I looked at a ball that sat on the coffee table. Bright yellow and just the right size for my mouth, that ball kept telling me to play a game of “fetch” with the Geezer. The Geezer’s grand-daughter, Natalia, had used it on her visit. They call it a softball, though the few times I’ve been able get it in my mouth it didn’t feel soft to me. Natalia, is learning the game they play with it, which, strangely enough, is called “softball.”
Normally, just standing close to the old boy will start a fetch session if there’s a ball present. I prefer that the Geezer ask me to play. Let me rephrase “play” to “beg.” We canines must keep those humans in their place. This time it didn’t work. He ignored me, staring into space, his mind obviously wandering off to some never-never land that old farts visit occasionally. The serene look on his face told me it was a place pleasant.
I nosed his thigh and looked at the ball. Still no effect. Finally I had to say, “Hey, earth to the Geezer, you alive in there?”
“Oh, Sandy, how you doing girl?” Yep, I was right. He had been in la-la city. I looked at the old boy then nodded toward the ball. The blank look on his face told me I wasn’t getting through.
I said, “You…Me…the ball…let’s see if your arm tires before my legs.” To be sure he got the point, I nosed the ball. Rust affects the old boy’s brain at times and a little oil is required to make it work.
He smiled as he creaked out of his recliner, “Okay, Sandy, let me get your ball.”
“What’s wrong with that one?” I snorted and stared at the bright yellow spheroid.
“That’s Natalia’s. You don’t want to ruin it, do you?” The Geezer failed diplomacy if he ever took the course. He pissed me off.
“Ruin! Ruin!! I’m going to ruin it?! Poooo! A little dog slobber improves everything.” I looked as indignant as possible. I’d been understanding when the Geezer and his grands had played keep-away using that very ball… catching it with strange-looking leather gloves. This was the last straw. I blurted out, “You and your giant-sized rug-rats were cruel to me every time you touched that ball when they were here.”
“That’s not true, Sandy. We were working on Natalia’s softball skills. She wants to play and pitch for her high school team.”
“Humpf!” I was still upset. A little thing like a grand-daughter shouldn’t interfere with my desires. I tried to look hurt. That was difficult because I REALLY like Natalia.
“It’s important to her. Just like fetch is important to you. That’s why we went to Gainesville when Natalia was here and why Mrs. G and I had to leave you last Saturday. In fact, when you were trying to get my attention, I was thinking about a person, a Florida Gator softballer, that we met and that helped Natalia. She’s a super softball player, a great coach, and most importantly, an extraordinary person.”
“Really, does she wear a cape and fly?” I asked. When I’m mad I get sarcastic.
“I didn’t see either, but she might. She is an outstanding human being.”
I realized I’d stuck my paw in my mouth. My human isn’t usually impressed easily and obviously this young lady had done that. “Who is she,” I asked?
“Hmmmm, knowing you, you might write about her in your blog. I’ll make up a name. Let’s call her Stephanie.”
“That’s as good as any,” I said.
“When I found out how badly Natalia wanted to play softball, I did some research and eventually got in touch with Stephanie. How lucky was that! You know how many years I spent on football and baseball fields. I know athletic talent… and coaching talent. She is blessed with both. She’s patient…very, very, knowledgeable…has great communication skills…is dedicated to her sport and helping others…hell, she’s even attractive.”
“I guess she does wear a cape,” I admitted.
He nodded, “Last Saturday Mrs. G and I went over to see a team of girls she’s coaching. They were very good as I expected they would be. I wanted to see what level Natalia has to achieve to be competitive. I learned a lot more than that. Stephanie was busting her butt, helping those young ladies learn and pouring her heart into the effort. She could have been at the beach partying. I couldn’t help but think, what a great advertisement for the University of Florida’s athletic programs she is. Seeing a young, dedicated, intelligent person that all parents would like their child to be and displaying character any young adult should be proud to have, makes me comfortable the country is being passed to good hands.”
When I cock my head to one side and put on my “enough of the bull shit” look, the Geezer knows it’s time to get off the soap box. He said, “Okay. okay.”
“How about that game of fetch?” I asked.
“I promise to keep the slobbering to a minimum.”
The Geezer was wavering.
I grabbed the ball in my mouth and managed a garbled, “Baa-baa-alll, an-eee-one?” My eyes implored him.
“Oh shit, okay,” he said and started stumbling toward the door.
I couldn’t help grinning; I always win.