We were all, adults and children alike, doing things that really mattered to the whole free world, and we’d better get on with doing them, every day, all the time. Everyone came from somewhere else and was hustling on their way to somewhere more important. Perhaps we were, all of us, rootless.
But that love for baseball didn’t mean that we organized our lives around the sport, or that any parent with a Little Leaguer had baseball scholarships in mind. It didn’t enter into the picture. A child’s life was not packaged up and dressed for ambition. That meant, too, that the fans did not take things too seriously.
One easy solution is the crockpot. Why? You can throw in some basic ingredients in the morning before work or school, and then when you get home in the evening, you have a hot meal waiting. Bonus: the house will smell really good when you walk in. What’s not to love?
As evening arrives, you put on warmer clothes and make a campfire, arguing over which is the best design method, the teepee or the log cabin. Once it gets going, you sit with your loved ones in a circle around the fire and just stare at it uncontrollably. You are mesmerized and instantly calm.
In a perfect world, our children would romp out the door after completing their chores and their schoolwork (we homeschool) and knock politely at their best friend’s door, who lived just around the corner in our quiet, speeding-car-free neighborhood, and spend a couple of hours engaged in free creative play, or a massive self-directed building project, or an epic game of Scrabble. How I sometimes wish we lived in that world!
It is hard to say who this land belongs to, but I know without a doubt that I belonged to it from my earliest youth. I was raised just south of town, on a defunct dairy farm surrounded by miles of pasture and scrubby woods. I can barely remember a time before I was allowed to roam over that countryside freely.
We soaked in the morning and our coffee, aware that we were technically trespassing. But, at the moment, we felt the weight of heritage, a complicated term that outmatched the real-estate deeds housed in Pulaski county courthouse.
In Stepford, everyone has forgotten how to do nothing, as children used to do: the blessed nothing that is full of receptivity and calm, and that is at the heart of the merry activity of play.
Once upon a time, different businesses and professions in a town would have their own baseball teams and play each other. At a minimum, we could do more to bring back church softball leagues.
When a top campaign staffer complained to Mr. Percy that John could be abrasive, John posted on the office bulletin board a brochure from an actual trade group, the National Institute for Abrasive Methods, announcing that he was forming a local chapter.