A chip and a chair
Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. The future is uncertain but the end is always near… The Doors
I like the game of poker and there is a saying I have always been fond of- a chip and a chair. Basically, it just means that as long as you have at least a chip and a chair at the table you are still in the game. The odds may be heavily stacked against you, but there is still hope.
Dear readers of Rocky Mountain Way..Outside Coors looking in, I have some not so great news. The money for Baseball Across America has come to an end. It saddens me to have to even think of this post and for the last few days I didn’t even have the stomach to write it.
There are plenty of reasons why the money came up short and I am okay with every one of them. They each represented something and it was part of the journey. I would not have known my cat, who now resides with my parents, would need serious dental surgery and it would take a significant chunk of money. But I would never regret paying for it, because even if for a few moments of being around her, she brings love to so many. World meet Samantha.
So I missed more ball games and opportunities to meet new and interesting people. The joy she brings is worth more than all of that. Knowing she would be suffering while I was galvanting across America would never have sat well with me.
Maybe I bought one too many hot dogs or should not have taken in so many places to spend money, but that was part of the journey. Whether it was tipping a really cool beer enthusiast bartender who picked my brain about Colorado breweries, or a healthy tip for a tired ballpark vendor, it all added up. I wouldn’t want any of it back.
I don’t want to say that I am not saddened or upset at not being able to finish out the season, but in retrospect everything I did to get to this point is pretty damn crazy and satisfying in my book. I don’t know anyone else who sold, donated or disposed of %90 of their posessions, moved out of their home, became a nomad and decided to follow baseball.
People have asked with a sort of speculation what I would do after the money ran out, like I had a nice nest egg lying in wait ready to open and start life over again. I assure you that when I said I cashed in my 401k that puppy is gone, like the wind. So here I am. yet again jacking wifi from a business who puts out the strongest signal. I have no permamnent home and basically the Rockies Roadster and some friends and family to bounce around with for awhile. Still the open road calls to me with its allure.
I believe everything happens for a reason and I know I am here for some reason I am not yet aware of. Leaving Chicago, I was able to meet up with Jeff of RSBS and it was a “short” encounter in that I was not able to spend days with him, but the time was interestingly more meaningful then I think Jeff even understood. See, Jeff passed on a book to me that I read in two days flat. I read it with an overall understanding of the author and his ordeal, but I did not understand the impact it would have upon me. If Jeff did, then I think China imparted some wisdom on him that he is keeping up his sleeve.
That’s when I wondered, had I had even a momentary impact on any of the people I met along the way? Hearing stories and listening long enough to offer that person an opporunity to be heard. I always say that everybody has a story but people don’t often slow down long enough to hear it. I heard many and will be forever changed.
That’s where a chip and a chair comes in. I am still actively looking for a short time job opportunity that will allow me to launch yet again into the heart of America. Every ballpark had its own qualities and peoples and I know there is more yet to learn. My chip and my chair aren’t gone yet, but the odds are completely stacked against me.
I guess that’s where hope comes in yet again. Starting out on this crazy adventure, I wondered how America would receive me. Young, old, liberal, conservative, Cubs, Dodgers, what would I see? I can honeslty say that my belief in people is at an all time high. I won’t lie and say it’s not like a drug calling to me. The idea of one more road trip or one more amazing person to meet tears at me, but I have to work with what I have because as Mick Jagger loves to belt out, ” You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find. You get what you need.”
I am not exactly sure what it is I need, but I keep turning over rocks and turning pages in hopes of a clue or more of an answer. My father went to the hospital yesterday and I asked him how it went when he came home. “Terrible.” My first thought was the tests went bad and how bad was it. He explained how everything came to a stop as they rushed in a 92-year-old man into the emergency with a trauma one. He had shot himself in the head and would die 15 minutes later.
It hit me hard because I empathized with that man what it took to get to that point. He had probably lost all his friends, was probably in poor health and just had given up. It put all my sadness into perspective immediately. Yes, I wanted another shot at America, but at least I had the hope this poor man had lost.
I wondered if he had shed a tear at seeing the most beautiful fire fly in St Louis or had known the roar of the crowd at Wrigley? Had he driven the back highways of middle America and listened to a lively conversation about back yard groundhogs in a Dairy Queen. Mostly, I wondered if anyone had slowed down to listen to his story, because now it was too late.
Rocky Mountain Way will continue on. Should I find the money to restart this journey, I may be in a town near you. Until then be good to your neighbor because they are probably a lot more like you then you think. Hug a loved one because they may not know what you feel and the next time at the ballpark take it all in, not just in a hurried rush to get to your seat and kill time, but take it all in because you never know when it could all end.
LIke this sign in Nebraska said…