Serious talk. Straight from the hip. That’s my style today. None of Jim’s witticism or his incredibly weird stuff will appear on the page. Jim’s warming up on the sidelines, stretching and getting into shape for next time. But I am not talking about him today! He is out of the game on the bench.
Honest, intelligent, caring, generous, loving, pretty, modest and cheerful are words that describe a lady I will call Janice. Janice is my middle-name, and I hope the lady who remains anonymous and somewhat timeless, because she would want it that way, would not mind bearing my name for a short time. I am forced to recognize and use the past tense in my wording when I wish to do otherwise.
Janice had radiant good-looks, dressed simply with good taste, had impeccable manners and showed an interest in everyone around her, making them feel special. She was well-educated and rather wealthy. In a word, she was perfect. Even her laugh was perfect, not too loud, just a harmonious happy sound. Jealousy creeps in when some people meet so much perfection. I saw it happen. People whispered and talked behind her back; at least only a few did so. Janice attracted people with her love and sincerity. Yet, it is difficult to feel confident around so much flawlessness. That summed up my predicament. I wasn’t jealous. At least, I don’t think I was. I just felt like my slip was showing and my socks didn’t match. Understand?
Janice helped so many people, but never bragged about it. I would ride with her in her nice, spotlessly clean car to some of the houses or apartments. She would describe the situation in a lowered voice, saying, “Now this is a young divorced woman with two children who is struggling after being mistreated badly. We will be helping boost her self-esteem and gently coaxing the children out of their fear and depression.” Janice spoke about the circumstances in a hushed voice when we approached, although no one could hear except me. It seemed that she had a gentle approach of privacy for the individual even in the way she spoke about them. A silly thought popped into my head. She reminded me of a sports commentator at a golf game saying, “Ladies and gentleman, the sun is struggling to come out, the course is drying up, and in case you’re just joining us, the leaders have just reached the ninth hole because of delayed starting times – – David Simms is clinging to a one shot lead over Peter Jacobsen … but the real story is out on sixteen where a driving range pro who shot an opening eighty-three is making a run at perhaps the most legendary round of golf in Open history, Johnny Miller’s sixty-three at Oakmont – Ben Wright is in the tower at sixteen…” I could see Janice in crisp, white golf gear, in fine form, making all of the perfect strokes, pulling through against all odds. On the greens beside her, I was fumbling the ball like I was playing an entirely different game. Somehow, I sent the football to the hole with a splat, scattering the turf but landing in place at the hole. In other words, I lacked finesse, but my heart was in the right place. Those sweet folks I had reached out to help could see through my stained jersey and know that I sweated and ran for them. Sports Commentator – “Ladies and Gentlemen, I can’t believe it! She is dancing a jig on the greens. Hey guys, focus the camera in to her feet. Look at those socks! She has red-flowers on the right foot and purple polka-dots on the left.”
Where was Jim during the game? He was on the golf cart, racing around scaring rabbits, little old ladies and helpless toddlers. He skimmed around water holes, splashing my jersey but missing Janice’s pristine, precisely stylish outfit. Then, he joined us at the clubhouse with his tall tales and bad photography. Janice laughed at Jim and praised his good qualities. I told you that she was a smart lady. (I know I said Jim wouldn’t be in the story, but I couldn’t help myself. He was begging and threatened not to cook supper.)
I wish I could say it all ended happily. I wish it continued the same. I wish I could join her in the car again because I know any ride with her would be worthwhile. Janice had very serious problems. She died young.
Later in a city many miles away in a sports arena, I was seated by a young woman and two children. When the event was over, I walked down the row, and they followed slowly. I turned and introduced myself. The young woman said her name and introduced her daughters. She said she lived in Janice’s town, so I asked if she ever knew her. To my surprise, she said she did. Our eyes locked, and I knew her story without another word spoken. We hugged and held each other tightly.
I’m taking my name back. The real Janice is playing through, using the right strokes and feeling more confident. Now, where is my golf cart?
Jim has a memo for you. He says, “I’ll be B-A-A-C-K!” Just imagine Jeff Foxworthy imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger, and you will understand his message.
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Special thanks to Manny Espinal for the golf lingo (click for more). You didn’t think I would know the golf commentary all by myself, did you? Manny smoothly handled those sports words and sent the golf lingo link. If you are a sports fan of golf, football, baseball or basketball – See Manny Espinal’s (Like him while you are there, because we certainly do!) South Florida Sports Network click immediately here.
I will ask readers if you happen to recognize the lady in the story – despite my careful concealment – please not comment or ask questions that would reveal her identity.
Could you SHARE this story and the link to the website with those perfect folks and the ones with the mis-matched socks?