During the fifth grade, most of my friends started collecting baseball cards. At first I had little interest, but as their excitement grew to a low frenzy, I became sympathetically involved, and in due course became invested in the hobby as well. Of course, we all wanted to collect cards for the players from our local team, the San Diego Padres, but some of the boys had books which valued the cards, and we were always thrilled to draw a highly prized card from a pack. The bubblegum was awful, and it ruined the card it shipped next to, but we chewed it anyway. Mother sometimes sent me down to the little grocery and liquor store known as “The Canyon Store” and if I had to carry something heavy up the hill, she would reward me with coin to buy a pack of baseball cards. I would stand on the porch of Mr. A’s tiny shop and excitedly flip through the short stack of new cards, shove them in my back pocket, and start the short walk back up the hill. Sometimes I smiled more than other times, it just depended on how jealous my friends would be of the cards I got.