A chip and a chair

Day 174

 

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.

 

DSCN0497.JPGSo 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…

DSCN0485.JPG

33 Comments

Oh man Tom, what an incredible post. You brought tears to my eyes. I really really hope you can find a job soon, and get back on your journey. Everything does happen for a reason, and hopefully this will make you stronger. Still praying for you man…
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Kaybee- Thank you so much for your prayers and your support. You wrote an excellent blog and just shows how mature and excellent your writing is. I hope to get back to posting and will be dropping in soon to see how Unfinished Business is looking overall.
-Tom

When I read that sentence that your money ran out, I got a little teary eyed since I was so looking forward to catching a game with you. I’m incredibly sad that your journey has ended without you getting to San Diego. But things happen that are beyond our control. One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I’ll get to Colorado for a game or you’ll get to Chicago again. And I promised you a game, and I never break a promise. You still have a game ticket from me. You said you wonder if you had an impact on anyone you’d met along this journey. Well, you had an impact on someone you haven’t yet met because following you along this journey of yours where you gave up basically everything to live out your dream made me realize that I can live my dream too. Good luck, Tom. You’ve always got a friend in Chicago. And by the way, your cat is absolutely adorable. :)
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Jen- Not making San Diego to meet up with the triple threat of bloggers out there was a huge disappointment for me too and I know it would have been great times. I know you will do the Sox proud when you get back to the windy city and thank you for all you have offered not only on my blog, but the great posts you have put out too.
-Tom

Tom – while I am saddened that your current journey has ended, I am reminded that that is what life is. It is a series of starts and stops and none of us ever knows exactly how this crazy journey will end. Today? I am going to see my oldest son take a huge step in his “long” 14 year old life; he has his last day of middle school and officially becomes a high school student – with all the happiness and sorry and worry that it brings. Each chapter that unfolds is a new adventure for us to discover. Oh yes Tom – you have made a huge impact on all of us who have followed your journey and on all the people you met along the way. And one of the best parts of life? Is never knowing where that next friend we will meet will be. My heart breaks for the man your dad encountered in the hospital; we as a society let him down. We all need to do more of what you do Tom – reaching out and making friends. God Bless Tom! You are an inspiration to us all! You have a friend in Boston.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Julia- You are such an assett to not only MLBLogs but humanity in general. Thank you so much for not arguing with Jane in the last support group and being the awesome BoSox fan you are. Bringing up Robert Frost took me aback because that was my single favorite piece of writing growing up. You picked the perfect piece but you know how to get results : )
-Tom

I understand the “401K” situation all too well.
I got laid off June 15, 2008 and have been looking for something in my mold profession, not branching out because the money would come fast and furious where I would have had to start on the bottom again in another industry.
I respect and understand totally the elimination of person effects and making your life so simple it reads like a dime novel.
What is that old saying?, Oh, this too shall pass.
You will be back on the road again maybe in 2010 to hit some of the spot you could not in 2009.
One year will not ruin the moment but will keep you motivated to regain your journey.
Hope for the best with your feline friend. I am a dog person myself, but I understand the family member pull of a pet being like a younger child of yours.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Big C, you have the wisdom of a true fan and the Rays have an awesome blogger in the house. You are right. I am motivated to do bigger and better things and thank you for all your support. Writing is my love and I will continue to do just that. I hope to make it to that sunny state of yours sooner than later and swap some baseball stories. I know you’re holding back on some good ones.
-Tom

Best of luck to you man. I can be a very emotional girl and I have teardrops in my face right now, which is something that’s rare for me. Your incredible journey across America has inspired so many people not just in blogosphere, but everywhere you went. But unfortunately, it has come to an end and it is time to move on. In life when someone reaches to the finish line in one course, the result is what it is. Taking a big step in life can be heartbreaking, exciting or upset. I definitely know how you are feeling since I flipped to a new chapter already. I am same age as Julia’s oldest son and moving towards high school as well. Another chapter will wait and I pray that it will be a very positive one for you.
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Hyun Young you yourself are an inspiration to anyone looking to not only be a great baseball fan but a great writer. Coming to America, learning a completely new language and mastering it to where you can get your thoughts about your favorite team across is an accomplishment in itself. Thanks for your thoughts and I like I told Jen I wish I could have met some really awesome Padre fans before it was all said and done.
-Tom

As I logged in to write this comment, I was thinking so hard about what to say that I forgot my password. A few minutes later, I still don’t know what to say.
You already know how jealous I am of you, that you got to do what I’ve wanted to do since I started following baseball. You inspired me to make my life, not just wait for my life. You tolerated my incessant talking for two games and I’m still not sure how.
I know you’ll figure it out. You wonder if you’ve had an impact? Think about not only those of us commenting, but everyone who’s been lucky enough to meet you. As some smart person once said, “Don’t be so quick to await the destination when you have the journey.” You’ve just found yourself a new journey.
Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com
Also: your cat is adorable.

