O Lord, so thankful for a fabulous time in Indiana’s Brown County State Park with the entire Phillips clan. But OMG, if we grow any more, the next time, we might break the bridge!
O Lord, I can hardly believe it! Shopping for my granddaughter’s freshman dormitory supplies? But thank You our three generations did it together.
She seemed to have a good time with her sweet mom — even, OMG, with her misbehavin’ grandma.
T-ball, the kiddie variation of baseball, didn’t exist when my husband and I were kids. Instead, we played neighborhood softball. I discovered my talent for missing flies. Hubby learned to hit the ball — when new eyeglasses revealed its existence.
Thank goodness, our five-year-old started his baseball career with T-ball and a caring coach.
Most of the team managed to hit the ball, yet challenges abounded. Four-year-olds who had not learned to count demanded seven strikes. Batters chopped as if cutting wood. The tee, instead of the ball, flew into the air. Confused fielders stared. Were they were supposed to catch and throw this thing to first base? Napping outfielders found a hurtling ball a nuisance. One future ballerina at shortstop practiced pliés as it whizzed past.
Though everyone wanted to tag the batter out. Can you say, “gang tackle”?
Eventually, our son left T-ball behind for competition in which nobody took naps. Nobody practiced pliés.
Where was the fun in that? While I celebrated his Little League team’s championship, I missed T-ball’s creativity.
Fast-forward three decades. Again ripe with sunblock, bug spray and pride, I anticipated another T-ball game.
He joined a flock of pint-sized ballplayers wearing shirts that reached their knees, shorts that reached ankles, and hats that reached noses. Fielders lifted mitts half their body weights. Our son, the assistant coach (aka crowd-controller) walked players to positions, as some might get lost. He and the head coach demonstrated catching, throwing and hitting.
T-ball, like everything else, had become educational. That’s good.
My heart warmed, though, when an outfielder picked daisies. This pitcher jitterbugged rather than doing pliés, consumed with the joy of playing. The brave assistant coach refereed fielder pileups.
Having inherited his father’s early baseball passion, our grandson had been smacking it off a tee since he learned to walk.
“He’s a better player than I was,” our son admitted during a family Zoom session.
“A great trend,” his grandfather said. “Your dad was better than I. You were a better player than he. Now, your son’s even better.”
“Someday,” I interjected, “I’ll look down from heaven and watch our descendant in a Cubs uniform.”
Fun to project our dreams on future descendants.
But do such extravagant visions rival T-ball’s fun?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you attended a T-ball game lately?
Television weather experts give us blow-by-blow advice, yet anyone knows that when lightning rips the sky apart, watching TV is risky. While tornadoes flatten Starbucks nationwide, viewers plaster noses to TV screens. They may fry or be blown to Oz, but they’re informed.
Once aware of severe weather, we should stop watching weather experts.
They never tell us that.
The bold sit outside, counting lightning hits in their yards. Some attempt the photo that will appear on TV. News flash: Lightning may agree to a selfie with you, but you won’t like the results. Storm chasers may not enjoy making its acquaintance, either.
Did you know that according to The Weather Channel, men are six times more likely to be struck by lightning? Wives insist it’s because they never put their dirty socks in the hamper. However, the article ( https://weather.com/health/news/lightning-kills-more-men-women-20130805) suggests men’s favorite leisure activities — fishing, boating, camping, golf and soccer — make them favorite targets.
Ladies endanger themselves for social reasons, e.g., talking on landlines during thunderstorms. Determined brides risk lighting up entire wedding parties like marquees. And let mere funnel clouds change their romantic venues? Never!
I’ve avoided most feminine scenarios. However, Hubby, who preaches togetherness while camping, ensures that I get up close and personal with storms.
Once, while setting up camp as lightning sizzled around us, he yelled, “Hold up those tent poles. Higher. Higher!”
Maybe he’d taken out life insurance on this human lightning rod?
A tip for grandparents: don’t babysit during storms, as what worked in “The Sound of Music” won’t work for you. Grandkids won’t sing “My Favorite Things.” They will not sleep. You won’t, either.
Their snickering parents, miles away, will.
Finally, while God may not take offense to references about His moving furniture in heaven or bowling with angels, we probably shouldn’t yell at Him, as Lieutenant Dan did in “Forrest Gump.” Again, what worked for Gary Sinise might not work off film.
The Psalms state that God rides the wings of the storm. His improvement on a roller coaster?
While He grants weather experts ingenuity to guard our safety, God doesn’t plaster His nose to the TV to receive Doppler reports. He can calm the worst storm with “Peace, be still,” (modern translation: “Knock it off!”).
I’ll always consult Him first.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you react to storms?
O Lord, You recall how my mom begged me to practice piano, but finally gave up and allowed me to quit lessons. Thank You that my daughter didn’t cave — and, OMG, her boys make wonderful music!
Once upon a time, a grandma pondered how to bond with her teen grandchildren. Neither she nor Grandpa were into Super Smash Bros.™ or Korean rap groups.
