“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ― William S. Burroughs
Down at the end of our block is a big park with ponds, softball diamonds, woods, and a picnic area. Next to it is a tennis center, and past that, an area that the city has built up for horseshoe pitching tournaments… (yes, really).
Especially on windy days, tennis balls from the center get blown over the fence and the people there are lazy about fetching them.
The ones that fall toward the street are picked up by people walking in the area and when they get to the trail in back of our house they throw them over the fence for our dog, Isaak. He is completely obsessed with tennis balls. He pushes them through gaps in the iron fence for the walkers to throw back.
With the isolation, however, not enough people are picking them up and Isaak’s collection is getting ratty.
So, driving by, I noticed about a dozen tennis balls spread around in the horseshoe area. They sat there for a week – through a couple of rainstorms – so I knew nobody wanted them. Except I knew Isaak wanted them.
One of the bad things about getting old (one of the many many things) is that you can’t climb over fences anymore. It’s weird – in your head you can scramble up, over, and down like you did when you were twelve, but when you try it all you get is pain, embarrassment, and injury.
But I thought of all those balls going to waste in that horseshoe area and decided to walk down there and climb that damn fence. It turns out that the gate is lower than it looks and by standing on tiptoes I could sort of step over – easy peasy.
So now, every day for a week or so – Isaak gets a new bright yellow tennis ball. They are a little damp and not very bouncy – but he doesn’t mind. He gets all excited and walks around with the new ball in his mouth – showing off to all the people that walk by.
Today – A heartbreaking flash fiction about mothers and their children.
“After all, we were young. We were fourteen and fifteen, scornful of childhood, remote from the world of stern and ludicrous adults. We were bored, we were restless, we longed to be seized by any whim or passion and follow it to the farthest reaches of our natures. We wanted to live – to die – to burst into flame – to be transformed into angels or explosions. Only the mundane offended us, as if we secretly feared it was our destiny . By late afternoon our muscles ached, our eyelids grew heavy with obscure desires. And so we dreamed and did nothing, for what was there to do, played ping-pong and went to the beach, loafed in backyards, slept late into the morning – and always we craved adventures so extreme we could never imagine them. In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.”
― Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter
“If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
Munger & Gaston Streets, Dallas, Texas
I was planning on riding my bicycle down to The Lot to meet Nick for his birthday. At first, I was going to ride the train downtown, then out the Santa Fe Trail, but the people on the train were getting on my last nerve, so I took that as an omen and left the train early, from the underground station at Cityplace. After riding the two extensive escalators to the surface, I had to work my way through East Dallas to the lake. That part of town is a confusing maze of angled streets, and more difficult on a bicycle than a car. You have to avoid some busy streets, some killer hills, and a mistake can put you miles out of your way.
However, I’ve been there a few times recently and was able to find my way without any real problems – with an occasional Googlemaps look on my phone.
I did make a little side trip to the intersection of Gaston & Munger. There’s a sculpture there – on the corner of a redone apartment complex of a man and woman pushing a mirrored sphere. I had seen it before, but never able to stop and get a good look.
My camera was in my pack this time, so I took a quick photo of it. I don’t know anything about its title or sculptor or backstory – but I’ll try to get back and get a better shot.
It’s in an unexpected spot – and looks really cool.