Damn, ya’ll. The last Lunar I posted was almost two years ago – in October of 2018. I guess jobs and lack of absolute security kept me more focused on steady work and rest.
Honestly, though, I am pathetic. It took me six months of being cooped up like a chicken on its way to slaughter to realize I had time to write again. I pretty much waisted a half year, worrying about diseases, masks, government payouts and dictates. Even end of the world notions.
But just like those of you reading this, and unlike the couple of hundred thousand folks who will never read again, so far we have survived.
It wasn’t a total waste of time. I lived with my son and his family in their neighborhood until recently. Feeling love every moment of your day is anything but wasteful. And the love didn’t come from just sons, daughters and grandchildren. It came from the other twelve or so kids who lived in the neighborhood.
One beautiful and warm Sunday afternoon, I chose to just chill on the front porch, resting my legs on the banister, drinking Bud Light from a bottle. An older kid, Beckham, showed up just to talk. The kid is somewhere on the autism spectrum. My son coached him on a rec league basketball team.
Beckham walked to the steps of the porch and asked, “Why are you and Coach Moon such big Carolina fans?” I tried to explain it to him, but he interrupted me to spout out one statistic after another about Tar Heel players from the ’60s and ’70s who played in the pros. The kid is a pretty good player. He’s a Duke fan as well. Yet he knew more about Carolina players than I did.
It was a great talk. One that I will remember forever. I will also remember my son playing hoops with him in the driveway and teaching him every basketball move the kid wanted to perfect.
Later on that Sunday afternoon, my grandsons were in the driveway with Beckham. I heard the kid say, “Man, you’re granddad is one of the coolest guys I have ever known.” Here I was, feeling like such a slug, drinking beer and doing nothing whatsoever productive. And the troubled kid brought even brighter sunshine to my pathetic life. The kid even insisted that I quit smoking. And he came back to the house many times to make sure I was giving up cigarettes.
I let the kid down with the smoking thing. But he never let me down. And Beckham is just one kid who made a difference in that neighborhood. Watching, everyday, a dozen or so kids, playing in the street, down by the creek and every other possible place on the block, brought back the very best memories from my childhood.
There were disagreements and fights just like in my Jacksonville, Florida neighborhood decades ago. But these kids always brought to my son’s house smiles, laughter and wonderfully nonsensical comments and engagements.
As adults, I guess it’s easy and justified to detest the year of 2020 and the slugs we have become. But, damn. It’s the perfect time to embrace, once again, the youthful exuberance we once knew. And the rediscovery of the unconditional joy that surrounds us all. No matter what.