By Bruce Stambaugh
I slept in. It was Saturday after all. It’s the way lots of folks begin their weekend.
For me, though, arising after 7 a.m. was abnormal even on weekends. I like to beat the sun to its dawn.
I needed the sleep after two consecutive late night outings. Now, the terms “late night” take on significant and liberal interpretation when you are a grandparent and not a teenager.
Thursday I attended another fun night in Cleveland with a good friend. I arrived extra early to avoid the guaranteed congestion since the Indians weren’t the only act in town. Sir Paul McCartney was playing next door to the Tribe, and the Browns lost another football game in front of their faithful mass of masochists.
In other words, the town was full of excited folks. Having lived and worked in the city many moons ago, I walked around the downtown area a bit to kill time and to view the remade public square. I was impressed with the space and the all-around cleanliness of the place.
People sat at street side tables in front of restaurants enjoying the cuisine, drinks, and one another. I found the corner where three decades ago I had crossed the street with 30 first and second graders and their teacher. A religious street barker with hand-printed signs and tracts stopped his doomsday bellowing and moseyed up to me. He quietly asked me if the children were Pilgrims. I stoically replied that they were Amish, and followed the class across the intersection.
I spent a marvelous evening at the ballpark with my friend Rob. Happily, it was another last at-bat win for the Indians.
Friday evening was just as much fun. My buddy Tim and I went to hear our friend Elvis perform his last gig for the summer in Millersburg. We weren’t disappointed and met lots of other friendly fans.
Both nights I was up way past my bedtime. So I wasn’t surprised that I had slept through sunrise on Saturday. I needed the rest.
Well behind my usual start time, I wanted to get my walk in before the late summer Saturday warmed too much. I discovered that being tardy had its enjoyable rewards.
I usually walk uninterrupted. Not this day.
Good neighbor Mary was already weeding her roadside flowerbeds. We chatted a while as Baltimore Orioles chased one another in the grove of trees at the south edge of my property. Their brilliant orange blazed neon in the sharp-slanting morning light.
An Eastern Phoebe called from a cluster of hardwoods just as I ran into Brian, another neighbor. We talked about his work, the warm weather, and the exhilaration of yet another fantastic Indians comeback victory.
I turned the corner and met my next-door neighbor, Trish, who was in the home stretch of her morning walk. I didn’t delay her long.
Girls in cerulean dresses pedaling bicycles and families in jet-black buggies silently greeted me with head nods and quick waves of hands. It felt good to be alive.
On the return trip to home, another young neighbor caught up with me on his four-wheeler. He was out scouting hunting spots with the season about to begin. A mourning dove sat atop a snag of a dying ash tree, perhaps eavesdropping on Tyler’s hunting secrets.
I floated with elation the short distance remaining to my house. I was that invigorated by the gorgeous morning, the multitude of spontaneous interpersonal connections I had had, all after two enjoyable evenings with friends.
In the afternoon, I drove to Wooster to celebrate with my friend Annie on the release of her new album “Thousand.” True to form, she belted it out to the delight of all who attended.
Maybe I need to sleep in more often.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2016
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