I surprised myself twice this morning. Before 9:00 in the morning, if you can believe that. Gosh, who knows what the rest of the day will bring?
I started the morning having coffee with my wife before she headed off to work, then finished a second cup during a call to my parents up in Ohio.
I remember the days of “x number of cents per minute” calling, but thank goodness that’s in the past. Now we just pick up the phone and call. Or Facetime. I love technology when it works, and I’m happy to say it works pretty often. That’s cool.
Where was I? Oh, surprising myself.
I hung up with my folks, and decided that…here comes the first surprise…I needed to take a walk. Seriously.
I’m one of those people who (ahem) doesn’t have time to exercise regularly. I need to do this. That project over there is calling me. Let me do this first. What’s the weather look like? Blah, blah, blah.
I also struggle with the need to get myself in shape before I go to the gym, but that’s another story.
Anyway, I pulled on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt (it’s a wonderful 68 degrees here in north Alabama this morning), tied my shoes, and headed out.
There was a light mist in the air, but nothing serious, and the sky didn’t look threatening. As it turned out, I got home just fine. Getting soaked wasn’t the second surprise.
No, that came as I rounded the last corner while headed for home.
Now, here in my community, we collect garbage two ways. The first is weekly, and it involves a garbage can from one’s house and a truck from the landfill. Pretty standard stuff. The second, though, is what my family calls, “Big Garbage.”
People put stuff on the curb, and a small caravan comes by once a month to collect it. The “stuff” might be tree trimmings, old furniture, broken small appliances, or bagged yard waste. There are a few restrictions, but not many. The caravan involves a truck with a scooper (okay, I don’t know what it’s called; it’s one of those claw things) followed by another truck or two that actually transports the junk.
Needless to say (yet he says it anyway), sometimes people throw away some pretty cool stuff.
Back to my walk. I was nearly home, rounding the last curve, when I saw it: A Croquet Set. Right there by the side of the road! Clearly it had seen little use, but also clear was the fact that it hadn’t been stored well. There were only two mallets with the set, but all four balls were there. The wickets were still shiny white, but some were badly bent in strange ways. The stand thingy was broken, but it’s not part of the game so that’s not too bad.
I wanted it. I needed it.
I could picture the scene. My wife and I, probably with our granddaughters, would be playing a game of croquet on the lawn. My daughters and their husbands would be sitting nearby on the patio, sipping tea as they waited their turn for a pass through the wickets. The birds would be chirping, the breeze would be blowing, and the evening sun would be filtered through the trees, throwing a dappled pattern of light and shade across the grass.
I wanted it. I needed it.
And I left it. Sometimes–just sometimes–I really do surprise myself.