The sleepless nights, that's the only thing that hasn't changed for Bennett, who pitched gallantly for the 1964 Phillies, the team that went south in September, the team that lost 10 in a row, the pennant slipping like dust through their fingers.
He was a midnight prowler then, devoutly single, cowboy handsome.
"If somebody told me then I'd be married, with eight kids," Bennett said, cackling, "I'd still be running."
Bennett married Terry, an Eastern airlines stewardess he met while pitching for the Red Sox.
The kids are Lou, 18; Lisa, 16; Dax, 14; Zinn, 13; Vanessa, 11; Michael, 10; Patrick, 5; Daniel, 2.
Six boys, two girls, all attractive. The girls have inherited Terry's Tahitian good looks, the boys have taken on Dennis's cowboy swagger.
And they all live together in a house at the top of an unpaved street in this picturesque, little southern Oregon town, which might or might not embrace Yesterday's Plaza to its bosom.
It is Sunday and his home telephone isn't working. One of the carpenters at the downtown mall he will open the next day says he probably is at The Eagle, a nearby tavern, where Bennett runs the all-day poker game in a back room.
"It's legal," Bennett said. "Dollar limit, three raises. Guys pay $1 an hour to sit in. Sometimes the games go on around the clock.
"When I'm not here, my father-in-law runs it. Decent source of income.
"Got a regular job with the lumber company. Most boring job in the world. Heister. Loading trucks."
His left eye is reduced to a slit, like a man perpetually squinting through a gun sight. There are three small, zipper scars on his ruddy face. His hands are gnarled, mottled.
Bennett went through a windshield in winter ball in 1962. Shattered his ankle, slashed his face.
"Coming back from a team function," he said. "Wasn't my fault. That's what shortened my career, not my lifestyle.
"We took the game serious on the field. We took off-the-field serious, too."
"How about that time in Nashville," Bennett recalled. "I challenged (John) Boozer to a somersault race down a hill.
"Halfway down I felt my knee go. Got to the bottom I told Boozer to grab my knee and click it back in.
"He tried and it hurt so damn much I jumped off the ground, swung at him and missed.
"Frank Lucchesi was managing then and I told him I stepped in a hole and tore up my knee. They operated. Torn cartilage.
"The next year (1962) they brought me up to check on my knee."
He stuck around, blanked the Dodgers, 7-0, on a four-hitter, finished 9-9.
Mending from the violent collision, he was 9-5 the next year as the Phillies climbed out of the rubble of mediocrity.
"Before the '64 season we argued over my contract," Bennett recalled. ''(General manager) John Quinn wanted to put in an attendance clause, $500 if they drew 850,000, $1,000 if they drew 900,000 and so on.
"I didn't want that. I argued for $1,000 for each win over 12.
"I thought I was gonna win 20. I was 9-3 (actually 9-5) at the All-Star
break. Ended up 12-14. Meanwhile, the Phillies set an attendance record, drew 1.4 million."
At the end, he was getting by on true grit.
"That game against Cincinnati (Game 3 of the 10-game streak)," he said, ''(manager Gene) Mauch walked up to me before the game and asked me how I felt.
"I told him I could give him six innings. He said, 'OK, give me six and I'll get you out of there.'
"In the seventh, I'm leading, 3-2, and Vada Pinson hits a two-run homer off me.
"I always thought about that. Why didn't he get me out after six?"
Bennett started once more, in St. Louis, with the losing streak at eight. Warmed up alongside Ray Culp, who had not started in 44 days.
"Gene came down, watched for five minutes, pointed at me and said, 'You're it,' " Bennett said.
Bennett didn't survive the second inning, the Phillies lost again, pennant fever was replaced by nausea.
"That previous road trip, some of us bought guns from a dealer in Houston," Bennett recalled. "We got outstanding deals.
"I got a .300 Weatherbee. Chris Short bought two or three shotguns. We couldn't carry 'em onto the plane. They put 'em up front, in the cockpit.
"I wasn't thinking of the (World Series) money. That one meeting Mauch held during the streak, he said he wasn't gonna let us take money out of the kids' pockets.
"I kept thinking, 'What kids, what money?' "
That winter the Phillies swapped Bennett to Boston for first baseman Dick Stuart and added Bo Belinsky to the pitching staff.
"I thought," Mauch explained recently, "I had so much spirit on that club, our guys would overwhelm 'em.
"They underwhelmed 'em."
"Shorty and I were in the Poconos and some girl came up and said I'd been traded," Bennett recalled. "We just laughed.
"And then we said that maybe we'd better watch the 6 o'clock news. Sure enough, I was traded. First time, it always shakes you up a little.
"I told the Boston writers that when I won my first game I'd throw a champagne party. And the first shutout, they had to throw one.
"Well, in '67, I shut out the White Sox. We got back to Boston, they rented the top of the Playboy Club.
