2012 Year in Review...July # 2 Postie and Lucy: It was the best of love stories
Postie and Lucy: It was the best of love stories
THOMASTON – It was the summer of 1971 and Dave Post was doing something he loved – playing baseball. Sixteen years old, American Legion ball, there was nothing else, nothing better. Or so he thought.
Then he met Lucy Zbuska. She was Terryville he was Thomaston. That’s Red Sox – Yankees, Duke-North Carolina, Trump-Obama. It didn’t matter. He was a couple of years older. Big deal. Sometimes you just know. They knew. Two were on their way to becoming one.
The passion in his life suddenly, unalterably became two passions in his life. For the duration. Through 41 years only part of the story changed. He grew older; the baseball passion had to concede somewhat to health concerns. The mind always said yes, the best place on God’s green earth would always be the plot of land between the foul lines. The body eventually said playing was for yesterday.
As for Lucy, that passion was an eternal spring.
Since his Little League days when Post sported the gray and maroon of uniform of his Thomaston Little League team, Summit Finishing Company, baseball was God’s great game and since that night in 1971, there was never a greater lady than Lucy.
That’s what makes this hard and sucks the heat out of a baseball summer. This was always Dave and Lucy’s time. Now that time is up. This summer is not about baseball and in truth it hasn’t been for a while. Oh, Post’s love of the game is timeless and the game will always be there. Lucy won’t.
Lucy, just 55, died Thursday. She fought extra innings, more than 10 years against a relentless cancer enemy that refused to take no for an answer. Dave was proud of his lady, who during the course of the fight, fought with a ferocity that belied her small frame.
At one point she was down to 72 pounds early in the disaease and at other another time she appeared to have the enemy beaten, three years in remission. She gave as good as she got as the days passed into years only to be worn down at the end.
Dave was a Little League teammate of mine long ago on that Summit Finishing team. He has been a friend through the years. He has struggled with his own health problems in recent times. He is on oxygen now at the age of 57 and has been in hospital. “Too many cigarettes,” he told me.
He called me on the phone Thursday to let me know about Lucy’s passing. The voice was raspy, the tears flowed. A heart was forever broken.
You have to understand the Postie-Lucy story. It was a unique partnership that never wavered from the time in 1971 when the future tugged with a smile and all the world was a baseball diamond.
In so many ways there was no Postie without Lucy.
Dave is a familiar figure to area softball and baseball fans. From his early days playing baseball in Torrington, he was never far from the area fields, Twi-Met League in Waterbury, softball leagues in Thomaston and Waterbury, the Tri-State Baseball League, he graced them all until just recently.
For three decades he kept baseball alive in Thomaston playing for and coaching the Thomaston Spoilers of the Tri-State League. Lucy was there every step of the way. Every step.
Girlfriend, wife, scorekeeper, calming influence on a man with a mercurial disposition, public relations person – you name it Lucy did it. Over the years she became just as well-known as her partner. To teammates and opponents it was always Postie AND Lucy.
There wasn’t one without the other and there never will be.
Dave never had to come home and tell Lucy the score, she kept the book. He never had to tell her about the game, she was part of it. He never had to tell her why he was three hours late, she was with him. They walked the path together; a delicious combination of passion for the game and one another that glowed.
It wasn’t always an easy task, especially for Lucy. There has always been a volcano in Dave ready to erupt. He hit himself in the helmet with his bat when frustrated. He fought with a fan. He told reporters to stuff it in different terms. He could be grumpy and opinionated. But there was also a big heart to the passion, the soft spot that could push him to watch the film `Field of Dreams’ several times and be reduced to tears.
Through it all, Lucy was there. Sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. But always there, the passion of the partnership unbreakable.
Growing up, Dave Post thought there was nothing greater in the world than the game of baseball. Then he met Lucy Zbuska. And he found out there was room in his life for two passions. It was his home run for life.
For 41 years they traveled around the base paths, laughing and crying, basking in the gift of the game and gift of love. And they did it together. Postie and Lucy is singular. Two people, one entity.
I worry about Dave these days. His health is not good. But I worry about his heart. It is broken and there is no medical kit that can put it back together. There will be another game but there will never be another Lucy.
All so special, the whole package. That’s why it hurts so much.