Hijacked

Stories from a Life I Didn't Plan

Month: September 2014

Let’s Go Out to the Ball Game!

Misc Photos 021One of my early childhood memories is going to a Little League baseball game with my grown up first cousin once removed to watch my second cousins play ball. Since the memories of the very young seem to be more impression and sentiment than fact and precision, I do not remember the details of why I was the only out of my three sisters who went, but I have a vague impression of watching little people move around out on a diamond and enjoying a grape flavored lollipop. Somehow this mere impression of an experience left a tally mark on the positive side of life experiences. So, when a friend asked me, a person wholly indifferent to professional sports, to go to a local professional baseball game, I unhesitatingly agreed.

Out of all of the organized sports in the world, I probably understand baseball the best. It is not nearly as distracting as football or basketball. For me, there are four people at the most that you really have to pay attention to at one time, and that is only when the bases are loaded. Just narrowing the field helps me focus on where the action is going to be so I don’t miss out on the exciting stuff people are going to be reporting about on television afterward.

Without knowing much about what I was getting myself into, I checked the weather and made the appropriate preparations I thought would make my game viewing a comfortable experience. My general impression before arriving at our seats was that we had special, reserved seats and wouldn’t spend the evening fending off the crowd, the vendors, or team fanatics. To anyone with knowledge of sporting events, the term “club suite” will mean much more than it did to me until we arrived. Not only was the club suite located almost perfectly behind the catcher (which even I could figure out provided a wonderful view of the game), but it was also a very nice glassed in box with theater style seats, a mini sink, a hotel room-sized refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, and plentiful catered game appropriate foods.

The entire evening was a delight! The only negative thing I might say is that I picked the worst time to leave the game and missed the only ball knocked out of the park all night. Murphy’s Law. I console myself with the knowledge that the homer was for the visiting team, but admit I still would have liked to have seen a professional ball player knock it out of the park in person.

However, this small disappointment was insignificant in the overall excitement of the evening. Jumbo hotdogs with condiments galore; wonderfully well-mannered suitemates; and an exciting baseball match made for a happy memory of a lifetime.

I may not have left the game with the taste of grape lollipop in my mouth, but even though I am not a true sports enthusiast, I left with the happy memory of another well-enjoyed and sweet baseball game experience.

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Children Are Refreshingly Honest

Young children are refreshingly honest. In their innocence they ask all kinds of uncomfortable questions of the grow ups around them. Working with five and six year olds on a daily basis, I have come to find great amusement in their unvarnished honesty. As children are developing their language and interpersonal skills, they can ask inconvenient questions or make unflattering observations with hilarious results.

One honest young lady asked one day if I had been crying, which can be a disconcerting prospect for a six-year-old. The teacher is not supposed to cry at school. Well, sometimes that teacher can have a cry on a difficult day. And on this particular day, not only had a had a lunchtime weep fest, but I had also forgotten to put on mascara. In a somewhat mendacious ploy both to allay her fears and put her curiosity to rest, I did explain that I had forgotten to put on mascara that morning while gently avoiding further discussion of whether or not I had been crying.

At the end of one long, full day with these uncensored little ones, I found myself gazing absently into a mirrored window while making a call from my classroom telephone. As I gazed at my mirrored image wondering how long it had been since I combed my hair, I realized all of a sudden that I was wearing two completely mismatched earrings. They were not even close to the same design or color. Howling with laughter, I realized this dangly mismatch had escaped notice all day by old and young alike.

I certainly do hope that means I had provided everyone with much more engaging things to ponder, rather than how I made it out the door that morning in this mismatched state. While they may be unobservant at times, I can unequivocally affirm that children are refreshingly honest.

Rewriting a Jane Austen Classic

Sometimes I contemplate rewriting a Jane Austen Classic to make all the characters meet with the poetic justice their comportment demands. Many Jane Austen novels, both print and celluloid versions, are old friends. I find familiar comfort in the oft read characters and settings that transport me to simpler times. I applaud the tidy neatness of how Austen sets her vain, proud characters in their place, but elevates her humble egalitarians. A fan of happy endings, I enjoy Austen’s neat denouements with the inevitable banishment of sadness and grief, which may even have been brought into the lives of characters by their own poor or selfish choices. Love and goodness always triumph.Rewriting a Jane Austen Classic

However, there is one detail in a much loved story that leaves my simplistic nature dissatisfied: in Sense and Sensibility, Miss Lucy Steele’s conniving nature pays off. She ditches Edward Ferrars, her diffident, disowned fiancé for his proud younger brother, gains the esteem (and fortune) of her new mother-in-law, and lives comfortably in spite of her self-serving machinations. I find that aspect of the novel difficult to accept, but all too parallel to life. I would like for such intrigues to utterly fail and yield absolutely no net result.

But, life isn’t like that.  So I guess Austen was right to let Miss Lucy Steele gain greater status and remuneration from her wealthy mother-in-law than the pious Miss Elinor Dashwood.

Actually, I do not think that Elinor would have minded the turn of events at all. In my reading of the story, Elinor’s  principal enjoyment in life was entirely independent of her income or situation. She found practicality, duty, honor, and commitment to be far greater wealth than capricious favor bestowed or withheld based on one’s performance. While noble and admirable, Elinor’s attitude would not have put food on her table or a roof over her head, so I am profoundly grateful that Colonel Brandon gave Edward Ferrars the living at Delaford and that Mrs. Ferrars relented and gave Edward and Elinor a small annual income to help them along. It was just enough to be comfortable and independent without being ostentatious or proud.

So all things considered, I guess Elinor’s lot in life was far superior to Lucy’s.

But, if I were rewriting a Jane Austen classic or creating an “Austenesque” novel of my life, I wonder if I would  write myself in as Lucy or as Elinor.

What about you?

Crows Like Cookies

IMG_1525On a trip to the Central Coast region of California earlier this year, I found myself near Hearst’s famed Castle at San Simeon. Opting not to repeat the historical tour of Hearst Castle, I browsed through the visitor’s center, stopping to take full advantage of the observation areas. After a leisurely walkthrough, admiring the lovely grounds and galloping zebras, I drove down toward the Sebastian Store in San Simeon.

In my preparation for my brief getaway, I had read about the Sebastian Store that offers sandwiches made with Hearst Beef. I decided it was definitely a site worth savoring. So, after standing in line and getting my Classic Beef sandwich, I headed down to the Hearst State Beach to sit at a picnic table and admire the view of the crashing surf while enjoying the local fare. As I soaked up sun, was lulled by the waves, and savored my classic sandwich, I took care to spook off the numerous birds attracted by my tasty lunch.

Not long after I began enjoying my lunch, I noticed the vehicle that had parked in front of my car at Sebastian’s had also pulled into the beach parking area. The driver hopped out and placed his to go box from Sebastian’s on the table before returning to the vehicle to retrieve something.

Intrigued by the box, a couple of crows took control of the table top in the diner’s absence. Watching from a safe distance, I assumed the driver would return before the crows could figure out how to open the box. Little did I know that there was a cookie in a white paper bag right next to the box! Much to my surprise, before I could startle the crows away one of them had grabbed the bag with its beak and carried it several feet before dropping it over a fence that separated the picnic area from the dangerous cliff above the ocean. Safely over the fence, the crow and its fellows could eat the cookie in apparent safety.

Chuckling at the ingenuity of the crows I reported the cookie’s loss to my fellow diner, who had returned with a second box of takeout food. Although one cookie down, my fellow diner seemed unconcerned and still seemed to have plenty to eat.

Who would have thought that crows like cookies!

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