bunt sign

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Now that I'm feeling better, my only reason to wait for the doctor to call is so I can feel great. Is that even possible? I don't remember the last time I felt so good that I thought I could take on the world. Maybe I never felt that way, even when I was six and thought I could fly.

I didn't jump off any buildings or anything, but after I saw Peter Pan on TV for the first time (the one with Mary Martin), I talked some schoolmates into staging the play in the classroom. With me as the star, of course. I wasn't embarrassed about this until the next year, when the other kids remembered (and I was trying to forget).

As I got older I didn't think I could fly. I didn't think I could do much of anything. In every gym class I was ever forced to take, I did my best to blend into the background. I played right field and prayed for the ball to be hit somewhere else. I concentrated on defense in basketball, so I wouldn't have to take a shot. In football, what else could I play but center?

I never played organized sports as a child, and I never tried out for any high school teams. I just didn't think of it as an option. I never thought of myself as being in the same world as the athletes. I was happy to carry their gym bags and keep score. Besides, I was too short and too skinny to be good at any competitive sports.

Is it remotely surprising that I was a nerdy outcast in high school? At basketball games I sat in the stands with a clipboard. I gave the coach a report every Monday, listing the players and their statistics. Yes, I was doing spreadsheets even then, in the days long before computers. That was as close as I ever got to being an insider.

In college we were required to take three physical education classes. I took one quarter each of golf and swimming, where I was mainly competing against no one but myself. And I took one quarter of soccer, a game where I could get lost in the crowd. That was the last time I did anything athletic that involved other people. In my thirties I ran a few miles several mornings a week, but my bad knees forced me to quit.

So I'm not exactly an imposing physical specimen. Maybe that's why the little aches and pains that I've had over the years have never prompted me to see a doctor. I just learned to live with them, because I wasn't trying to do much anyway. I just wonder what I might be able to do, even at my age, if I felt really good.

almost a sunset

To put myself in a good mood today, I chose Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume Two, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and friends.

Then I read that John Hartford had died, and that made me sad. Hartford didn't perform on the Circle album, but his music was in a similar vein, some of it fun and some haunting, but all infused with catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics. He's best known for writing "Gentle On My Mind," but he filled many albums with wonderful, memorable (to his fans) music.

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Mountains will crumble, rivers will dry up,
And so it goes with everything but love.