We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Arkansas. The temperatures were in the mid-80s, the humidity was low, the skies were clear; it would have been a shame not to take advantage of that unseasonably pleasant lull to do something fun. So, my husband, son and I decided to attend an Arkansas Travelers baseball game Saturday evening. The Travelers are a minor league team who play out of North Little Rock’s beautiful new Dickey-Stephens Park on the banks of the Arkansas River looking across to the Little Rock skyline. The new park opened in 2007, and we’d yet to visit — hadn’t seen the Travs play in several years, actually — so this seemed like a good opportunity. The weather was perfect, the Travelers won 8-1 over San Antonio (with two exciting home runs), my husband indulged in nachos, I had cotton candy, and our son downed a funnel cake and a box of Cracker Jacks. We had a great time.
I loved the ambiance of the outing. The raucous choruses from the organ. The cheers and hoots of the crowd. The clash of inflatable “thunder sticks.” The smells of beer and popcorn. The gradual fade of sunny afternoon into under-the-lights nighttime. The kids in their baseball caps who gazed at the field and dreamed of pitching a no-hitter or crowded the railings hoping to catch a foul. The adults who cited statistics and swapped stories of great games past. The costumed mascot (“Shelly” — a buck-toothed horse) who posed with children and waved when they shrieked his name. The golden retriever, Jake the Diamond Dog, who carried water to the umpires in a basket, then cheerfully fetched bats and balls during the game. All the silly contests (banana races? mascot race?) between innings. Talk about a relaxing evening away from the stresses of everyday deadlines and chores!
Watching the players amble onto the field and warm up for the game, it occurred to me that they were, in effect, arriving at their office ready to go to work. It’s an interesting way to make a living, playing a game for other peoples’ enjoyment. But then, I suppose some people consider making up stories to be an odd way to pay one’s bills. I couldn’t hit a home run to save my life — my one summer on a girls’ softball team many years ago was a painfully humiliating experience (my lack of natural athleticism was coupled with an embarrassing tendency to faint in the hot summer sun out there in right field). I’m sure there are plenty of skilled ball players who couldn’t complete a novel. And yet, in the long run, those diverse careers serve the same purpose — they provide entertainment and escape, and I choose to believe that both have a valuable place in our busy and often-too-serious lives.
I hope you are able to take advantage of the next beautiful day in your life to have a little fun and escape your troubles. And if you choose to escape into a love story, don’t forget that DIAGNOSIS: DADDY, my Silhouette Special Edition, is on the shelves for only a few more days! (How’s that for a transition into blatant self-promotion?)
One more week until the drawing for the two autographed, connected paperbacks from my backlist, THE GROOM’S STAND-IN and THE BEST MAN’S PLAN. Click the Enter to Win! tab above for details on how to enter.