living well

Pickling Along

Today was a red letter day in the annals of pickle ball. Today my wife, my very own wife who despises exercise, actually met me at the courts and played the game of the hour.

To my surprise she played well, using a strong backhand, a stroke she doubtlessly developed during the years of whacking her two bull-headed sons upside their respective heads. Unfortunately, the game requires accuracy in placing the ball where the opponent ain't and for that the backhand is not the best stroke. But she learned and gave me two good games; one went to ten—ten.
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GET YOURSELF INTO THE PICKLE

Frank Crocitto - Pickle Ball

So I goes to my neighbor to see if he's got a pry bar so's I can pry something and he ain't got no pry bar but he sez to me like he's a hen that's been sitting on an egg all day and just can't wait to ask somebody this: D'ya evah hear o' pickle ball?

Now me, whats played baseball and basketball and stickball and hockey (on skates and off) and futball—which is what they call  soccer in Italy and such places which don't know no better—and real trueblue football and handball and tennis and volleyball and kick-the-can-running-bases and plain old kick-the-can and punchball and slapball and a lotta other things and so on and so forth and etcetera, I think to myself: Me?!! Me??!! never heard of a game? What kinda game could it be if I never heard of it? You know how your mind goes when it's too stupid to realize it's not the center of the universe. Besides what the heck kinda game that's worth playing goes around with a moniker like pickle in its name? The only name dumber than that of the games I ever heard of that ain't got no dignity to it is that dopey game called Monkey-in-the-middle. Right?

So I sez to my neighbor with all the distance and looking-far-down-the-schnozz disdain jest like I'd taken a big bite outa a very very sour pickle like used to come in a barrel in a Jewish deli I used to frequent on Second Avenue—when Second Avenue was Second Avenue. "No, I never heard of it," sez I, ready to drop the whole matter and go somewhere else for a pry bar. But my neighbor jest smiles and acts like he didn't hear the tone my voice was taking and the way my legs are turning my whole body around like two greyhounds that are gasping and tugging to take me home. And he sez without taking time to spit, "I tell you what: let's go see Rick."

Rick? I think to myself. I don't have the time to go see Rick.
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JUST PEACHY

Sometimes a person gets sick and tired of reading and writing the same old acceptable tripe. Sometimes a person wants to break out and set something down that is really true. Sometimes a person tries.

I mean undeniably true—so undeniably true that even when people are denying it, by mind or mouth, or laughing it to scorn they know it's true, and you and your brother know it's true, and the ubiquitous Greek chorus always hovering in the background knows it's true.
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JULY 7, 2009

Another birthday. For someone who thought he'd never make it past thirty I'm doing pretty good. A birthday. And it wasn't just any old birthday, it was a lulu. My wife, who is the woman of my dreams, kicked it off with a spontaneous expression of her love, her passionate love, for me. Then—would you believe it?—breakfast in bed (eggs done perfectly). Then, while the world holds its breath, in that delicious early afternoon quiet, I exude a story. It comes so easily it hardly seems to be written.
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Swinging in the Rain

A summery spring day was sinking to its knees. No rain for once. I'm alone. My wife is off again to see her brother who is inching his way to the grave—in hospital and out. So alone I go to an end-of-term, end-of-program, beginning-of-life celebratory art exhibit at the college up the hill.

Dressed up (so as not to embarass the young lady who so kindly invited me to this culmination of her Master of Fine Arts' effort) and trudging (after a sticky, dragging, wearisome day) breathing heavy now, moving like sludge uphill, I reach the hall spilling over with the aimless stir of many people of culture and cultivation pondering art work on wall, ceiling and floor.
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