allowing me to do this alone. As we pull into our hometown I realized i was never leaving again and that I learned a great lesson on this trip, and that is you can always count on family. This trip did it’s job, got my mind off death and brought me even closer to my family and especially my daughter.