Monday, August 24, 2015

Go To The Ballpark

If you ever feel the need to restore your faith in humanity, go to the ballpark.   My husband and I went to Wrigley Field yesterday afternoon for an afternoon of baseball Northside Chicago style. The day started out rainy and gray but by the time the first pitch was thrown, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful afternoon for a baseball game.

As the ballpark filled and time grew closer to hearing the familiar words "Play Ball" shouted into a microphone by two very excited young boys in blue t-shirts, I began to notice a wonderful phenomenon happening all around me.   Fans and ushers alike offered to help couples and friends and families take pictures to commemorate their day at the game.  It was evident that the usher responsible for getting handicapped fans and visitors settled into their section to the right and left of our seats behind home plate loved his job.   This man smiled and laughed and rearranged seating to make sure each visitor would have the best experience possible and half-way through the game, he returned to check on his new friends, offering thumbs up as a sign that they were comfortable and enjoying the afternoon.

Strangers passed money along rows from buyers to vendors and passed back to purchasing fans bags of peanuts, bottles of water and cups of beer.  High fives were shared for a home run.  Cheers went up for a fan in the upper deck who caught a foul ball with his bare hands.

There was a capacity crowd at the ballpark yesterday. By and large, there was also a capacity of good will, kind gestures and mutual joy in sharing not only the love of the game, but a few hours of sunshine and hopefulness and release from the world outside the friendly confines.  Oh, and by the way . . . the Cubs won.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The County Fair -

July in Indiana means hot, steamy days, acres of tall corn tasseling out, fields strewn with freshly baled hay, cloudless blue skies and county fairs.   Although I have never raised or shown animals at the fair - the 4-H days of my past were full of sewing projects, freezing and canning of fruits and vegetables, and home interior projects - I have wonderful memories watching my daughter, nieces, nephews and friends prepare and compete with horses, dogs, swine and steer for that Grand Champion prize.  These young people spend countless hours learning about, feeding, and working with their animals.   It is wonderful to watch the bond of friendship, admiration and respect that grows between them.

During my visit to the Porter County Fair last week, we stopped in at the livestock auction on Thursday night in the Steer Barn, and I was fortunate to capture this photo of a young lady waiting patiently towards the back of the arena.   Every once in a while the steer would throw back its head and call out a loud, low moo to show its disapproval at having to stand and wait, and each time the young girl would talk to the animal, coo, rub its back and even plant a kiss on the top of its head for reassurance.

It goes without saying that at the end of the night, with all the steers auctioned off, this young lady probably never saw this steer again.  There's a lesson there, too, somewhere that these young people learn. Next spring they will start all over with a new calf, piglet, rabbit, goat, or other show animal and they will meet back here in July at the county fair.