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Literature: Re-Read ‘Hondo’

In honor of his birthday, later this week on March 22nd, I’m re-reading ‘Hondo’, by one of my favorite authors, Louis L’Amour.

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Louis L’Amour  (March 22nd, 1908 – June 10th, 1988)

 

The Working Dog

When I was want to quit…

When I think I’ll just stay in bed today…

W

A couple looks of disgust, some whining, and a good old fashioned hard stare down deep into my eyes; dad… and few seconds of what sounds like yawning/howling which could only be the awful sound of a desperate dog trying to say, “Get the hell up and get with it, we’ve got people to meet, stuff to do..work to be done, and most importantly, frisbees to chase down and catch. Lots of frisbees.

Thanks for being there dad even when you couldn’t be… Thanks for bringin her home.

Almost as if you what you were doing.

P.S. If anyone knows any reputable BC breeders, or come across some such, I’d sure appreciateyou putting me in touch with one.

It may be time to throw some young blood in with the old timer.

The Working Dog Pt. I

I thought my father had lost his good sense on that day seven years ago when he brought home a border collie puppy into suburbia. Why a border collie? Why now? At the time, something about this just did not add up for me. Maybe it was because I was at that age where I thought I knew everything.

There was no way anyone, inside the family or out, could have known what a crucial role this incredible dog would come to play in the lives of my family.

There was no way anyone, inside the family or out, could have known what a crucial role this incredible dog would come to play in the lives of my family.

I wondered if a breed this demanding could make it in the city.

“So what’s this wonder dog’s name?” I asked my father.

“Well, I always wanted a dog named Lassie. So if I reverse it, it means roughly girl in Scot-Irish.” He replied.

I thought this was very fitting considering that our family heritage is Scot-Irish.

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When I was around before leaving town- I was to be moving out, soon, I was attending some college classes, and wanted to gain some independence; and create some distance between my dad and me- I remember she was so small. I’ll never forget the way her eyes and face didn’t exactly go with the rest of her body and personality. She looked so helpless, and she depended on him every morning to go out, and then she would come back into the house and sprawl out in front of the fireplace until I would wake up or whoever was the first up. At the time I was around before leaving town. I was to be moving out, soon. I was attending some college classes, and wanted to gain some independence, and create some distance between my dad and I. I didn’t think very much of it at the time when I asked my dad what it was he knew about the breed, he replied, “I know enough. I’ve just always wanted one. They’re working dogs.”

Looking back, I wish I had been more respectful. The truth is, Dad did know enough, and I resented him for it; but over the past six months or so, the old man started to soften up a little. He became more docile, more reflective, more vulnerable. Our relationship had quickly gone from Little League coach and son to drinking buddies to drunken, fighting idiots. Me on the one hand, saying all of the things that a son voices to hurt his father when he feels bulletproof and invisible, feeling overshadowed by the accomplished old man, over-criticized and over-analyzed. Like he owed me something. Him, on the other hand, putting me in my place, dragging me down and taking his frustrations 60 some-odd years old out on me. The truth was, however, for reasons unannounced to me, over the past six months or so, I was the old man started to soften up a little. He became more docile, more reflective, more vulnerable, more thoughtful.

A one-year-old border collie came prancing up the drive. Sally had a sly grin as if she was concealing a secret from all the other creatures on earth; dogs included. Her coat was glimmering in the sun; she had filled out a bit, not a lot, still a bit small for a border collie.

I watched dad play with her up and down the yard and throwing her frisbee after frisbee.

“She just needs a job to do,” he said.

And what a job she was doing. The more I watched, the more I fell in love with this dog, and I began to see that she was going to be something special; that she was here for a reason. There was no way anyone, inside the family or out, could have known what a crucial role this incredible dog would come to play in the lives of my family.

End of Pt. I

Astros @ Dodgers: 2017 World Series Game II

 

 

Houston

Astros 

 

Los Angeles
Dodgers
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
HOU 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 7 14 1
LA 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 6 5 0

Above: The box score for game two of the Major League end it was an off-speed pitch by It’s the bottom of the 11th, got him out with an 82 mph off-speed circle change down and away in the zone.

If tonight’s game any sign of things to come, it should be a fantastic series.

