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500 Word Challenge: Day 18–Nothing to Write About

Well, Jeff Goins has suggested we write about hope, as in, “I hope I have something to write about.”

People often suggest regaling readers with images of the past.

But why would I want to write about the days in the ‘hood’?

Who wants to read about the halcyon days of the 60’s when our Chestnut Street and California Street intersection would be so quiet at night that Jimmy T and I could hang our heads out our upstairs windows and, from 50 yards away, hold a conversation without raising our voices. We just let the quiet of the night carry our words from one house to another.

And there really is no reason to share the ecstasy and the agony of my first Little League base hit. I remember making clean contact, pulling the ball to right field and standing there in disbelief that it was  A. in fair territory and B. whistling past the second baseman. As I said, ecstasy. Perhaps I soaked in that moment just a bit too long, as the right fielder promptly picked up the ball and threw me out at first base. Let me take a moment to ask: Shouldn’t that kid have been coached to automatically throw the ball to his teammate at second to make sure I didn’t take the extra base? [Assuming I would actually reach first base.] In essence, then, it’s all his fault that I suffered the humiliation of being thrown out at first from the outfield.

But again, that’s not even worth writing about.

Still on baseball which, unlike today, was the number one sport in the U.S.

We lived on the fields behind Lincoln School. Pick-up games were the order of the day and it was generally the same 12-15 kids. With five to seven kids per team, we had to make in-game adjustments. We would ‘close off’ parts of the outfield, depending on if the hitter was right-handed or left handed. We might leave out an infielder. But one game feature we insisted upon: the fence. We had to have an outfield fence. Home runs that sent some poor sap off to Maple Street or the blacktop just didn’t carry the same cache as a ball that cleared a barrier.

So, what were we to do? We weren’t about to set up wooden boards or something even equally inconvenient. Instead, we lined up enough of our Schwinns, front-wheel-to-back-wheel until we had our fence. Easy to shift and sturdy enough to take a few shots to the spokes, pedals, and chains. If the ball was flying out that day, shifting this fence was a matter of kickstand up, roll 20 more feet away from home plate, kickstand down, and ‘play ball!’. And when the ball flew well past that chain of bikes, we might as well have been hitting towering shots over the deepest spot in Candlestick Park.

But, the struggle to dig up meaningful enough content continues.

No need to bore readers with reflections on the Monopoly tournaments that ruled the neighborhood in mid-July. The blue and yellow and green cash filled the air whenever owners of Baltic and Mediterranean landed on Boardwalk or Park Place. Not a pretty sight.

And finally, I see no reason to revisit our adventures around the Lincoln School cafeteria to poke our heads in to watch the folks square-dancing. After all, any thing or place on the forbidden list was just what the doctor ordered for kids without the cash for trips to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk or evenings at the movies. Instead, we patrolled the playground and rattle those tetherball chains till the poor custodian stormed out to chase us off.

Now that was entertainment.

Well, seems I’ve at least entertained myself. So that’s something.

Your cards and letters begging me to stop writing? Keep’em coming.

Published in500 Word Challenge