My inbox contains buried treasure. In it, correspondence from friends far and near. Agreements to guest post. Inquiries into soccer teams. Catch-ups, and rundowns. It’s tons better than anything found in Al Capone’s vault, even.
I’m getting closer to taking up shovels and those little whisky brushes like Indiana Jones.
I hope when I return to emails I’ve yet to return, you haven’t given up on me. I’m coming around, I promise. It’s not a brushoff – rather, you’re swept up in a convex twister than relies on randomality and the universe to sit you front and center.
I want much for them. Peace, not a pampered path. Purpose, not existence in pretend. Experiences, not empty days when the moon rises and sets without peace and purpose. I want to drive them places they want me to take them.
I want also for them to venture into places I am not.
The influence and support they’ll have from their parents will never cease. What of those times when she’s chosen to play on a new team, in a far-off park? When she’s on a stage somewhere I am not, rehearsing and projecting?
Eloquent people seem to travel lots. Or maybe travel breeds eloquence. What do you think?
I don’t travel much. Unless you count drives to Mooresville or the trips I’ll take to the mountains for Elise’s games. There’s my annual work trip to someplace tropical every winter. When you travel, you pick up stories, whether it’s in Madrid or Marshville.
My friend Brittany tells stories of travel abroad and also to the junkyard in the blog Girl Interrupted, and its superb reading. The clarity of the scenes she sets? Downright Hemmingwayesque in its delivery.
My friend Britta writes It’s a Britta Bottle. She undertook a life shift to teach in Thailand. Her stories began when she made the choice and influence her writing today. Her adventures inspired this post.
In the midst of a work post, the utter stubbiness of my attention span – and ability to comprehend anything not about food, soccer or Star Wars – couldn’t be ignored. “They didn’t have as much stuff for you to learn back then,” Grace piped up.
“And they didn’t have all the ways we could learn stuff back then.”
Immediately I saw myself in my sabre-toothed tiger jumper, all Paleolithic-like in a schoolhouse like the ones on Little House on the Prairie. Oh, these kids.
I might act curmudgeonly at times, but really, I can roll with the punches. I finally got a smartphone, remember? I fully embraced Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and gave Fuller House a puncher’s chance (Hi Kimmy.) Agile, that’s what I am.
Still, there’s stuff I miss. Stuff I wish I could bring back.
Like, Summer Sanders. Toys in the bottom of cereal boxes. Ice cream in baseball caps at the ballpark that don’t set you back $8. Cookie Monster, in his full glory. The original Electric Company. The Gameboy. Trading football cards with Tandy Dillen at lunch.
That’s what sports departments I worked in called women’s basketball. Labels banter about safely in the presumed safety of like minds. Women’s athletics’ best chance at appreciation didn’t come through regard, admiration or respect.
More likely, it’d come from a news editor so enamored with tennis player Mary Pierce that he locked in every image the Associated Press moved on the wire of her.
The late Pat Summitt, the legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, couldn’t have cared less what close-minded editors thought of her. Or what they thought of her program or gender or sport or place in a game they considered a man’s.
It can be done in many ways. Meditation’s my favorite. I’m stellar at switching off my brain, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a man, a father, or a Colorado Rockies fan. Once, I came to after a mediation session to find my friends staring at me.
“I want a brownie,” I muttered. [Watch Reese on Malcolm in the Middle zone out below]
Yeah, I get all enlightened, go Zen AF to my eyebrows, and what do I ask for? Not world peace, not eternal life or immortal knowledge – I want baked goods. I’m also prolific at powering down the gray matter at bedtime. Today’s worries can wait until tomorrow.
Never trust a recipe that starts out with heating up oil in a skillet.
Or warming an oven.
Or anything other than take inventory of all the shit you’ll need for this recipe, and what you’ll have to do with it. Find your garlic press. Ensure each integral stupid part is with it. Chop shit up. Know the difference between chop and dice. Account for pasta prep time.
Also for the pace water takes to achieve a rolling boil.
Seven-hundred-fifty employees here – mostly young, wholly beautiful – and they invited the Gen Xer in dire need of a haircut. They’re for a campaign for our wonderful company. I took my place at the end of the couch, blending in with the Beautiful Six.
Blending in like an armadillo in a fox parade.
I folded my arms, fussed with my hair. I worried about my graying mop. Did I trim my nose hair? This can’t end well. Under bright lights, I told a joke when photographers asked us to “look natural.”
By Bo, I mean Bo Jackson, the super athlete who got dudes started on two sports back in the 1990s. For my girls, the year’s split into two seasons: Soccer season, and count-your-wounds-and-fight-with-each-other-until-soccer-season-starts-again season.
That’s fine with me.
Other families transition into basketball after fall soccer. Can you imagine? After tournament drama, come sit in a gym and listen to sneaker squeak hell. Marie played an intramural basketball game once. I’d pay anything to be able to go back and see it.