Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On Discovering Abandoned Gemstones

Junkyard Dawg (as I've taken to calling my feisty senior canine) is fine with us just heading down our sidewalks for neighborhood walks; however, she becomes extra excited when I invite her to hop in the backseat of the car for a ride to a special walking venue. Occasionally, the destination is the beach, where we reconnect with our old friends, the sandpipers. But another special place is the pathway encircling a large complex of county baseball fields off International Drive.

One reason for Ellie's joy is that we often discover gems just lying around the fields -- baseballs that youth teams carelessly left around after their games. She knows that when she discovers one, I often will stop, remove her leash, and throw the ball for her to retrieve, with boundless joy. For sure, retriever is in the mix for this faithful companion. Our vet has figured that Ellie is part Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

On this splendid Thanksgiving eve, a walk around the diamonds with their stitched gemstones (whether baseballs or softballs) brought back some wonderful memories. I recalled when I coached my son Bobby's Little League teams, we used to walk fields after practices and games and discover dozens of balls that we collected in buckets for batting and pitching practice. Sometimes we would go behind the outfield wall of the baseball stadium and scoop up balls socked out of the park by the Richmond Braves in batting practice. (No one from the team came out to collect those "goners," so they were there for whoever wanted them.)

Reflecting during this morning's walk, I made a connection between all those gemstone discoveries from decades ago, and some of the blessings enjoyed today, for which we give thanks to God. Partly because we put all of those hardball treasures to use in throwing and hitting, Bobby became a Division I collegiate pitcher (notching a conference-championship win), and a sports management graduate who has become a stellar manager of his own field of dreams -- The Ripken Experience/Myrtle Beach where boys and girls from all around the world come with their teams to enjoy playing baseball at a first-class facility.

My thought is that along the meandering paths our lives take, opportunities abound if we keep alert to them. A good walk with a companionable dog helps keep our senses in tune. And for those who love the great outdoors, baseball is a constant.

                                                  © Robert Gray Holland  2017

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