After fortifying myself with breakfast - a banana, a toasted muffin spread with
vegan margarine and sliced garlic, and a hot cup of green tea, I thought I was
ready to do battle with my house which needed cleaning like yesterday. If you
cringed at the thought of a garlic muffin - don't knock it until you try it. My
Slovak immigrant parents were big on garlic- especially helpful when a cold was
coming on. I find I enjoy them any time, and of course, many health practioners
are now extolling the curative powers of the humble garlic bulb as well. The one
caveat - don't even think of eating fresh garlic if you intend to go out in public.
I didn't realize that mouth garlic vapors don't dissipate quickly. One time when
I went for an hour's adoration at St. Clement's Chapel, the lady already in the
chapel asked me if I had eaten garlic. I don't know it I was red-faced or not, but I
do know that I learned a lesson the hard way -but it was one I never forgot.
Before I started cleaning, I made a big no-no. I picked up the October '10
Guidepost which I wanted to give to Mohammed, a former co-worker for the City
of Cleveland. I like to share them with friends. I had told him about them and
this one was a good candidate to give to him, but I just had to peruse it once
more before doing so. I look at so many magazines as treasured friends, and I do
have a hard time parting with them.
This wasn't going to be easy. The very first page had "The up side" - quotes from
today's positive thinkers. This already had me musing and wanting to share.
From "The Book of Awesome" by Neil Pasricha came quotes of often-overlooked
joys in life:
"The other side of the pillow; bakery air; when socks from the dryer match up
perfectly; finding your keys after looking forever; the friendly nod between strangers
out doing the same thing; celebrating your pet's birthday even though they have no
idea what's going on; when you hear someone's smile over the phone."
How perceptive and true- though sometimes I even lose a sock in the wash somehow.
Can't explain it. I agree with all his observations and find the last especially
delightful - hearing someone's smile over the phone.
Then I found the story of a young New York Yankee speedster's unlikely inside-the-
ballpark home run. This is the kind of story which not only brought a smile to my
face but joyful laughter as well. Brett Gardner is not a power hitter. At 5' 10," 185
pounds, he definitely was made more for power running - not power hitting. So when
he visited kids at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in May
of 2009, he was more than chagrined at what Allyssa Esposito asked him to do. She
was only 18 and waiting for a heart transplant.
She had just received a simple small silver charm which hung from a yellow cord.
Gotten just that morning from Project Sunshine, she wanted Brett to have it and
told him "This will make you hit a home run tonight, I prayed about it."
Shades of Babe Ruth who had promised a sick kid he would hit a home run for him-
right? Well, yes, except for one major difference. When on the night he walked to
the plate on May 15, 2009 he had only one career home run to his credit and the
Babe was a proven home run hitter commodity.
And then a bigger problem. He wasn't even scheduled to play for the game that night against
the Minnesota Twins. He thought - so much for answered prayers, but he would soon be less
of a doubter in the power of prayer as the game played out.
Left fielder Johnny Damon rarely lost his cool but this night he got into an altercation with
the home plate umpire over a called third strike. He was tossed out of the game and Joe
Girardi, the manager, pointed to Brett and said - "Gardy, you're playing left."
The first time up Brett singled. The next at-bat came in the seventh inning where the Yanks
were trailing the Twins, 4-1. When he stepped to the plate, he honestly admits he wasn't
thinking of Alyssa. He was thinking about doing his job - getting on base and then maybe
stealing second to get into scoring position.
After 2 strike calls, Brett was ready for the third pitch. What happened next is best said by
Brett himself: "I lined a shot that sliced toward the left field foul line. SINGLE, I figured
running to first base. Our first base coach waved his arm-the signal to head for second.
Turning, I saw the ball get past the Twins left fielder and roll to the wall, DOUBLE, I thought.
But as I neared second, I saw the ball take a crazy carom away from the left fielder. TRIPPLE,
I decided and raced for third. That's when our third-base coach began windmilling his arm. I
went into an all-out sprint for home. I knew it would be a close play. Ten feet from the plate,
I dove headfirst. Safe! An inside-the-park-home run!"
His team mates were all over him. Inside-the-park home runs are exciting and very rare. I'm
a baseball fan and never heard about them before. When he took his seat on the bench to catch
his breath, he remembered that it happened just like Alyssa said it would. And the Yanks also
went on to beat the Twins 5-4.
Now he hoped that his prayers for Alyssa had been answered. The next day he found out they
were. That same night of the game Alyssa had a successful heart transplant. When she was
later able to visit Yankee stadium, she saw Brett and tapped her chest with her new heart. He
told her that she had a big heart to begin with and that he's keeping her bracelnt in his locker
as a reminder of the power of prayer and of the One who answers them.
I'm glad I read this story again. Now, I hope to hit a home run with my cleaning! One last
thought though re baseball. I had always felt bad that George Steinbrenner had not purchased
the Cleveland Indians when he had an opportunity to do so -as he was born in North East Ohio.
Later on I found out that he indeed had wanted to purchase them but the then owner -Vernon
Stouffer would not sell them to him. History - so much of it so unexplainable. So much of it
rather sad -at least for this Cleveland Indians fan.