There are a couple of scattered clouds in the sky. The maples that lie just beyond the fenced borders of my yard are turning bright reds yellows and browns. The dew sits heavy on the grass.
And it hasn’t rained for several days now.
The black tarpon that covers my pool is about six inches full now of its own water, and a few fallen fall leaves.
And my faithful black lab Suzy stretched out on the deck beside my feet.
It’s Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.
It’s Columbus Day to the Americans just across the Detroit River. Apparently this is now a reason for great shopping sales.
The Detroit Tigers are still playing baseball. They won their ALDS playoff series against the Bronx Bombing team that only money can buy New York Yankers. They played all five games of the series through rain and more rain – winning in the final game in a cardiac arresting fifth game pitcher’s duel score of three to two which had me clutching my chest like Red Foxx in a bad episode of Sanford and Son.
After the Tiger’s won, and I put the portable defibrillator away, I realized that I had made about twenty five promises to God of things I would do should he get the Tigers out of this mess and win this last game, only to realize I could only remember seventeen of them.
And hence the Tiger’s lost their ALCS series opener against Texas when God took away the vision from the right eye of home plate umpire Tim Welke who couldn’t call a strike on the right corner of the plate and then poured rain on the game twice forcing Tiger’s Cy Young award pitcher for 2011 Justin Verlander to come out of the game.
Sorry Justin, my bad. Next time I’ll write them all down.
And now I am emotionally spent; at least until four o’clock this afternoon when the game that got rained out last night will be played.
Life is pretty busy right now.
I’m running a men’s pool league that plays every Monday night, every Monday night except for tonight because today is Thanksgiving which ticked-off the players in my league because they either needed a place to go on Monday nights or because they needed reprieve from their own families after the viciousness that erupts at family holiday time.
I can identify a bit with the latter.
I also play in Wednesday night darts league, which I enjoy very much as the pace is quick and the darters throw triple twenties frequently.
It’s all very good stuff. As a married father of two little girls ages nine and ten, I am finding it refreshing to rejoin society after a decade of family and office isolation to hang out with the guys and say bad words and say “nice shot” as I take a sip out of my second pint of beer of the night.
But then Tuesday or Thursday mornings roll around, and I find myself groggily trying to help the girls get some breakfast in them, brushing their hair and enforcing statutory teeth brushing laws before we hop in the jeep for me to drop them both off at their school.
One year, four years from now, in October of 2015, my eldest Alannah will start high school while Ashley Ray remains behind one grade younger at the primary school. That year will be much more frustrating than this as both will need rides, and our morning battles will be much different.
At least until Alannah starts dating the high school senior twelfth grader who drives a fifteen year old Camero and simply refers to me as “old dude” as he picks Alannah up at the curbside of our house with me screaming from the driveway in front of all the neighbors “I forbid you to ride with that long haired hippy looking ear-ring wearing punk”. And as they drive away with some modern day rap remix of Lynard Skynard’s “Three Steps Mister” blasting through the open windows (open only because one of the windows doesn’t roll up all the way), I will stand there half furious with my daughter, half envious of the young man who kidnapped her from me – remembering my own senior year and thinking “those were great days”.
But those days are still four years away. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, although I started saving for the shotgun last spring when Alannah came home telling me all about the new boy in school she likes swearing up and down that she hates the guy.
It’s all very strange now as life continues to unfold.
It’s also very sobering.
I myself still feel like I am twenty six years old – at least in my mind.
The truth comes rushing back to me quickly as I try to teach Alannah and Ashley-Rae how to turn and chase down a long fly ball hit over one’s head – only to find my legs no longer simply glide me effortlessly under the ball – but now instead each stride is a challenge as I bounce up and down trying to keep the ball in jiggling sight only to reach up and barely snag it - instead of stopping and turning to make the catch easily, then panting out of breath as I try to spit out the affirmation “See …
But as I said, in Canada, today is Thanksgiving Day.
Here is a list of things I am very thankful for as I sit here this morning:
I am most thankful that my lovely wife Darlene and I still have this wonderful little family of ours, although some days that thankfulness is tested to its limits.
As well, I am thankful that I can still carve the seven ball into a tight side pocket leaving the cue ball to bounce off two rails and leave me a clean tap in on the eight ball in the corner.
And that I can double out from ninety seven by hitting triple nineteen and then double twenty.
I am very thankful that my daughters both love baseball enough to stay up as late as they can watching the Tigers playoff games, falling asleep on the couches in the living room in the third inning so that I have to carry them to bed; and when they wake up in the next morning the first question they ask is “did we win last night Daddy?”
And I am thankful that so far this playoff series I have gotten to answer that question by saying “yes we did, darling” more times than “no we didn’t sweetheart”.