Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Boys and toys

Continued from Darkness Falls 

Roma was a natural athlete. He excelled in all sports. He loved to play sports, to watch sports, to talk sports, and to read the sports section.

The reading part often amused me with some of the pronunciations. Roma and Bruce would talk sports over breakfast, and Roma could hold his end of the conversation. I marveled at his knowledge of so many games and teams and players. I remember the little fellow, reading to Bruce from the sports section,
something about the "At-lant-na" Braves. From that moment on, Atlanta became Atlantna for me. (Interesting that Roma would spend some quality time in Atlantna many years later.)

Last month, after more than seven months of backing out of the driveway past Roma's sad and quiet basketball hoop, I decided it was finally time for someone else to enjoy the often used and much loved hoop. In my imagination I can still hear the ball bouncing outside. I don't have to use my imagination to see the dents in the garage door.

 Our neighborhood has its own yard sale site on Facebook. I started to post it there. But suddenly I had a strong impulse to post in on the Mount Airy (Maryland) online yard sale site with a much wider audience. Why?, I asked myself. It would be easier to post within the neighborhood and have pick-up possibly involve no more than rolling it down the street. But I've learned to obey those nudges.  

I posted it on Saturday, July 16, and an hour later, it was claimed. The woman asked if it could be disassembled, for she had a small car. We had assembled it originally, I told her, so I assumed it could be unassembled. Bruce told me that it would be difficult to take it apart, so I told her she would need a truck. She reinforced that she wanted it, but couldn't get it until Wednesday evening. I started thinking maybe this buyer wasn't going to work out. But Bruce would be home then, so he could help us get it into the back of a truck.

 I didn't hear back from her until Thursday morning. Bruce wasn't there to help us. I messaged her to ask if she had a helper. We had emptied the water out of the base, and it was laying on the ground. It was heavy. I knew because I had helped Bruce lower it to the ground slowly so it didn't crash. It was too heavy for two women to hoist up on the back of a pickup truck, at least one in advancing years, and I don't mean my new friend Angela! 

I messaged Roma's friend in the neighborhood and I put a plea for help, explaining my need, on our neighborhood Facebook page. No one responded.  

 By the time Angela arrived with a borrowed truck, I was pacing, waiting for an offer of assistance, even a passing car. There were a few cars passing, but I could not bring myself to flag them down for help. She backed in and we had no option than to try it ourselves. My sometimes weak back had gone out the week before, so I was reluctant to try to lift it up to her as she stood in the truck  bed, pulling.

Surprisingly, we got it up onto the opened gate with little effort. We pushed it in horizontal, back against the cab. But it was too long. A third of it stuck out the back. So I climbed in, and we wrestled it upright and then I sat on the base. Without being filled with water, the base was not heavy enough to hold it upright. There I sat on the base, securing the weight, wondering what to do.

I had no choice but to ride in the back of the truck, sitting on the base, accompanying Roma's basketball hoop for its ride to its new home.  Luckily Angela had told me she only lived five minutes away. I could do this.

Then I had a thought.  "Are there many power lines across Main Street?" I asked Angela. We had both traveled Main Street many times, without considering the power lines overhead.

 "Not many . . . I think," she answered, realizing she had never given it a thought before.

"Just watch for them," I requested as I gave the high pole beside me a nod. She agreed as she got into the truck and pulled out of my driveway, as the full height of the basketball hoop towered above me. As we passed cars, I realized it is probably against the law to ride in the back of a pickup truck. Being a rule-follower, I laid down to at least conceal the evidence. All I could see was the sky until we got onto Main Street. Then Angela slowed down to a stop, as we neared the first of too many power lines. She got out of the truck to gauge the inches from the tip on the pole of the hoop to the wire, and slowly inched forward.

From my vantage point, looking straight up a too-tall pole, it looked as if we would hit the wires above. I stiffened my body with each near contact. I  would raise my head up a little occasionally to see where we were, and how much farther we had to travel. When we finally veered right onto her short road, I could breathe again.

Once in front of her house, Angela got out of the truck apologizing for the wires that were both more plentiful than expected, and too low to transport fully extended, regulation basketball hoops on the bed of a pickup truck! As we were lowering the precious cargo from the truck bed, I explained why I had mentioned the electric wires in the first place.

 "I didn't tell you why I thought of the wires, but my son died in December. He fell from a ladder after touching a power line." 

The horror on Angela's face spoke of her compassion. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I will pray for you."

I thanked her, as we returned to the truck cab for our five minute ride home.


After her mention of prayer, we were chatting about churches, and Bible studies. Then, I don't remember exactly how it happened, but I said, "My son was adopted from Russia." 

Then she caught her breath, and said, a little louder than expected, "My son was adopted from Russia, too." We talked fast the last couple of minutes of our ride, like two strangers who discovered a Secret together. We got out and I ran in to get her a copy of But the Greatest of These is Love. I'm curious if God worked on her like He did with me. We hugged goodbye, for now.

She added that although her son was only about to turn six he was very good at basketball."


Of course he is. Like Roma!


If she had come Wednesday night, when Bruce was home, he would have miraculously manuvered the unweilding device into the truck without help. If I had had an answer to my requests for help Thursday morning, I might have never known the rest of the story. She would have picked up the hoop with help, and been gone out of my life forever. If I had put it on our neighborhood yard sale site, like I started to, again, there would have been no shared connection, no evidence of God at work.

But as I rode in the back of a truck that morning, looking up at the clouds in a bright blue sky 
(and power lines, and low hanging branches), something magical was brewing.  A little boy from Russia was about to have a birthday, and he wanted a full size, regulation basketball hoop.

And Roma knew exactly where a broken-in and well-loved and unused one could be found. Cheap. Angela and I were blessed that morning. I hope readers are blessed too.

Thank you, Lord, for comforting me, reminding me You are not far. Neither is Roma. Happy birthday in Heaven, dear boy! 

Continue with This is My Son

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