The other day I hauled my bod out of bed bright and early to play some tennis. I was feeling chipper. The weather was perfect. I had my morning coffee. This had all the earmarks of a good day.
Trouble is I looked at the morning paper before I left to play tennis. There on the front page was the sad story of a very sick man who had sexually abused some young boys at Penn State.
Phooey! My heart went into free fall. Damn! Why? What makes grown men sink so low as to take away the innocence of children? I could feel my upbeat mood going south. Some days you're better off NOT reading the paper.
In a considerably more subdued frame of mind, I drove to the tennis courts, hopeful that some vigorous exercise might put the thought of wounded children behind me.
As I made my way to the tennis courts, I noticed that the sprinklers were still on, spilling water on to the walkway and making a good-sized puddle. A young dad and his little kid were seizing the moment to have some fun. The boy had discovered the wonders of a puddle of water. SPLASH! SPLASH! went the kid through the puddle. He laughed as he splashed and splashed as he laughed. This kid was having a ball.
So was his dad. After watching his son for a while, the dad got into the act, too. Both father and son stomped on that puddle scattering water in all directions, on their shoes, on their clothes and all over the place. I thought to myself the kid's mom probably will probably be doing the laundry for both her children. No matter. There are moments in life way too precious to let a little dirty laundry get in the way.
Two more of our tennis group came by and they, too, paused to take in the sight of a little kid and his dad having a good old fashioned hoot. They smiled as I did. Looking at the faces of the adults, did I catch just a touch of envy in their eyes, maybe an urge to join the splashers at play?
There popped into my head this fantasy that old Louis Armstrong was up there in heaven singing to the angels my favorite song, "What a Wonderful World."
There's something about the lyrics of that song that has always made me want to pick some flowers or hug a kid or run barefoot in the grass. My imagination boards a space rocket heading to the kind of world we all dream about, for us and for our kids, for everyone.
"The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by. "I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. They're really saying 'I love you.'" YES! You sing it Louis.
The juxta-position of reading the account of child abuse in the paper, hearing the hope-filled words of the song in my head and witnessing the scene of a father and son having their moment of innocent fun, was powerful stuff.