Tag Archives: pay it forward

Funeral

I climbed the hill on foot, but it wasn’t much of a rise. For some reason though, my feet didn’t want to go. It just felt like I was walking through both, the sands of time, and quicksand all at once. Imagine making strides just to make them, but wishing not to take a single step. Forces fell from somewhere, making the quest more of a question, than a statement. I walked hand in hand with my bride, partly because the pull from the gravity of the situation made it a necessity to move forward with her at my side.

The hill crested, round the bend we came. Faces were familiar if not just the same. And the door loomed like the wall of a fortress that I’d rather not breach. I stepped up but the closer I got the further that handle seemed from my reach. Until all at once I found myself inside. As soon as I was seen, part of me wanted to run away and hide. Every hair on my neck stood up, for the feeling in there was just not right. I had come here on purpose, to stand, maybe, for those who no longer were here to fight. Still I was afraid of what was yet to come. There were people in a line, and it wallowed aimlessly it felt, not knowing where it went, or whether I’d rather run. I waited though, holding my wife’s hand, and hoping for something good. But I have been to many a funeral and this one didn’t feel like it should.

The line writhed forward, like it was wringing away every last bit of good. Until finally, with my wife, at the front, we stood. But I was wrong, it wasn’t the good that had left the room, but rather the feeling of evil had entered and hung like a thick black smoke over everyone and every thing. I can’t say that I have ever felt that way before, but it was a place to which not a soul I’d ever again wish to bring. It was almost as those we met, were there because they had to be. And I dreaded anything even close to that sense, were something ever to happen to me. We talked with those there, gathered and disconnected, somehow I sensed. We smiled and we cried, we shared our stories, while this virtual wall of darkness, I felt myself pressed against.

My heart skipped several beats as I looked down and saw the young son left here to carry the light that once held him. And I wondered how a life so warm and beautiful could end up remembered here in a scene so bleak and grim. I searched for my next breath as I had lost my sense of where I was, and stopped, paralyzed by the weight of deep sorrow. I sobbed and wondered how it is that one full of love here one day, was taken from each and every tomorrow. Either way, it was time to move on, to the next stop in this old place. There was nothing more to see here, for the warmth of nurturing love had been compromised, with barely a trace.

Then we spilled into a room, that was just as uneasy to enter, like the next chapter in a book that was missing too many pages to make sense. But there we found smiles among the tears of co-workers, truest of friends. I didn’t have words for anyone then, as I found myself in a battle with the now, and all that I previously knew. So, I smiled in hopes that the look in my eyes would say all that I couldn’t, and reflect the love and passion for the children of the one we remembered, to help others get through.

I don’t know what felt better, getting outside to the fresh air, or knowing that we stood for the warmth of the fallen who cared for many, more than most. See, she stood for the child and acted on it, while so many others noticed, but only came close. Then, ever-changed, we wandered, back down the hill. We got to the car and stood there talking, shaking our heads, in tears, baffled still. I sobbed, as I shared my emotions with my wife. I talked of the thin line so attached, to that so precious, a human life. Were there more of us that looked past the frailties and labels we are so quick to place, we’d be so much better in general. So there we left it, set to remember and share, knowing full well that I’d never forget that funeral.

Forever Rest In Peace

Today we come together to remember one of us, one held so dear.

I implore you to ensure that her sweet, smiling spirit ne’er disappear.

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To the Help

This one goes out to the help. The volunteers. The community. The common thread found among a group. Maybe it’s a passion that you didn’t realize you had, but you couldn’t stay away knowing that things needed to be done right.

I know I have said this, maybe too many times, over the last 15 years, but I believe it, it’s all about the kids. So, when we get put to the test to host a baseball tournament at Allard Park, we do so. But we do so with a flair for the perfect. I don’t mean to say we are perfect or do everything exactly right. I will say that we come pretty close on most days. Because there’s a group of us that learned from those who came before us, then we add our creativity and our passion for getting it right.

We set the stage to the best of our abilities. We produce this little show that is the presentation of the game. But there is no agenda, in the political or personal sense, just a respect for the game. And in doing so, I, we, hope that the kids have the experience of a lifetime, playing this great game in such a beautiful setting. I equate it to something like the falling of dominoes. Everyone likes to see some elaborate design set up, only to get the enjoyment of watching the ripple effect and beautiful symmetry of one slab perfectly effecting the next, and so on, as they all fall down. Well we are the group that sets up the design, and stands one domino after the next, just so the teams can come in and enjoy the show, participating as they may. Honestly, that’s how I see it.

I cannot say enough about the folks that make these games and tournaments come together. I am truly humbled by the efforts of so many, who volunteer and work above and beyond the work that is already in their everyday lives, for the kids, for the game. I have been all over this state to more fields than I can remember, and Allard Park in its’ setting, with all the work done to present the game, is as good as it gets. Bar none.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

I know that running a tournament is a lot of work. It’s tiring. There is always more to do. There are always folks to cater to. Then, we ran two tournaments in a row. Games were played on everyday between July 6th until July 19th, except our one day off, July 13th (an evening that our team practiced). 20 games in 13 days. 20 announcements of players, coaches, umpires, officials, and 20 national anthems. Every pitch, every out, every play, of every inning tracked, and recorded. Prepping the field in blistering heat, or recovering from thunderstorms and downpours. People worked at the gate, sold 50/50 tickets, and helped all over the grounds. Folks worked in the stifling hot concession stand to produce the best ballgame fare anywhere around. We restocked as we went several times. Often times, members of our volunteer crew would be at the field for 8-9 hours in a single day, when two games were played.