"(Manager) Dick Williams heard about it and told the players they couldn't go. He was the only guy who didn't show.
"And that got me further in the doghouse with Mr. Williams.
"Some people thought I'd made a pass at Mrs. Williams. Hey, we were at a team party, both drinking vodka gimlets. I went to the bar, asked her if she wanted me to bring her a fresh one. I did.
"Years later, after I'd married Terry, she told me that's why they shipped me out. I couldn't believe it.
"They waived me at the All-Star break (in 1967) and I wound up with the Mets, and they sent me to Jacksonville.
"I knew it was over before it was over. I was 0-5 with the Angels in '68.
"I'd had fun. I wouldn't change anything.
"I remember one game, in Cincy, early in '64. I'd pitched that night, so I
went out. Coming back to the hotel, maybe 7 in the morning, there's a Legionnaires parade down the middle of the street.
"I know, if I lay down I'll never wake up in time to go to the ballpark. So I go straight to the park.
"Hutch (Reds manager Fred Hutchinson) sees me and says, 'Bennett, you look like bleep.'
"I say, 'I feel like bleep.' He says, 'Here, take one of these pills.'
"I took one, went to the bullpen, rolled my jacket into a pillow, stuck it under my head and, boing, I'm wide awake.
"I could hear people whispering miles away. Afterward, I asked him, 'What the hell did you give me?'
"And he told me he was dying and those were the only things keeping him alive. I still don't know what they were."
Bennett wound up a player-coach in Hawaii, playing for Chuck Tanner.
"Tanner got the White Sox job and said he'd see what he could work out," Bennett said.
The next year he pitched in Salt Lake City for Del Rice.
"Del got the Angels job and he said, 'I'll see what I can do.' Same story."
One more broken promise in Hawaii convinced Bennett it was time to get on with the rest of his life.
"I had a restaurant-bar, I said the hell with it, I'm heading home, so I came back to Calamity Flats," he said.
"Had Kitty's, a steakhouse. Was doing great 'til this guy killed seven people out front. Went down the tubes after that.
"For a while this county had the highest murder rate in America. Things have calmed down.
"Got the best duck and goose hunting in the world. Fifteen minutes from town, you can go deer hunting. Twenty minutes, elk hunting.
"Klamath Lake, you can catch 10- , 15-pound rainbow any time you want. Ski resorts nearby.
"We even made a bid for the Winter Olympics. Only thing that stopped us was you had to put up a $30 million bond.
"It's a good place to raise kids. No gangs, no real problem with drugs.
"In '76, Cincinnati offered me a job, but I had four kids by then.
"And George Brunet called me in '77. He was playing in Mexico. He said, 'We need another pitcher down here.'
"I said, 'George, I haven't thrown for four years.'
"He said, 'I'll get you $4,000 a month, it will take you a month to get in shape and take them another month to find out you can't get anybody out.'
"I should have gone. My wife said, 'Dennis, you're crazy.' "
Still crazy after all those years. How else can you explain buying an empty office building and converting it to a soda fountain, dance floor, gift shop, card shop, restaurant, with plans for miniature golf, batting cages, a dance studio, a karate studio, and on and on.
"I wanted a place where kids could come," Bennett explained.
"The way it came about, I started to go to the Boston fantasy camps. One of the co-owners was a guy named Bob Dowdell. Lives in Sugar Bush, Vt.
"His lawyer was my roommate in Boston. And he introduced me to Bob. He asked me what I was doing and I told him I work in a mill and I hate it.
"He came out here, said let's buy a building and do it. My wife had a (home furnishings) shop in the Jefferson Square Mall, so she moved her shop here.
"Bob put up the money. If we don't make it, I don't know what I'd do. Hand him my pension check for the rest of my life?"
When he's not heisting lumber or running the poker game or checking out the mall, he's at the ballpark, working with the American Legion team.
"I tell the kids about '64, how we went through this long losing streak, how you've got to suck it up in hard times," Bennett said.
"My first year of coaching, we were in the state playoffs. Tied, 2-2, with Roseburg in the best-of-seven series.
"I got to the ballpark late and saw people standing around, our players in street clothes, game time an hour away.
"Danny Mills, the coach, walked up to me and told me that Mike Collins, one of our kids, had been killed. Car ran a light, blind-sided 'em, killed him.
"We postponed that game and asked the kids what they wanted to do. Chuck it in or keep playing. The kids wanted to play out the series. They beat us two in a row.
"Next year we won the state championship. Went to Wyoming, beat California, 2-1. The last game, Washington beat us. We finished second in the regional and Washington wound up second in the nation.
"Last year we got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. This year we've got the best team we've ever had.
"I'm gonna get to the World Series one way or another. It may only be the American Legion Series, but I'm gonna get there.
"It's funny, though. My wife wasn't much of a baseball fan when we met. She didn't know anything about the '64 Phillies.
"But whenever it comes up she says, 'If it was meant to be, it would have been.' "