He blinked a few times to clear his vision and found himself standing halfway between the on-deck circle and home plate. He looked around at the bleachers full of parents and friends shouting and clapping encouragement. He turned and saw his teammates getting ready to take leads on base. A few flies buzzed around his head and he absently brought his hand up to shoo them away until he realized what he was doing and stopped himself in mid-swat.
A few years ago a friend pointed me to Kiva.org.
It’s a micro-finance non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. For as little as $25, you can lend money alongside others to help people around the globe.
You choose the people, businesses, goals, hopes, and dreams to support. The sacrifice is small, with the potential for huge returns in the lives of the recipients.
BLACKNESS! Train heard a roar surround him and felt as if he was being sucked into the guts of a jet engine. At first, he could see nothing. Then, he noticed streams of light rushing past him like laser beams on track to the edge of the universe. He was spinning and tumbling out of control through space at unbelievable speed. He screamed but could not hear himself over the roar which vibrated through his bones. Galaxies, planets, solar systems whizzed by in the blink of an eye, but he could do nothing. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl. Train didn’t know how long he endured the trip. He realized it was over when he came to on the surface of some strange moon.
The grass had been mowed just yesterday. The smell was fresh and exciting. The field at Brown’s Corner Recreation Area was alive with the warm-ups of 30 twelve year-olds getting ready for the game. The Falcons were hot this year. They had the best pitcher in the league. A left-hander named McDery who threw a natural inside curve. The Dodgers were on a three-game winning streak Just last Saturday, they had creamed the Giants 8-1. Their big first baseman was a power-hitter they called Train. His real name was Terry, but his nickname stuck after the first game of the season when he shattered the catcher’s collarbone while stealing home. He’d run him over like a steam engine and didn’t even look back when the stretcher came. Train had stretched many easy singles into doubles and triples through the way he chugged around the bases. He put his head down and charged full-throttle until he got there. Not many kids stayed in the way once he got going.
“Hey, Pepper! Where’s the salt?”
I’ve heard that question most of my life. Usually from people attempting to be clever about my last name. It got old in the second grade. One day in my early adult years, I came across the book Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky and now have my answer for any who ask.
It’s a follow up to his book, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.
I suppose they needed a lot of salt to preserve all that cod.
Mom put the full pan of chocolate chip brownies on the pantry shelf to cool. Those would be a special treat for the family after dinner tonight. The appetites of four teenage boys seemed bottomless and something like fresh brownies never lasted long. Mom paused for a moment and cut just one little square from the corner of the pan. “Just a little taste,” she thought, and closed the door. Continue reading