The Last 23 Hours

Posted on August 18, 2003 by Sara Hickman. | Comments Off on The Last 23 Hours

Started when I noticed a bird yesterday, late afternoon. She was sitting in the middle of busy Sixth street. Cars were zooming down all around her, and I realized she had been struck by a car. Without hesitation, I told Lily I was going to stop the van, put on the hazards, and asked for her to stay in her car seat while I hopped out to save the pigeon. My van became a saving grace for me and this poor
injured friend.

She graciously allowed me to scoop her up between my hands. I held her softly, but firmly, and opened the back door, placing her into Lily’s waiting arms. We’ve saved these birds before. They always look stunned, and immensely confused, but thankful that they aren’t baking on blacktop with strange metal creatures blaring horns. They get sudden quiet, and two people singing calming songs…plus, the added bonus of air conditioning.

So, Bird came home and we placed her in our bathroom with fresh water and seed. A big yellow towel. She spent the night. She was missing some tail feathers, and had a red abrasion on her back. Her right wing seemed out of commission. But, as it always seems to go, this morning she had lighted in the bathroom window. She was ready.

One last time, she sat between my hands, and we wandered outside into the morning’s light. I put her up onto the roof of my van (we have four cats who were eyeing me, as if they knew what was out of the bag….)…She flew immediately, proudly, to a tree about twenty yards away. Free at last, strong
at last.

Then, to continue last night. we had our ritual of: dinner, playing our new family game of Slamwich! (which is really fun when our three year old yells, STOP THIEF! and slams her hand onto the deck of cards)… pajama time… brush teeth…go potty…read books (all four of us across the giant bed, pillows just right. The bed is getting smaller…how does this happen? Can’t they stay little forever???) …each parent carrying a sleepy eyed, yawning “I’m not tired” child to her bed…kissing on the cheek…the layering of sheets and blankets and the
nightly turning away…them from us as they head into sleep, us as we head to the door…but always turning back…”Just checking,” I say.

Next, it was off to softball. Our fourth game of the season. 9:15, all of us there; even the nighthawk is circling out on the field, waiting for me to watch in wonder.
It is a slow game. The other team, we’re told, is not very good. I have my suspicions, however, because their teamshirts sure look fancy. No body pays for team shirts that nice unless they’re serious! This means they get together and actually PRACTICE, in my book.

Yep, they are good. They are organized. They are kicking our patooties. Before we know it…8 – 2. But, for some reason, I feel the faith. I say a little prayer.
I know God is laughing. I say, Ok! I believe! We are going to win. I say to a few folks on the team: We are gonna win. Um. Uh-huh, they say. I start chanting that I believe! I believe! I’m hootin’ and hollerin’! I do a dance around my miniscule pitcher’s mound, which causes me to throw a ball. Not good. The catch says: No more little dances. She’s right. But I am dancing inside! We are sucking, but we are going to win! I FEEL IT! There is no doubt.

Sure enough. We win. We win 11 to 10, with 2 outs, our batter up…he has 3 balls and 2 strikes. And he gets walked!!!!!

I would have been the next batter up. (I was just chompin’ to hit, but there will be another time to hit.) I am smiling. I am elated! I walk with my fabulous team to thank the other awesome team for a good game. Cool. A night of glory
for all because how ASTOUNDING that we can bring metal and ball together, or walk to the base… or just have a nice, cold icy bottled water and laugh, laugh, laugh cuz it’s Sunday night and we are playing the All American game together: women and men and nighthawks and umpires and folks in the stand!

AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE. So, next time you want to go see a professional game…just remember, in every town…there are city teams playing…teams made up of your neighbors…and you can go out and cheer like the old days…for free!

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