At some point this year, I’m taking a trip to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. An 83-year old man near Akron, Ohio wants to play catch and connected with me through Bob, a reporter at The Beacon Journal. I’m in the process of acquiring a vintage baseball glove to use for my game at that incredible field. I might even wear the wool uniform I wore in The First Boys of Spring.
I met Jeff for lunch and catch today. Jeff is also a newspaper guy, writing brilliant sports stories as well as other stories at the Christian County Headliner. (I only read newspapers for the sports section and the comics. A small part of me died the day Bill Watterson retired and Calvin & Hobbes no longer stirred my imagination in the mornings.) If I ever get a Moonlight-Graham-Field-of-Dreams moment and actually play ball again, I would love for Jeff to write the story.
We ate lunch at Ben’s on the Square in Ozark; the Coyote sandwich was excellent, as was the Dr Pepper. We were talking about the dreams echoing in our hearts when Jeff blurted out a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.” I borrowed a pen and quickly scribbled down the words on a napkin.
The storytelling continued as we tossed the ball on the lawn of the county assessor’s office under a bright and beautiful sun. I was still processing Emerson’s quote.
The dreams on Jeff’s heart are much nobler than my year-long catch-playing aspirations and the obstacles he faces are many. To make his dreams come true will take both courage and persistence, but I believe the story he’s living will be successful.
Also the words of Emerson, “What is success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”