Willie

Willie could run like the wind and hit like a man outweighing him by 75 lbs.

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

I had the privilege as a boy and man to witness perhaps the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I never watched him in person, but, I saw him numerous times on first black and white and later, color t.v.

Willie Mays had a swing that was unique amongst all the other players I have watched. It was as fluid as any I have ever seen. It involved an elegant sweeping arc. The stroke was in essence a single piece of precision and power that produced the most remarkable hitting I’ve ever watched.

John Shea and Willie tell a wonderful story about Willie in their book, 24. Warren Spahn was extremely difficult to hit. One cold, windy night in San Francisco, he took the Braves into the 16th inning of a start against the Giants. He had allowed no runs. The same was true of the San Francisco…

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Davy Crockett, a Memory

Yet another painful incident…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

I was about nine years old. I was shaped like a basketball. I didn’t bounce as well.

It was the era of Disney’s t.v. series and movies about Davy Crockett. They were extremely popular. I sure loved the series.

I had a Davy Crockett style, coonskin cap. If I wore it I looked less like a basketball.

I was chasing a “possum” up a tree a la Davy in my vivid imagination seeking lunch. Given my unusual weight for a nine year old a branch broke and I landed on my back in proximity to my posterior diaphragm.

On landing I was completely breathless given the force of the fall. The only thing in my life more painful than that moment in the 50s was about 35 years later when I was held at gunpoint.

As Gump suggested a few years later, life is full of surprises.

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A Very Instructive Incident

Michel De Montaigne, a 16th century, prominent French philosopher, noted that the “greatest thing in the world is to know how to be yourself.”

I would venture the first question you must answer is, who are you? From a believer’s perspective, only God truly knows you.

I think the difficulties He allows in your life are meant in part for you to understand yourself better.

I was held at gunpoint in 1989 and prayed through my dialogue with the gunman. I found, though fearful, I had the wherewithal to remain calm. By the grace of God the gunman and his getaway man left without me after I gave them the pizza I was carrying home as well as all the money on me.

The whole episode helped me learn about myself. It was quite painful. But it was also instructive.

Yes, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are, life is no cakewalk. There are some critical lessons for each of us. This one helped me to be more myself having learned more about myself. I had more courage than I thought I had, thank God. Among His infinite attributes, He is the great encourager.