Zoofari

My family has a busy weekend ahead. We have two graduations here in Atlanta and my nephew is being ordained as a priest in St. Louis. So we’re spitting up. JB and I are headed north, while my lovely wife and our other two daughters are holding down the fort here.

I’m very excited to see Patrick ordained. I am frankly amazed at him. He’s worked hard and is excited about the life he has ahead of him – devoted to God and to others. Following such a calling is a very special choice he’s made – against the grain of today’s norm and I truly respect that. I am afraid it will seem odd to call my nephew Father Patrick. But I’m sure it will feel right after a while.

We are going to have a fantastic time when we arrive to celebrate this holy event with family. But why not enjoy the ride as well as the destination, right?

When the kids were little and we took a trip, we would often try to find a zoo along the way to wear them out. It worked very well and since we are members of our local zoo, admission was usually free or discounted. For a big family, free fun is the best fun.

IMG_5052JB suggested visiting a zoo along the way and somehow that idea mushroomed into Zoofari 2019. We’re going to visit three on the way up and two on the way home. We even had t-shirts made that should be pretty ripe by zoo # 5.

I like to get on the road early, so all we’re really sacrificing is sleep. But that’s okay. It should be a hoot. We’ll be reporting along the way. I’m told we’re going to “vlog” – which is exciting because I’ve never done it and don’t know what it is. Look for us somewhere – wherever vlogging happens.

 

“Adventure is out there!”

-Ellie Fredrickson

 

 

What do you see?

What do you see when you look at this picture? Look closely on the roof.

I pass this house on my daily commute and it makes me happy.

When I pass it I hear the pat of a ball bouncing once, twice, three times and pray it will clear the gutter and come back to me. 

I hear the thwump, thwump, thwump as a tennis ball pounds against brick and I wear a path in the grass beside the driveway in a hard-fought battle to lob it back. 

I smell the fresh cut of grass mixed with sweat and the unique scent of my favorite Reds cap – an odor no amount of washing can remove.

I see this and wonder if the Frisbee has been there for weeks or months. I wonder if a father was annoyed when he saw it or if he laughed and reminisced of his own father climbing a ladder to pull down balls and frisbees from the roof.

I remember the gasline that ran through the neighborhood of my youth and left a perfect baseball field that transitioned to football when the mood struck. 

I recall the glory of the day I won 57 games and set the known record for Wiffle Ball wins in a single day. To my knowledge, that record still stands. 

And that one warm Saturday, when a couple of dads joined our baseball game and then a few of us went and rounded up more. Soon we had a full-on father/son pickup game that only ended when Johnny’s dad took a line drive in the groin and had to go to the hospital. That became a warning to us all – glove down!

I’m suddenly riding my bike and not driving. We couldn’t afford the premium brands: Mongoose or Redline so I got a silver bike and bought Tommy’s old Mongoose pads and it looked cool… cool enough. My bike route has boundaries – Taylorsville Road on one side and the industrial park on the other. I usually don’t go outside of them… usually. 

Up with the sun, I’m sitting on Jeff’s porch waiting for him to arise. I know not to knock, his older brother taught me that the hard way. I just wait. He’s got a clover patch beside his house and I swear I’m going to find one with four leaves – not just the three-leafer that I split into four that time. Everyone knew. When he comes out with rooster-tailed hair, we play and play, swap baseball cards, eat lunch at my house, and play some more until the streetlights come on. That’s the sign to go home. 

Summers that never lasted long enough. Neither did those innocence days. Good days… great memories. 

And traffic moves again. It’s like the sadness of hearing the ball settle in the gutter – game over.

 

I saw this Frisbee every day for weeks and each time I smiled as I felt nostalgically lost in reveries of bygone summer days.

And suddenly, for just a moment, even Atlanta traffic didn’t seem so bad.