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Shooting the Breeze: Sunday musings 12/6/2020

Shooting the Breeze: Sunday musings…12/6/2020

1 Vaccine. Just tell me where and when and I’ll be there. 

You should be, too.

2 Letters. I just started what looks to be one of those simply wonderful books that you can’t wait to open and will simply hate to see close. It’s called “Dad’s Maybe Book” by Tim O’Brien. Pretty simple concept. O’Brien, a famous writer who became an older Dad, wrote letters to his two sons beginning when the older boy, Timmy, was around 4. Tim Sr. is a very gifted writer and this one looks like it’s going to resonate; I’ve read 6 pages and shed tears twice. 

It’s perfect timing, as it so often turns out to be with books like this. O’Brien talks about the inevitability of time, the sure to come years, too many years, when his boys will be forced to make their way without the aid of his love and wisdom. My Dad’s life, more specifically how he lived his life, was a constant in teaching my brother and me how to live. Not a man of letters (though the 3 he did send live close in a drawer in my nightstand) I must admit that my memories get hazier with each passing year. 

Once written a letter can go on telling someone how much you love them long after they’ve started to struggle to remember what it sounded like when you first told them. 

3 Shoot. One of my buddies made good this morning on his threat to take me shooting. At 0900 with temps in the 30’s under typically gray Cleveland skies, Jeff and I set up shop at his working man’s range for some trap shooting and camaraderie. Everything about this morning was very generous. Jeff brought the shotguns, provided the ammunition, and paid the range fees. Wouldn’t let me pick up a thing. Prior to today I’d only shot a gun once before in my life; taking me to the range was the equivalent of a scratch golfer inviting someone who’d never even played puttputt to join them for a full round of golf. 

I’m sore as hell, but I had a ball. 

Over the course of the last couple of years I’ve come to see just how much of my time is still given over to my job and the activities that branch out from it (I’m supposed to be with my work “tribe” in Miami this weekend). When I had my hip replaced in April of 2019, I learned that if I don’t go to work I can’t account for roughly 40% of the waking hours in my day. And that’s with getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night instead of the 6 I usually get. Unlike our crazy 2020, that 4 ½ week period during which I recovered from surgery was a true test of what retirement might look like because I could do pretty much anything I wanted to do with or without Beth. She had 3 hours of barn time each morning; I found myself just killing time. 

This year, both the lockdown, shelter-at-home months earlier in the year, and the huddle at home when not working ones we are living now, what I’ve learned is that I’ve allowed myself to have a rather 2-dimensional life: work and home. To be sure both are really quite fine, at least for the moment. It remains to be seen what the most recent upheaval wrought by yet another government intrusion will bring in the office. What I now know, though, is that since walking away from public CrossFit I no longer have a “3rd space” in my life. I no longer have a 3rd “thing”, like Jeff has shooting, that brings me away from work and out of the home to commune with like-minded friends. 

Due to its very nature, the intensity that makes it so different from other fitness program, it was likely that I was destined to drift away from the doing of CrossFit sooner or later. But after spending 4 or 5 years exercising alone and pretending that the internet-based cyber gym was a real place, I learned that the true magic of CrossFit happened in the CrossFit Box. Our family gym owned by our boys and run by the family collective, gave me not only a true third space but also anon-family, non-work “tribe” I knew I’d see 3 or more times each week. When it was good, when the repeated close proximity and shared suffering resulted in forged bonds, it was as close as I ever came to having something like what Beth has at her barn or my brother has at his golf club. 

As much as I enjoyed CrossFit (and skiing, and golf) what was best was the shared experiences and shared interest that brought me together with other CrossFitters. My right shoulder is a mess; I will never be the golfer I once was. After surgery my legs are literally so different in length that I need bespoke ski boots; I can’t even give it a go without first finding a specialty shop that can MacGyver me a pair. Neither golf nor skiing move me like dressage moves Beth, but with these two activities I do at least know where to find my 3rd group. Is it better to revisit turf once trodden, or to strike out on trails untouched with something new like shooting? Do you necessarily have to discover (or re-discover) a passion when all you really need is a place and your people?

Like my post-op recovery, the Pandemic will subside and we will be once again free to seek out our 3rd space. I still don’t know where mine is or what I’ll be doing there, but my Jeff’s generosity this morning shows me as clearly as anything else that whatever I do or wherever I do it, I need to be with a 3rd group of folks who mean more than whatever it is we end up doing together. I had fun learning how to shoot a shotgun this morning, but what was really fun was having my buddy Jeff do the teaching.

I’ve taken aim. It’s well past time to pull the trigger.

I’ll see you next week…

2 Responses to “Shooting the Breeze: Sunday musings 12/6/2020”

  1. December 7th, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Mary S Morrison says:

    I am sorry to hear that you now have a leg length issue. I assume that soft tissue issues have been resolved. I won’t ask now, but if I ever need a THA, I will beg you to tell me who not to go to!

  2. December 7th, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    drwhite says:

    HI Mary! Happy to oblige but my surgeon was responsible for only 1/4″ of the disparity. He just happened to need to operate on my longer leg! The rest I have had since childhood. Sadly that extra 1/4 inch is just enough to make lifts a challenge. My other hip is pain free, a “good news/bad news” thing since I don’t need surgery. I am pain free!

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