Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grey Beard

I forced myself to take the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend off. My ambition is to be so lazy that I stop shaving, too, and my beard slowly fills out over the weekend.

Today I walk into the bathroom, ready to shower, looking in the mirror.

Something is missing.

I grin, 'Grey.'

I lean closer to the mirror.

'Yup. There they are.' I say softly to the mirror, chin jutting out for inspection, and I see a small patch of grey whiskers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hockey Babe

We see an attractive blonde woman at the top of the stairwell leading up to the first tier of the hockey stadium.

She smiles at us.

We smile back.

She asks, 'Would you like to buy some tickets? One for a dollar or seven for five.'

'What's the prize?'

She pinches the shoulder of her hockey jersey and shakes it gently, 'You win a hockey jersey like this one.'

'Do you come with the jersey?' My 73-year old uncle asks, smiling.

'Unfortunately not, but I'd sell more tickets if I did!'

I start laughing, impressed.

We walk away and I turn to my uncle, 'You don't care what you say anymore, do you?'

He beams up at me smiling, 'Not really.'

Uncle's got game.

'That was smooth!'

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Business and Football

Chris didn't talk.

I met him in the first grade, but everyone said he didn't talk. Teachers occasionally huddled over him, voices gentle and high pitched, encouraging him to speak.

He didn't.

So in the third or fourth grade, I sat next to him a few times, waiting. Finally, we talked a little. 'Smart guy.' I thought. 'Fast runner. Understands stuff.'

I store the information away.

My dad's soft hand, palm to the sky, is the scroll for the next football play. 'Ok, you do a 8-step button hook. Tim, you fake short and go long bomb. Hike on three, ok?'

I run with the button hook kid, pause, and go long. The ball is soon in mid air. My eyes glue to the wobbly spiraling nerf football, running over uneven terrain in our front yard. I watch the ball until it touches my fingertips. Out of mid air, it's mine. Score!

We all yell and holler, celebrating!

That fall in school, silent Chris joins us to play football in the playground. The popular kid is the captain and soon his buddies line up against Chris, myself, and other misfits.

I yell, 'Gwen, wanna play for our team?' My little cousin is fast, we could use her.

My palm faces up, my eyes peering into everyone's eyes on our team. 'Ok, those guys think that Jim is the best, ok? They're going to follow you. So Chris, sort of stall at the line and go long. Gwen, if someone follows Chris, get open, ok? Hike on two.'



The popular boys eyes glue to Jim. They follow. I don't look, but I am sure that silent Chris is smiling as he runs long, forgotten and alone.

I see Jim smothered by defense. I play the fake and yell, 'Gwen, you gotta get open!' The defense shifts and starts attacking me.

Arm back, I heave a wobbly arcing ball to the end zone where Chris is heading.

Everyone watches, slowing, many are curious where the ball is going.

Chris runs.

His hands extend, clutching the ball from mid-air and he scores!

I smile slyly, satisfied, and willing to run the play again and again until we crush the popular boys team.

Fast forward until now when I am determined to build my IT business and I feel a nostalgic sense of football coursing inside.

Palm up.

Eyes locked in to the eyes of my co-workers and business partners.

'Ok, if we do this, it's going to work, because the market is focused in a different direction.

'Seven AM tomorrow, ok?

'We're going to make a positive impression. I'm sure of it.'

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Drifting into Winter

Suddenly, it's cold.

Before I knew it, an early November rain gently swept most of the foliage off the trees.

My roommate rearranged the living room so the couch is perpendicular to the picture window. Now as I relax lengthwise on the couch, my television image is the natural setting outside.

I see a gentle breeze flutter dogged oak leaves. Steely blue clouds drift by that demonstrate the onset of cold. My toes feel cold, too. We are drifting into winter.

In my silent house, I hear the refrigerator motor and the oil furnace cycle as heat wafts up from the radiators. Occasionally I hear sounds from the road below.

The crisp air motivates natural reflection as daylight wanes and we all turn inside our homes to prepare for winter.

Six months ago, the oppressive and stifling heat was starting that would persist through the summer. Daily I drank necessary gallons of water while I sat and typed and launched my new business.

A year ago full of idealistic notions and underlying fear of being unemployed, I drove myself fiercely to carve out a living as an entrepreneur.

A year and a half ago, I worked for a company with a deep private resolve to gracefully break free on my terms.

Two years ago, I was engaged and my cats lumbered daily around my home.

Time passes.

New Hampshire will soon be blanketed in snow and many of us will huddle beneath quilts with hot cups of tea in our hands.

And some, like myself I am sure, will launch ourselves into freshly fallen snow and brave the immediate chill that leads to slowing breath and the sound of ones heartbeat and the security of winter's frosty embrace.