I was never an athlete, playing with a ball that is. In junior high, I recall standing in my silly white shorts as far away from the softball action as I could. Praying the ball would not come near me. It seldom did.
I don't recall high school, but I'm sure it was the same.
Years later at a ministers' conference, another minister declared that I was a communist because I didn't like softball. He was half right. I didn't like softball. But I loved volleyball, which apparently didn't prevent me from being a communist. (Volleyball didn't require any skills, just jump up and down and holler and take an occasional swat at the ball as it went flying past my ball-avoiding head.)
I may have -- actually not -- been a communist, but it was that preacher who said I was who a few years ago was caught "running around" (without a ball) with a deacon's wife. I don't know what happened to the wife, but the preacher ended up leaving the state -- and I hope the ministry.
I also don't know if the wife was a communist or if the preacher who ran around with her finally became one.
A testimonial to my good-guy status, I didn't call that preacher a communist.
The other night I had a dream about my non-sportsmanship. I was driving past a sign at the Kebo Valley Golf Course in Bar Harbor and noticed a sign.
It read, "Slow golfers crossing."
It thought that was so funny. It first happened in real life. I wrote my brother in law in New York State, who loved golf, that he should come up, visit us, and play golf there. I sent him a photo of the sign.
He didn't come, and he didn't answer. Maybe he didn't figure out that I had sent him the photo as a joke.
Back to my dream. I was in a long hallway of some kind, and there were small balls about two inches in diameter here and there on the floor. They were rolling around, and our cat was chasing them.
I didn't understand the balls' presence, but I had fun watching the cat. She was going nuts over those little balls. Which makes me glad I'm not a cat; why would anyone -- or cat -- go nuts over little red balls.
In real life she likes balls, only we call them her "ballies," because a self-respecting cat wouldn't chase a ball. Last night Samantha kept bringing a ballie with a bell in it to Dolores and I by turns. Our job was to toss the ballie, and hers was to catch up with it and bring it back to one of us.
If we were too slow, she would just sit on the floor and stare at us. Unless it's happened to you, you can't realize how guilty you can feel when a cat sits on the floor and stares at you until you throw her ballie.
Usually she just naps on my lap without a ballie, unless she's dreaming about them. She rolls over, takes a swipe at my hand with her sharp-claw-bearing paw, occasionally cutting my hand. My hand today bears several cuts, but there are no ballies involved.
Eventually, she falls sound asleep on my lap, shortly before I have to wake her up after the news so I can get up painfully -- bad hip, not a bad ballie -- and toddle off to bed.
Her ballies are always with us. Occasionally we step on one as we're heading from one room to another. So far neither of us has fallen from stepping on a stray ballie.
That must be why I in another life long, long ago used to raise Labrador Retrievers.
They're weren't cats and they didn't booby trap our house with ballies.
This may be why I don't like ballies -- or balls.
I do like Labs, and I do like cats.
Maybe the reason I do eventually will come rolling along and enter my ballie-damaged mind.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014