As I Sit Here

For some reason I can not seem to gather together enough thoughts to craft a coherent post. I realize that has never stopped me before, but I have had intentions to smartin’ up what I post around here… oh, well.

This case of mind mud all began early this morning as I awoke. I slid my feet over the side of the bed and sat up. Staring at those very same feet, I questioned my grasp on what day of the week it actual was. Certainly it was not yet Saturday for several reasons; not the least of which was the confounded alarm having brought about my mental state at that moment.

Perhaps if I just lay back down, I thought to myself. Oh, that idea resonated quite harmoniously with my entire being. No. No. No. I’ve fallen for that one before and I refuse having to rush through my morning routine to avoid being late for work — unless this was not a work day after all. A decision had to be made. OK, if it turned out to be Saturday? Well, then I would be blessed with an early start to it and the prospects of an afternoon nap. If not? There is always tomorrow… er, or the day after.

So, as I sit here, maybe instead of attempting to construct a subtly nuanced post full of intelligent insights today, I’ll jot down some odd thoughts I’ve been considering for one of those aforementioned smarter posts. What I have in mind is a post about socks… socks and dryers… and a loosely scientific experiment. Yes, that is what I shall do.

Coach

Practice was over. We were gathering all the stuff together and cramming it into a huge, well worn, canvas duffel bag. A bit of excitement on the field caught our attention and all eyes turned toward the area between the pitcher’s mound and home-plate. The team troublemaker/bully was standing nearest to home-plate and another player was positioned just in front of the pitcher’s mound visibly upset as his father approached him from behind almost a little too quickly. His father was mad. In his right hand was a bat.

My father not only coached our little-league baseball team, but in the absence of any ‘official’ community sponsored sports leagues in our area, he also conceived of, and organized the league. He convinced my mom to fabricate several sets of bases from an old canvas tent and some odd, picky stuffing we had about. He successfully recruited several other fathers to coach a handful of teams made up of youngsters between 8 and 12 years old. My dad loved baseball. My dad loved kids.

As we gawked at the drama unfolding on the field we hadn’t noticed Coach quickly making his way onto the field. With all intention he positioned himself between the bully and the other boy’s father. In that silent moment that followed I heard Coach ask, as he stood there empty handed, “Is there a problem?” The intensity on the face of the boy’s father is still in my memory of that moment. “He’s going to hit someone”, I remember thinking to myself. “What in the world does dad think he’s doing out there?” I mumbled to my brother. Time seemed to take on a bizarre quality; an almost surreal sensation of both standing still and potentially running out of control.

Suddenly, there was a change. The father’s grip on the bat relaxed just a bit. I heard him quietly, but still very intensely say something about making fun of his son’s ears. My brother shot me a look that suggested confusion. Was this guy serious? However, Coach did not react very quickly, but rather took a deep breath and asked the father to take a good look at him. You see Coach was not the most aerodynamic from the neck up — my brother inherited dad’s ears. After looking coach in the eyes the father relaxed so that I almost thought he was going to just flop right down there on the mound. Instead, he and Coach headed over toward the parking lot having a gentle conversation along the way. We resumed packing the stuff.

My dad never did share any of the details of that conversation between the two men with my brother and I. In fact he never really talked about it much at all after that day. I have certainly played out in my mind what they may have talked about. I have also wondered how things would have gone if my dad approached the situation with his own bat…?

Price of Happiness

I am finding that my days are littered with precious moments. The real trick is slowing down enough to truly enjoy them.

At lunch, if time is in short supply, it is well known that a trip to Jumbo China will provide one with an enjoyable take-out lunch of sesame chicken for $4.31 including free sweet-tea (it is NC after all) — there and back in under 15 minutes.

Today was a day where both the quick turnaround and the under five bucks seemed like a great idea. It would also allow me to use up some of the change gathering in my top, right desk drawer. Having a five dollar bill, I gather up 31¢ by way of a dime, a nickel and the balance in pennies.

On the trip over to Jumbo China my mind is in a dozen different places. I pull into the parking lot and make my way into the small shop. There are several people waiting around for their food. I make my way to the counter and see Amy there eager to take my order. Amy is the owners’ daughter who is a rising first grader and a precious soul.

I place my order with Amy and she promptly turns 180° and shouts something into the kitchen not even remotely sounding like sesame chicken. She returns her attention to me and states very businesslike, “four-thirtyone”. I hand her the five dollar bill, one nickel, a single dime and sixteen pennies. She looks up at me and I notice the corners of her mouth edge upward just a slight bit. She places the five dollar bill into the drawer and counts out the coins; “ten, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, thirty and thirtyone.” Then she correctly reports back to me that my change will be a dollar. Then asks without blinking, …”Would you like that in pennies?”