SPEEDY PETEY, A SCUFFED AND BATTERED BASEBALL, AND A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

opportunities: we’ve all lost them
they’ve sneaked and slithered past our lives from time-to-time
plans for my first circus trip
were stranded due to skin eruptions seeded by chicken pox
detention tossed at me by Penguin-like teachers
barred me from my first baseball playoff
I’m still lamenting a missed flight for a Final Four game
because I read my airline ticket as 1:00 p.m. instead of 11:00 a.m.
opportunity finds those already seated stage-side

So it was yesterday … I selected a swim in my Cocoon pool
rather than watching my grandboys play baseball.
Both my little buddies also hoopsters anyway I thought,
not distant descendants of DiMaggio.
Just two rainy seasons past, the then 10 year-old Speedy Petey
struggled to even foul tip the spheroid,
and he prepared his hitting lumber for retirement.
Then, step-by-step, day-by-day, his swing became
seamless and smooth as it blossomed.
Lately, he’d actually batted the baseball
against the outfield fence several times.
I saw scuffs on the baseballs he battered,
yet his flies still failed to scale the ballyard’s wall.
Therefore, selfish Big Bop found it easy to skip yesterday’s practice.
While I was drying pool splash,
Speedy Petey hurdled the porch railing and handed me a baseball.
He said, “It’s for you Bop. I blasted it over the fence today!”
Little bro Brock, with a wide-eyed look of amazement and raised brow said,
“Way, way over!”
I’d seen many near misses, but missed the real deal homer
because of my need to splash.
A clich├ęd message pirouetted across my mind,
“opportunities are like gorgeous sunsets,
shut your eyes for a second and you’ve missed that splendor forever.”
I hugged my buddy, wiped the back of my hand across my eyes,
handed him a pen and said, “Autograph, Petey.”
I carefully handled and positioned the sacrosanct ball
as gently as a religious icon made of Waterford Crystal
in a place of honor on my trophy case.