One thing I can say is that our kids learned a lot about running a tournament. They helped in every aspect of the production necessary to host a tournament. Even better, they saw their parents working hard to make this about the kids, and to do it right. There’s nothing wrong with the kids seeing ‘pay it forward’ right before their own eyes.

I thank Maurice Allard for his, and the Allard family’s blessing, for us to utilize the facilities and run with them. Dr. Moe was ever-present at games, all games, whether they included the home team or not. And, I would say that he was not only welcomed, but his presence was anxiously anticipated by many.

So, despite the home team being knocked out of the tournament with 3 days, and 5 potential games left to be played in the State tournament, the crew pulled it off. Yesterday, on a Tuesday afternoon, the final game was played. Somehow our volunteers found ways to Allard Park at different intervals, despite all the ‘real life stuff’ found crammed into everyday. Folks just stepped in where help was needed, often times wearing multiple hats in the various roles. The house was full. The concessions were flowing. The field looked incredible. The sky was blue, and big, puffy white clouds gently glided across the blue expanse, being pushed by crisp, dry, clean air coming down from Canada. Pretty near perfect.

Finally, for the newer volunteers, I am not kidding when I say that we (Goffstown Babe Ruth) are known for a quality venue, a quality presentation, and a quality experience for all who enter through our gates. It’s not a coincidence that Allard Park has hosted more tournament games in the last 15 years, than anywhere in the state. It’s not even close. It’s because we have wonderful people, wonderful parents and support groups, who all care about doing it right, for whatever their reason may be. It shows. Trust me, it shows. Remember I wrote about IMPACT recently, well what an impact you all had on the state of Babe Ruth Baseball in the state New Hampshire over there two weeks. Thank you all. You are truly amazing. Simply the best.

Someday, From This Debt, I Hope I’m Never Free

Are you a parent? Did you have parents? Did someone ever give of themselves toward your betterment in such a way as to change your life? Do you owe anyone for the piece of them they gave, just for you? Have you even thought about this? Should you do something about it? Do you need a push in the right direction?

Well this is what I have come up with, so far.

As time rolls on, the memories start to fade, with their edges frayed, the vibrant colors wash out some, and the family unit bends but doesn’t break. Time removes me from the places where we once went about our daily life knowing only what was there, sheltered in our little world. Distance puts time in between us, even if we want otherwise. What was once just down the hall, now requires a plan, accounting for all. The sweet, trusted security only separated by a flight of stairs, is somewhere in the past, or at least not so easily found, or fast. The supported now strain to support, and one longs for it all, again to be the other way around. Examples ran across our view whether we watched or not, and it seems so many times now, the lesson I forgot. I recall the good, and the things I suppose I want to see, and how much love did it take for it, that way, to be. Then the age added up but the character never changed, just the love and lessons somehow rearranged. No one kept track, as it should be, but from this debt, I hope I never feel free.

We live. Hopefully we love. We wander but never lose center. We look back, I hope, more than we look down. We look ahead, I hope, never disconnected from the past. We help, I hope, remembering from where we came. We make time, I hope, because minutes are fleeting. We linger, I hope, how much has been vested in us. We leave, better than we found, I hope, for that’s how we were taught.

I think on this matter a lot. I wonder at times how much is left in the well. When I take stock I am always astounded at how much more there is to give. It is then that I know how it once felt for those who have come before me. Then if there’s a push I need, a shove I crave; I play this song (Kayla Reeves, TSO) and listen to the emotion that is impossible to keep from spilling over all within earshot. I stir in the message shared amid the words that roll into my own personal movie playing just behind the portals I use to see. And I am reminded that, from this debt, I hope never to be free.

SOMEDAY

He won the war, in a foreign land
That was no hero, that was my old man
And he came back home, where he met his wife
And he raised his kids, while he made a life
Now he never preached, though he always knew
And we watched him close, just to pick up clues
And sometimes late, in the dead of night
I can see him there, in the pale moon light
I am trying
And I don’t know how
And I don’t know when
But I’ll have to tell him someday

And as for this woman, my father wed
We knew we were loved, with the words unsaid
And when we were young she taught us all to read
And then one by one, she would watch us leave
Never saw her cry, for she hid her tears
As one by one, we would disappear
But of course we’d write, and of course we’d call
Just to hear her voice, whenever we would fall

I am trying
And I don’t know how
And I don’t know when
But I’ll have to tell her someday

So I wrote these words, and I hope they last
For the years have come, and the years have passed
Think of all they gave, think of all the debt
But can’t find a way, to repay them yet
For the days still come, and the debt still mount
And do words unsaid, ever really count
But sometimes still, in the dead of night
I can see them there, in the pale moon light

I am trying
And I don’t know how
And I don’t know when
But I’ll have to tell them someday

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Kayla Reeves with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Boston 2015

Try Kindness

A lot of people might refer to me as a grumpy old man, or maybe as a bear, and I do have my moments. Though, I have tried more consciously to pursue and deliver random acts of kindness. My favorite is to buy a Veteran their meal/coffee/snack at Dunkin’ Donuts. Perhaps it was just stopping to help someone shovel snow, or to clean the snow off of someone’s car. Maybe it has been giving of myself to, or for another, even when I didn’t want to, because it was a better thing to do. Most of all, it’s been about doing, simply because I could.

Check out this video I came across.