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ham sandwich…

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I truly am sleepless in Seattle. So much ahead. So much keeping me restless…

Tonight for no reason an act of complete generosity caught me off guard. I was at a bowling ally unlike any I have ever been to before. It was bright, happy, smoke free and family filled. The owners were courteous and polite, an happy to have us as guests.

As I lined up on the lane, a man and his wife watched over their adorable kids, whom bowled with perfect bowling etiquette in the lane next to us… (Yes, there is an etiquette to bowling.) As I watched in awe, their 4 year old daughter picked up an 8lb ball and rolled a down the middle strike. I walked up and told the parents it was incredible to see kids with such manors. As I picked up the ball, I threw a meager 4 pin first frame. The father came up to me and handed me a ball, and said, “put this on for size… How’s that feel?”

The rubber center grips felt clean and sturdy. I said… “Great! Thanks.”

He said, “It’s yours… Have fun. It’s a great ball.”

I smiled and went to work on the ball… Learning it. Getting a feel for its cut. I have been rolling spin for years now, but I have never made the move to use a three finger roll… I forewent the extra step and left my thumb out. I rolled my first game in a similar fashion. I rolled a lousy 76. One of the worst games I’ve thrown since I was a 5 year old kid with the bumpers down…

I looked at the ball… Closely. It’s colors were deeply inlaid. It had a presence. As though it had a story. I heard the dad say again… “It’s a great ball.”

I looked up at him, and back down to the ball, whose thumb hole faced up at me… As I examined it, I noticed an etching next to the hole… A key. I put my thumb in, and presented the lane, prepared to throw the ball the way it was meant to be thrown. A three finger spinning strike filled the frame.

I looked up to see the gentleman smiling at me, as he left the lanes with his family in arm. I finished the second game with a 164. By no means my best scoring round, but without a doubt the best game I have thrown to date. At the end of the evening, as I returned my shoes, I asked the owner about the ball… Partially because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the lanes’ ball.

He told me, “It’s a special ball. It’s a storm. It’s a great ball.”

I told him how the gentleman presented it to me, and he just stood and smiled. “What a generous man”, I said.

“He really is…” The owner replied. “He really is.”

 

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Why rocks…

The stability of everything is relative. Relative to the underlie of a greater purpose. Our platforms in life are always changing. Friends, family, work, recreation, hobbies; all of these things are dependent upon the ability to adapt to change. And truth be told, change is not easy; don’t let anybody fool you.

The struggle comes in the finite details. Just as it does over time, in the bedrock, and ground that we build atop. The change of the seasons, and the fluctuation of weather patterns exist in the world around us. These effects mold the earth upon which we walk. All the systems, and eco-systems, and bio-spheres around us are dependent upon the ground for life. It sustains us. It unites us.

Even the deepest depths of the oceans depend on the sea floor. And being as it is, it too shows the effects of time. Tsunami’s and hurricanes, tides and currents, all are connected.

This to me is beautiful. This to me is life, and is all that really matters. Because when we come to understand that all things are connected, we raise ourselves to a higher sphere of understanding. We begin to correlate events in our own lives to the chaotic reality of the world we live in.

Humanity’s disillusion of separation from all of this is flawed. It leads to lashing out, anger, hostility, pain, heartache, and the killing of anything that says otherwise. There is plenty of sadness to be overtaken by. Our time on this planet is our own. It is ours to decide what to do with it, and it is ours to decide what not to do with it. It is a beautiful predicament. It is our curse, and our blessing.

SO I say, go forth, and do good. Stand tall against the resentment of change. BE strong, firm, and fair in the face of ignorance. Never dismiss an argument simply because you do not agree with it, but rather, come to search for the rationale behind it, and if it is flawed, be elegant and kind in your dismissal.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in family, life, rocks...

 

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…roadstop Pampy:)

I guess it took being confined to a cabin in the woods of Tennessee to really comprehend the stories Pampy told. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Several of the old fella’s stories are on repeat and shuffle, so my family and I, we know these stories. We have happily humored the repetition of these tales with respectful nods and doctored chuckles for quite some time now. We all have, and do love him undoubtedly; but nonetheless, you can only hear the same story so many times before complacent boredom is the only response.

Sometimes though, in an instant, a moment can change, and the gravity of what is being told outweighs anything else that may be going on. The flicker of a distant memory can trigger the outpour of many of life’s unscripted moments. Listening is an art that requires practice, and in moments such as those, the record button needs to be on. Our minds don’t always tell us what our ears hear. Fortunately enough, my grandpa, Pampy, has a booming voice that can grip the heart from time to time.

One sunny afternoon, on a Christmas trip to Gatlinburg, I grabbed a seat next to the 83 year old fella I call, my Pampy. The view of a weather worn mountain range was enough for the old Dutchman to find solace. With his thick dialect, a subtle remark can grab the attention of an entire room. The familiarity he felt with the place he had found himself, brought on a reminiscent sigh. He has a presence that he is keenly aware of, and a playful smirk that can result in a heavy burst of hiccups for entire crouds.

His spirits were high that day. He felt the happy energy of a gathered family. It wasn’t long before the stories began. He typically would start with the tales about coming to America for a job at a metropolitan hospital. Other times he would tell of an old dog on Aires Rd. that would hop the fence all the way to the local butcher.  However, on this particular day, he told one of my favorites. The tale of his glacier adventure with a fellow Dutchmen he met on the train, and an English soldier. He always starts it at the train station.

It wasn’t his first train ride. He had been on plenty of trains. When he was young  his family used the spur* when they needed to travel for supplies. The sudden rush of air as the train tore though the valleys and tunnels always gave the young pampi’s heart a startle. It wasn’t even the excitement of being in Paris that had him anxious with joy. He had been to Paris several times with his father in fact. This trip was something different though. Reservations had been arranged at a small chalet in Les Houches (a small town south of Geneva.) After a shared visit with local family, Pampy and his father part ways, and the adventure began

*a short branch rail line.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2010 in beginning of a story..., roadstops...

 

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