What is it with me and random new fabulous friends?
First, Judy, and now Don!
A few days ago, we had an afternoon of glorious weather after much rain and cold. My daughter had a scrimmage softball game and so I decided to head out with my son and Dog to enjoy the sunshine.
I dropped Savannah off, parked the car, put Dog on his leash and we ventured out into the wonderful Pleasanton Sports Park. The Sports Park is the very essence of Pleasanton and is a great symbol of why people are so nuts about this city.
This is one HUMUNGOUS (2.15 miles walking trail around the complex!) area dedicated to sports--with families in mind. Beyond the I-don't-know-how-many-but-lots-and-lots of sports fields, there are three playgrounds, public bathrooms (that aren't too gross), snack bars selling M&Ms for 50 cents and mediocre caffé lattes for $1.50 (and really, that does tell you a little about Pleasanton, that we would even attempt to sell designer coffees out of the snack shack at little league games!)
But that’s just the infrastructure.
The really, amazingly cool thing is that everywhere you look you see men and women who work long, hard days in sales or hi-tech or some such thing, and then spend hours and hours of their spare time, leaving work early, sacrificing their weekends….to play ball.
There is not much glory or reward as society would typically define it for a little league coach. No riches to speak of, except for maybe a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory at the end of the season. And the most recognition they get is the moment at the end-of-the-season party in which the coaches are inevitably pushed into the pool.
So what are they thinking?!
After ten-plus seasons of spring ball between both kids, with absolutely amazing, generous coaches, I know that the coaches do it for the love of the game and the love of their kids and the joy of seeing other people’s kids work hard to reach their potential.
My mother, a traditional Southern gal and a wise and insightful observer of human nature, after going to a few games and meeting the coaches, who were so cooperative in playing my kids in special positions so Grandma could see them in action said to me, "Those men coaches are so patient!"
But, as usual, I digress. Back to Dogs...
On this particular splendid day, Dog quickly discovered a darling black Cocker Spaniel about his same size, at the end of a lease held by a robust, friendly-looking man.
The dogs quickly connected and the humans did, too.
The human was Don. His dog was “Fluffy,” although her pedigreed name (and I noticed he threw that in pretty much right away—didn’t want me to think this was just any old mutt, although, as Seinfield would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”) was "Caylee Rose."
And then he quickly told me that the child who he bought the dog for, a friend’s granddaughter, was named Kalista Rose. “It was destiny that these two would be together!”
I immediately fell in love with Don and his destiny dog.
What was really cool was that Don gave all the impression of being a manly, man—a big tough guy, (and I later found out he fought in the Korean War) but he was a total cupcake about the dog. I mean, really, who names their dog “Fluffy?”
And Don was as devoted to his dog as I have ever seen.
“I’m afraid Fluffy has a few extra pounds on her,” he said almost apologetically. Fluffy had so much fluffy fur, I couldn’t tell, but she looked ok to me.
“I don’t want a dog to go hungry,” he said. “If she’s hungry, I feed her!”
“Oh, I agree! Sunny has an extra pound or two (or five, I thought), but really, what are a dog’s pleasures? Eating and going for walks? What the heck?!”
“Fluffy gets lots of walks,” Don said with pride.
“But I treat Fluffy like a child,” he said. “If I’m eating a steak and a child wants to eat, I’m not going to give him peanut butter and jelly! I’ll give him what I’m eating. Fluffy likes a little beef tenderloin.”
And, again, I agree. If I’m eating steak and Dog smells it, he will totally get a couple of bites. His pleasure. Then he’s on to his kibble if he’s hungry. My compromise.
I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Don and Fluffy this softball season. We'll probably have many more conversations about life and dogs. Just one of the many joys that Dog has brought to my life.