Lol your comment made me laugh and who couldn’t use a good laugh. Incessant talking, great word, and funny comment. Sure you like to talk but you had some great stories and your love for the Rockies and Houston was awesome to be around. You know more in the short years of following baseball than a lot of people who claim to follow it for years. You’re gonna be an awesome addition to the crowd at Coors and you got some pipes on you, so I’ll always know where Kylie is sitting : ) If I’m driving around Denver I’ll be weary of a crazy driver like yourself, but you’ll make it up to society somehow I’m sure. Thanks for being awesome.
-Tom

Hey Tommy.
I sat at my computer for like ten minutes trying to think of what to say to you that hasn’t already been said. The words started getting all… jumbled like… in my brain and I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was I wanted to say to you. So instead, I took things that have been said and put them here.
I recently watched the movie the Kung Fu Panda, and in it, there’s this turtle and he says, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.” I’m sure I didn’t have to watch a cartoon to hear that saying, but it makes me think of you. On this journey, you’ve treated everyday as a gift, lived every moment, and I can only hope that we should all be so lucky. It’s unfortunate to hear about the man your father encountered in the hospital, that he no longer believed that everyday was a gift. Perhaps this will teach us to respect the lives and stories behind every person, to reach out to the stranger. After seeing your cat, it made me think of that poster of the cat hanging on the tree and he’s like, “hang in there, baby!” Well, hang in there, baby. You’ve already done some amazing things, and you’ll continue to do wonders out there.
When I graduated high school, like just about every other high school, “Oh! The Places You’ll Go” came up. If that book were applied to your life, you’d probably be at the part that reads, “Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t, because sometimes you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true. That bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.” Tom, there will be bumps in the road, clearly, you’ve encountered some, but in the end, trust me when I say, kid, you’ll move mountains.
Sorry that I wrote like… a novel.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Emily the cool thing about your novel comments are they are worth reading and meaningful. Your a great blogger and thank you for being part of the support group too. It wouldn’t be Emily if it was short and sweet. The allure of your blog is you put it all out there and the ride is fun. Still got half a season to go so I promise not to blame it on the Korean if we lose but let’s raise some voices and cheer the Rox on. Who knows maybe we’ll catch the Dodgers and shock the big markets and show em some boys from Colorado can play.
-Tom

Tom, I’m sorry to hear that your baseball oddysey has come to a (temporary) end. I say temporary because, as others have pointed out, life itself is a journey. I am sure that Baseball Across America will be an ongoing story, maybe not told all at once, but one that will have new chapters written when least expected. Good luck to you in finding employment, and if you are ever in the Philadelphia area I’d love to buy you a beer at a ballgame. I’ll still be following your blog to see where your journey takes you.
Take care!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Sue- I look forward to a beer in Philly, unless it’s like St. Louis and $7.75 then it’s just crazy and I will refuse on principal alone : ) Thanks for following and the support. You’re right it’s not the end just a timeout.
-Tom

Hi, Tom. Just heard the news about your trip having to be put on hold. I have no doubt that you’re feeling down and defeated, but you seem like such a resilient person. Brave too. I know you’ll bounce back and continue on with your dream whenever the time is right. No question about it – or you – whatsoever!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Joan err Jane thank you. Thank you for chiming in on the support group and the belief in someone you don’t even know. Even an established author like yourself had to overcome obstacles in doing what you do and it’s helpful to know you can still succeed. Hope the California skies are shining bright on Santa Barbara.
-Tom

Tom,

Though I haven’t commented on your blog many times, I do read them very closely. I feel happy when I read your blog because of the excitement that you put into them. Thought I am sad that your journey has termporarily ended, I have a couple of words for you. Remember that how you rebound from something like this is how you will be remembered. I know as strong as you are, you will have no problem rebounding here and you will come back stronger then ever. Like you said, put life into perspective, people are in worse situations then yourself, and live life. I know you will be strong in your search for a job and home, and I’m glad family and friends are helping. You have all of my luck from the bottom of my heart and I pray that you succeed in finding your way out of this.

