‘Never give up’

“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.”

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige

On one of my family’s annual spring vacations to Florida, my father took me to see a minor-league baseball game. I don’t remember the year, though it probably was in the late ‘6os, nor do I recall the visiting team. But the home team was the Daytona Beach Dodgers, a Class A affiliate of the LA Dodgers.

Our seats were in the first row, along the third-base line behind the dugout. Whenever the visitors were at bat, an older black man served as third-base coach, his ill-fitting uniform draped over round shoulders, smiling, clapping, interacting with fans when they shouted his name.


My father informed me that the third-base coach was one Satchel Paige. While that meant nothing to me at the time, it at least was clear that he (and those admiring fans) held Paige in high regard.

This morning I overheard someone invoke his name, repeating a line familiar to me. I’ve included the full quote above, as transcribed in 1959 by Hal Boyle of the Associated Press.

Find another way. That means a lot to me these days.

We live, we experience, we react and, one way or another, we keep living. How we do that matters.

James Carville and Paul Begala penned Buck Up, Suck Up, and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room in 2002. Trey Gowdy’s latest book is Start, Stay or Leave:: The Art of Decision Making. This morning my e-mails held a message from The Art of Manliness“The Art of Moving On: When and How to Disengage From a Goal.”

The self-help world is full of advice on how to do something. These authors all counsel us on how to do something else.

Never give up and sit down and grieve. Satch didn’t caution us not to grieve too long — he said never give ourselves permission to wallow.

Keep living. Keep moving.

Do something else. I probably don’t have to draw you a picture of why that’s especially relevant to Deb and me right now.

This was a very good day, top to bottom, but the very best part happened early this morning.

Smudge takes her meals in her crate. When all three dogs are done eating, we put Scout and Dipstick up on the couch (for their protection) before releasing the happy Heeler.

After breakfast today, Deb was preparing to lift Scout when this two-legged geriatric wonder jumped onto the couch. On her own. With a matching pair of blown-out knees.

The sight moved my missus and me to tears. Our girl Scout continues to amaze, over-achieve, ignore her disability and just live. We’re incredibly proud of her.

Satchel Paige would be, too.

We took another drive east today. Again we detoured to one of the Crooked Creek access points, finding the stream running strong but a bit lower than last time. Because the level was down, the clear-running creek babbled over its rocky bed, sweet music to our ears.

Eventually we made it over to Gassville. For a change, this time it had nothing to do with the fifth-wheel — we returned to the wood-salvage yard we’d visited the day that Smudge was spayed. See, we have company coming next week, they’ll be visiting The Mountain, and we figured we oughta have a proper place to enjoy a picnic.

We saw and were intrigued by the yard’s rustic tables the first time we dropped by, and Deb found out that they were on sale (while their small supply lasted). When we got there we still had a few to choose from, ultimately picking one in unfinished red cedar.

The kind woman working out front helped me load it into the bed. I strapped it down and we trucked it up to the homesite.

I want to say right here that while we’ll be building other tables for The Mountain, it felt good to buy this one from a small local business. It’s a modest operation, crafting simple outdoor furniture from trees and reclaimed lumber they mill themselves. Just right.

Before unloading our new table, I had work to do. First, we chose a spot just off the north end of the driveway, and then I set about the task of clearing a suitable space — removing downed branches, trimming overhanging limbs and rolling a couple of large rocks away down the slope.

Leveraging the table out of the truck and into place, I leveled it with a couple of flat rocks. It may not stay there forever, but we think it’s perfect where it is for now.

Up at Deb’s cousin’s place later, Smudge displayed her customary antisocial behavior toward his dogs. We had her leashed. But then, unexpectedly, she got loose — and her aggressive façade turned immediately to playfulness. She and the others raced around the driveway and the nearby woods, rolling each other and generally just being dogs.

Frankly, our Smudge puppy got her ass kicked. That was a good thing.

When we left, we stopped on the homesite to consult with our septic guy about installing a cleanout that’ll let us connect the fifth-wheel’s waste-water drain. He’ll get it done this weekend.

That conversation took all of ten minutes. For the next two hours we talked about everything under the sun. It was that kind of day. He’s that kind of guy.

As we wheeled back toward Harrison, the puppy was so gassed that she couldn’t hold her head up. I looked over to catch her with her snout smooshed against the dash, fast asleep.

Y’know what? Life is good.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB