Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Farewell to a Pair Unlike Any Other

Last night I laced up my soccer cleats just as I have done many times before, preparing to take on the field and whoever may come my way. I haven't played in a couple of years. I played two seasons of intramural soccer while at Alabama, and before that, I was on the field every fall since third grade! I just can't describe the joy and excitement I feel when I'm on the field - I just know I belong there. I'm always ready to play.

A friend called me up yesterday wanting to know if I wanted to play, so as soon as I got home yesterday, I started looking for all my gear. Out of all the sports I've played, soccer has stuck with me, and so have these cleats. I have had the cleats above since middle school - that's about 10 years. They have been one of my favorite pair of shoes - comfortable, oh so right on my feet, worn in. They know me, and I know them. I've never even thought of parting with them...

But last night, after about 30 minutes on the turf (we were playing indoor soccer - something new for me), I noticed my right foot was hugging the inside of my shoe. After a while I could feel my foot sliding off of the heel. I tried to take no notice to it, and it wasn't until we took a break after an hour that I learned the awful truth...my shoe had completely ripped open on the left side. I could touch my foot. I was devastated, in a sense. These were my all-time favorite soccer shoes that had never left my side, that gave me confidence, that could pass, shoot, steal. They were proven.

I went to the snack counter and asked for some tape, which somewhat held the shoe through the second hour. I suppose looking back it should have been a bittersweet moment - wearing my 'Ole Faithfuls' one last time. But, I was caught up in the moment, and of course, now it hits me.

I shall miss these shoes dearly, and probably still won't part with them. Rather, I think I will keep them somewhere. And then, perhaps my children or grandchildren will find them someday, and I can tell them this story, one part of a larger story, which, in truth, is just one part of a much bigger story.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What I'm Listening to These Days

I didn't think I would be able to find this cd anywhere but Amazon.com, but strolling through downtown Homewood one day on my lunch break, I walked lazily into a music store. The cds were scattered everywhere in "orderly disorder" (if you ask me), but I felt certain that this was the kinda place where you could find any kind of music you were looking for. When the gentleman at the counter first asked me if he could help me find anything, I declined, but later, feeling inspired, I popped the question - "Do you happen to have any Gillian Welch?"

I had discovered Gillian Welch very randomly, happening to catch a bit of a biography on her on CMT late one night. Her music and voice caught my ear - a mixture of bluegrass and folk, and completely filled with emotion. Songs that you didn't just hear, but felt. According to the show, she was rejected by Nashville, so she built her own recording studio. She writes her own music with her good friend, David Rawlings, and you may have heard her on the O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack.

I was thrilled to hear the gentleman respond that he did have some of her cds, and he actually seemed to know her. He didn't have to look through a computer to see who she was and if he had any of her cds. He went straight over to where they were. Then, I had to decide which one I wanted: Revival, or Time: The Revelator. I settled on Revival, because it seemed to be just as the title would indicate - more songs about redemption, or a focus on religion. Time: The Revelator seemed to be more dark. I discussed this with the store owner, and he concurred, describing her work as "cyclical".

In short, I haven't been disappointed. I can't even give you a favorite song on the cd, because I love them all. She has truly been blessed with a gift. If you're interested, check out some of the samples of her songs on Amazon.com.