What I Want to Be: Ten Years Later

 

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you think about being an astronaut? Perhaps at one time, when you were a child you wanted to be a doctor and help tons of sick people or a lawyer and show up to court in expensive suits, winning significant cases.

Really, our entire lives, it is always being embossed upon us how important it is to know what you want to do with your life. As high school students, we are continually told to find out who we’re supposed to be, but always being told where we’re supposed to be. This is where the pressure gets turned up for the first time for many of us. Some of us have to go to work for the first time, some play sports year round, there are meetings with counselors discussing your future. “What schools have you thought about applying to?” We are bombarded with pre-tests counting for half a school years worth of work, for which most of us are unprepared; there are ACT’s, SAT’s, extracurricular activity is so very crucial, or so we’re told. But somewhere in the midst of all this, you have to find yourself. You have to make up your mind who it is you are supposed to be and stop letting others place the weight of all of their unanswered & unrealized childhood achievements. We all know what happens if you don’t; you’ve heard it a thousand times. Someone or something else will do it for you.

Never once thought even for one minute that I would be where I am, at twenty-nine years old and ten years out of high school. I have a lot of friends that would probably agree with that. A lot of married friends with children of their own and a lot of single friends; some living like me, in or near a big city/metro area, perhaps writing, as a college drop-out, conceivably in a hospital as a nurse or doctor; doing something they can be proud of. Then, of course, there are some living out their lives as part of a small-town community like the one from which we came, making a difference every day even if the only people who are going to see it that particular day are their children or the little league baseball team they coach, or the kids in their class. Lastly, you have the ones who didn’t make it long enough to see today. The ones who are forever burned into your memory, even if you try and forget them for the hours of sleep you’ve lost; then take it back that you ever wished to omit them and come to grips with the fact that they’re gone. They’re not coming back. They live now only in our hearts, our memories, and in the stories, we’ll tell our children, nieces, and nephews about how much their grandfather would have loved them. Or sit around with old friends and talk about how he was much more than a great personality, more than a good team-mate, but a good and a decent person, with heart for days, who shined so brightly even as young as he was taken from us.


I guess my point is that life is short, it goes by like a lightning bolt that you’re trying to catch with a baseball mitt. So try and slow it down, every chance you get; and don’t let life keep you in a constant hurry. Because no matter how old you are, or what kind of person you are, life is going to throw you curveballs and change-ups. So dig in, sit back in the box, get the one you want, keep your eye on the ball and see it come in slow. No matter if you’re taking the pitch, bunting or swinging away.


 

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Dude, Not Cool…

Doctors and nurses ran frantically into and out of the small room I found myself in. I had never seen such organized chaos from my place in the hospital bed. Little did I know it then, but I had just traveled the longest, most expensive 50 miles, by ambulance to the nearest hospital. In weeks I had not felt the emotion you and me, we all have at some point in time likely taken for granted, known as joy. We’ll come back to that sensation and others, both authentically human and artificially or chemically induced, in greater detail later.
In weeks I had not been hungry, had not eaten anything that felt like it wasn’t fighting to out of me. I was miserable. I hadn’t held a baseball or wore a pair of cleats in as much time, though that time was starting to feel like much, much longer.
The doctor came into the room, finally. He decidedly sighed, looking over what I could only assume had to be my chart. After a quick but thorough examination, he stepped back and folded his arms. He then knowingly looked over to me, into my eyes, then as if without a shadow of a doubt said to my worried parents, “Crohn’s disease.”

As he continued talking, my mind raced off far away; immediately I knew one thing- I had never heard of anything that sounded so unpleasant, so uncool. After a few seconds, I came back into my body. “…but we’ll get him started on some steroids to control the inflammation and get you some medicine for the pain.”
He grinned, “You’re going to be feeling better soon”, he said, “but we want to be sure that you don’t have anything to eat or drink for maybe a day or two.” He went on further, but my ears told my brain it had heard enough. Provided the fact that I had tubes up my nose that had the necessary task of pumping bile from my diseased gut so that I could stop incessantly vomiting, I thought how he could joke at a time like this? Who is this guy, what is this, his job? Telling strangers who had nearly choked on their stomach as it tried to turn itself inside out, that he would fix them, while he starved them?”