Loud thunderstorms messed with my dreams and woke me early this morning. I stayed in bed and tried to get back to sleep but was unsuccessful.
There is a new home run record in the Florida State League thanks to Ibandel Isabel who hit numbers 34 and 35 last night for the Daytona Tortugas. I wore my Tortugas t-shirt today to celebrate the breaking of the 68-year old record and cheer on the team as they prepare for the playoffs next week.
I drove the girls to school and stopped at Mudhouse Coffee to say hi to Max and Jonathan and Rob and Bill and Sterling.
Sterling (Day #106) introduced me to Andrew, a professor at Missouri State, who expressed interest in playing catch later next week. He asked for a card; I wrote down my name and email address on a piece of notebook paper.
Max brought me a free mocha to my back corner office where the smells of fresh-baked goodies were making my stomach growl.
“I’m up for a game of catch,” he said. “But it’s been quite a while, maybe two or three years.”
Max is in his last semester at Ozarks Technical College. He’s an artist, an animator, and is still figuring out what’s next. He’d love to head to CalArts in Santa Clarita, California. “It’s where all the Disney animators go.” California Institute of the Arts helps creatives truly make a cultural impact. The price tag, however, is quite steep. Dream chasing always comes at great cost. I doubt that they’d have any programs for catch-playing storytellers.
Max has been a barista at Mudhouse the last 4 years to put himself through school.
“It’s really taught me how to talk to people. I’m not the most sociable person early in the morning. But being here has helped me to be open to people, to move past my inherent early morning curmudgeon persona.”
Max always carries a towel on his shoulder. I don’t know how many times I’ve picked his towel up for him as he’s passed by my office on the way to the kitchen. I flipped through his sketch book in awe of his talent. I showed him some of Sophie’s artwork and asked for any advice I could pass along.
“Be a careless artist, but a ruthless editor.”
We walked through the kitchen and I noticed the savory treats cooling on the counter. I did not take any free samples. We stepped out on the driveway and were greeted with the muggy feeling that more rain is on the way.
“So, playing catch every day? How’d that get started?” Max asked.
The towel fell off his shoulder on his first throw. He picked it up and tossed it against the brick building. I told him the stories of New Year’s Day and highlights of a few of the trips and the clouds above darkened. The throws popped and echoed among the downtown brick buildings. Passersby walking on Walnut Street waved and watched.
“Wow,” Max replied. “That really sounds cool. Kinda crazy, but really cool.”
Unlike Ray Kinsella, I have done a few crazy things in my life.
Playing catch every day might be crazy, but it definitely is one of the best things I’ve done, too.
It might be crazy for Max to head to California at the beginning of 2019, but it might also be the start of an amazing journey.