Something About a Basketball

April 14, 2011

Today’s Special: No special.

No burgers, no soup, no fish.

Eggs: lots of eggs. Have eggs.

It’s 6 p.m. Cold, breezy, and sunny.

There’ve been a long stretch of days when I’ve had nothing to write, and this is another one. But something about the clear cold sun, the sharpness of the air, the way the flags are laid straight out in the wind like sheets on a line, the dull roar of Lake Superior rolling into shore all day, makes me want to try anyway.

I walked through the town campground with Sallie after work, and on the way back I saw a basketball on the ground near the hoops, sitting alone at the edge of a little pool of snow. It looked like it was waiting for someone. I stopped and considered it. On one hand, I felt middle aged and not very limber, like someone who’d just eaten half of a corned beef Rueben that they didn’t really need half an hour before. But on the other hand—there’s something about a basketball, something bouncy and orange and fun.

When I was growing up we spent a lot of time trying to make baskets through a hoop nailed to the light pole that stood next to the granary. I realized as I stood there in the sharp Lake Superior wind that what I really wanted to do was try that again.  

I checked to see if anyone was looking, (and then scolded myself for checking, because who on earth could care?, but it was already done ).  It seemed like probably no one was, so I picked up the ball and threw it at the backboard and missed by a mile. The ball went rolling away and Sallie shot after it, barking with excitement. This happened over and over until after maybe twenty tries, I made a basket. Yes. Out of maybe another twenty tries I got four more baskets, and I felt—what? Victorious, athletic, and happy. Also fairly silly and still unlimber and middle aged, but not particularly concerned about any of that for the time being.

Category: After Work, Today's Special | Tags: , , , 6 comments »

6 Responses to “Something About a Basketball”

  1. maggie burbo

    smile…love the thought that, at our age, we can engage in simple activities that take us back…I love playing (and teaching) jacks to my students.
    I also love picturing you walking through the campground…our summer ‘home’ when we’re there!
    My 84 yr old mom and 85 yr old dad, who introduced Grand Marais to me, want to spend one more summer there. We’ll be arriving on July 17th…save a copy of your book for me…I’m looking forward to reading it! maggie

  2. ellenair

    Thanks, Maggie! I’ll look forward to seeing you in June…

  3. Gerry

    Here I am at the end of the post and I’m still listening to Lake Superior rolling in, making a person want to try anyway. I’m saving the basketball for later.

  4. ellenair

    : ) I like it.

  5. Kathy

    Ellen, your writing makes me want to buy your book. I’m only a quarter mile from the lapping shores of Lake Superior (OK, Huron Bay) Thanks for stopping by my blog for ginseng tea and honey way back at the end of March. :)

  6. ellenair

    Kathy, Thanks for such a sweet comment! I enjoyed my tea and honey… Ellen

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