From a friend in New Jersey,

Doug

Doug- very well put. You are so correct in the how you will be remembered. You put it in a way that hit me directly and thank you for that. I plan to continue writing and rooting on our boys and it’s awesome to know there’s a friend in Jersey rooting for me. Thanks again for the sincerity.
-Tom

As Tupac said, “Ya gotta keep ya head up”. Lucky for you, Tom, you got a good head on your shoulders. I believe the impacts we leave on the world, on people, aren’t always visible, but ya gotta be confident that they’re there, ‘cuz they are. Trust me. I’m right on this one. Aron Ralston had the good/bad misfortune of seeing himself possibly gone from this earth. He rallied, made sacrifices and learned something along the way, thus proving that the human spirit is impenetrable and undying. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and whether that means taking a breather or rallying to regain steam, human will is a powerful, powerful tool.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff, I think tupac stole that loop but since he’s dead he’s forgiven. Thanks again for the book. I’m actually planning to read it again here pretty quick. I’m back with some regular internet so I look forward to checking in with RSBS and looking for ya in the crowd at Busch for the all-star. You lucky guy you. And never forget Dessert CAN make you happy.
-Tom

Tom I’m sorry to hear your journey had to end, but meeting all those people and getting your cat and seeing all those games, and going across america, You have to feel sense of accomplishment. Thanks I loved reading it and I still will read your blog! good luck, Johnny

http://13mlb.mlblogs.com/

Thanks Johnny, I do feel a huge sense of accomplishment in one sense for all that I was able to take in. Sad it couldn’t be more, but happy and thankful for all I got. Thanks for the support and I’ll keep posting to stay in the game.
-Tom

First – WE MISS YOU!!!!!

Second – I hope you are okay! :-)

Third – Congrats on being #27 on the Latest Leader’s List!

Come back soon!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Hi, Tom …

Sorry to hear that your “Baseball Trip Across America” has taken a little detour … But, in a sense, your journey has not ended, as you are back in Colorado to follow your team, the Rockies, who have been playing well and still have a very good shot at making the playoffs as the wild card team !!! … Hey, even though the Dodgers have the best record in baseball as of July 3rd, winning the NL West is still not totally out of the question for the Rockies !!! … So, your journey really “continues”, and is on hold in Colorado for the moment !!! … You are home, Tom … Just consider this part of the trip as an “extended home stand” until your next road trip begins, maybe, some time in the second half of this year, or, in 2010 … But, your trip will surely continue !!! … Like you said in your above post, Tom, “you believe everything happens for a reason and you know you are here for some reason you are not aware of yet” … Well, maybe, your journey has brought you home to reflect on all the wonderful experiences you had on the first part of your trip; and, this will be your inspiration to write a book about all your adventures up to this point, and, also, your thoughts and experiences the rest of this year as you follow the Rockies on their quest to make the post-season in 2009 !!! … In addition to writing about your experiences, you can revisit your goals, and also write about, your future plans on your “Baseball Trip Across America” !!! … Elizabeth of “The Future Blog of the Red Sox”, has a quote on her latest post that states something to the affect, “if we are going to dream at all, then, we need to dream big” … Well, Tom, you have dreamed big; and, you achieved a lot !!! … Another famous quote from some unknown author sums up many of our attempts at striving for goals and dreams in our lives:”Shoot for the moon, ’cause even if you fall short you still will be among the stars.” Tom, your dream has not ended, it is only now transferred to a different venue; and, you are among all the stars here at mlblogs; maybe even our biggest star !!!
.
Take care, Tom; and, enjoy the Holiday weekend !!!
And, May God Always Bless All Your Efforts !!!
.
Best Wishes and Good Luck,
– Jimmy 27NYY Curran, “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Jimmy C, I thank you for your idea on rankings and dedications because it inspired me to jump back on the computer and crank out another post. Thank you also for your inspiration and kind words. You always have the most in-depth comments and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Jimmy C. And yes this may be an extended home stand and will be happy and appreciative for all the baseball I am blessed to see.
-Tom

Heyo. I’m going to be posting Rockies more often. I couldn’t stand Hurdle’s managerial decisions. When he was replaced, i started watching again. :p

I’m becoming a Colorado citizen next year anyway after passing domicile, so I better be watching the rockies.

http://taleoftwoleagues.mlblogs.com

I’m not sure Hurdle was responsible for all the woes of the Rockies, but that’s the great thing about MLBlogs is we can disagree and still put out an opinion. I glad the Rockies are getting another fan and I’m sure if you watch ‘em long enough they’ll grow on your heart like a lot us Coloradoans..
-Tom

I’m sorry to hear that your journey has come to an end Tom, and I hope your cat is OK. I enjoyed reading about your trip and all of the interesting people you met, and all your insights into your beloved Rockies. Good luck in whatever it is you decide to do from now on!-Erinp.s.: Sorry, I wanted to post this comment a lot sooner, but I’ve been having computer problems :(http://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Erin thank you for being part of Timeout and a great blogger. I was enamored with your style very soon after reading and it’s a compliment I’ll take to hear you enjoyed reading my blog. And I won’t hold any computer problems against you : )
-Tom

That was a great post Tom. It’s always great reading what you have on your mind at this blog.
-Dillon
http://dillonm.mlblogs.com

Thanks for dropping in Dillon and the compliment. It’s very much appreciated. I hope to keep writing for as long as I can find internet access.
-Tom

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