Earl Finkler

Virtually every year since the movie “Field of Dreams” came out, my wife Chris and I have traveled to the field, the site, of that movie. Even each summer when we traveled from Barrow, Alaska, to the “lower 48” states, we included a stop at that site, and also to visit local folks and businesses.

This winter, Chris and I and our Barrow husky Avu did a lot of traveling right after Christmas to Dyersville and the field, and then to relatives in northeast Missouri and the Milwaukee, Wis., area.

We arrived at the field in the early afternoon on Dec. 26. As usual in the winter, we were the only ones there. It was relatively warm, and we enjoyed just walking around the infield and outfield.

I remember the baseball and father-son things when I go there. Chris always remembers the first time she sat in the bleachers and discovered a heart carved in the wood (“From Ray to Annie”) from Kevin Costner about the couple in the movie.

This time Chris made another discovery—tracks in the infield. She called out to me, and I said “Don’t look human.”

Being a farm girl, she said “Maybe deer.”

Avu sniffed a bit, and she seemed to agree with Chris. Then we saw a truck pull up, driven by the former owner of the field—Don Lansing. He agreed about the deer.

We chatted with Don for a while about the field, and the movie and many things that have taken place, back to the shooting of the movie. Don had some dogs in his truck, and I offered them treats, some of Avu’s favorites.

Then it was time to go, so we waved goodbye to Don and his dogs and got back in our car to continue our drive to Missouri.

Chris and I agree that every time we have come to the field, there is something surprising. Once a busload of ball players from California.  Some had tryouts with a major league team, but never made it.

Another time, a wedding. (No sliding that day.)

And another time, a pitcher from the Iowa Cubs minor league team, who had a day off and came to the field with his girlfriend.

And now this chance encounter. We drove away, thinking about the deer in the infield and all the experiences at the Field of Dreams.

Happy New Year everyone!

Finkler, a frequent visitor to Dyersville, relocated to Medford, Wis., in 2008 after previously living in Barrow, Alaska.