Then Grandma envisioned a blue-sky, summer day, when they would pick strawberries together. Afterward, she and Grandpa would reward their darlings with lunch out. Then Grandma would bake the perfect strawberry pie for dessert. The grateful grandchildren would visit every week forever.
Driving to their home on the blue-sky day, Grandpa said, “You think they’re awake?”
“Of course,” said Grandma. Privately, she wondered how many times they’d hit snooze.
Whoa! Their granddaughter immediately opened the door. Her brothers, also fully dressed, stood behind her. All were silent, eyes shut.
On the way, Grandpa whispered, “Is this the Morning of the Living Dead?”
In the enormous Yuppie U-Pick patch, berries looked as if they had been polished. Clumps of pickers in designer clothing dotted the pristine landscape.
A lifelong addiction to fresh fruit blinded Grandma to prices. Un-bedazzled Grandpa, however, emphasized picking limited amounts — unless they wanted to spend the grandkids’ college fund.
To the grandparents’ delight, the Living Dead picked like the hardworking kids they were. Despite steamy heat, boxes filled quickly. They talked and smiled. When Grandma was funny, they chuckled.
Eventually, though, Grandma heard subtle hints like: “Um, this box is full,” and “I’ve shriveled into jerky.”
Hadn’t they ever heard of strawberry fields forever?
Nevertheless, if she wanted a happy-ever-after, they’d have to quit.
Grandma helped organize the exit: “Kids, you carry the 70 pounds of strawberries. I’ll carry your water bottles.”
However, she forgot hers and searched the patch, “I think it was this row — the one with the strawberries.” Meanwhile, the teens suffered sunburn, and Grandpa forked over their college fund.
The reward lunch took place at a restaurant run by sloths.
Weary Grandma cheated by buying store-bought crusts, something no respectable storybook grandma would do. She found an easy recipe on whats-an-oven.com.
The pie’s juices overflowed, and clouds of smoke billowed throughout the house. Would the neighbors call the fire department?
Having thrown open windows to suck in oxygen, everyone sat down to soupy pie with crust hard as a sidewalk. Not a storybook ending.
Grandpa whispered, “Oh, well. If they visited every week, we’d have to clean the house and be good role models.”
Before they left, though, Grandma and Grandpa received over-the-top hugs.
Who could wish for a sweeter happy-ever-after than that?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have your storybook plans ever gone up in smoke?
O Lord, You gave both these guys a similar talent for strategy, a gene entirely missing from my makeup. The crafty, older man wins at chess every time. But OMG, maybe the bright little brain will calculate a win sooner than Grandpa expects?
During the COVID shutdown, Hubby and I discovered weird vandals had swathed our garage light with dead tiger lily leaves.
“You never know how quarantine boredom will affect some people,” he said.
Eventually, we discovered Courtney, a robin, wasn’t bored. She was constructing a nest.
She and Jason, her mate, must have flunked Nestbuilding 101. Their shapeless leaf pile dangled halfway to the ground.
No eggs or nestlings fell. Still, we felt sorry for the hardworking couple. Hopefully, they’d consult a new architect before trying that blueprint again.
“Looks like we hung shrunken heads on the garage,” I observed.
Eventually, the robins’ mess toppled.
Instead, Courtney and Jason built another amorphous mound of lily leaves, topped by a tipsy nest.
We held our breath as Courtney settled in. Don’t lean to the right! Or left! No heavy lifting. Raise your feet so they won’t swell!
Courtney took on a new-mama look: frazzled and frumpy, with missing feathers she’d worked into her nest. She probably couldn’t stand Jason, debonair in his neat, black-and-red suit. You did this to me!
Still, Jace babysat eggs and brought food to his grouchy spouse.
We grandparents-to-be grudgingly admitted the garage-light choice made sense. Under an overhang, the birds escaped bad weather. A perfect distance from the ground and roof, their abode protected them from interested neighborhood cats.
Those kids were smarter than we thought.
For Courtney, 14 days on the nest probably seemed like 14 years.
Then, it happened.
Hubby yelled, “Jason’s pecking at the nest!”
Our worry changed to celebration. Three tiny, wide-open beaks clamored for Daddy Jason’s tasty victual.
We did the Grandma-and-Grandpa Dance.
Unsure of their gender, we named the babies Ellie, Nellie and Belly — the last, the pushiest at dinnertime.
Their parents, making 100 trips a day to find food, didn’t care about their children’s preferences: “What, you think this is McDonald’s? Eat!”
They did. A lot.
Soon, they crowded the nest as if in the back seat of a VW Beetle. Before long, the triplets left home.
Impossible! A little sad. But even nasty viruses couldn’t banish our smiles as we witnessed that shiny, brand-new life. How glad we were that Courtney and Jason moved into our neighborhood!
Though, about that nest blueprint, kids. Maybe you should check out different ones the next time?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have birds squatted on your property?
O Lord, You know that once upon a time, this beautiful little girl invited me to Grandparents’ Day. The happy ever after is that she’s grown into a beautiful young woman, inside and out. But OMG, can’t we replay the story a few dozen times?
O Lord, all the trouble on Planet Earth must break Your heart, too. But OMG, a single smile from a four-year-old T-ball player reminds me You are still present in this world!