Today in my Minnesota the heat index forecast is 110, with the air temp being around 94. Ok, I know some of you may think that is not hot or humid, but for this very white skinned Norwegian it is HOT. But with this in mind I want to share a great Minnesota summer day from a weekend in 2007.
I remember a perfect Summer Saturday in 2007 .. Sunny, 75 degrees, light breeze, low humidity and I started this day in a perfect way with coffee and the morning paper with my lovely wife Mary.
After this peaceful slow start I was off to my job for the day as an umpire for a 12 yr. and under girls slow pitch softball tournament.
Now on this perfect summer day the games begin at 9:00am. Coaches and parents cheer on their ‘little darlins’ with smiles and encouraging words while the concession stand provides the hot dogs, candy, and pop in a way that gives this day the look of a classic Norman Rockwell painting.
So there you have it.. I am living a life blessed by God on a perfect summer day! Families, sports, summertime food, and I thank God for allowing me to be a part of this. Livin La-Vi-Da-Larson!! Ya-sure u- betcha!
As morning moved to afternoon, and finally evening rolled around it was still a beautiful day. BUT I was on my way to umping 10 games this day to be followed by 7 more on Sunday. The mood and competitive nature of some of the parents and coaches started sliding downhill.
One team in particular that was coached by three ‘gentlemen’ resembling Hell’s Angels (the bikers, not the minions) in both their demeanor and flavor of sportsmanship.
My sunburned body, tired mind and blistered feet are now mumbling over this ‘perfect’ summer day. Perfect summer day? Perfect Summer Day? Why do I have to be outside all day? I am an ‘inside dog’!.. I own a home, and I WANT TO GO TO IT!
Now fast forward to Sunday afternoon, the temperatures are hotter, the breeze is nil, and the humidity is up. So fate finds me umping a very competitive game between two very good teams that goes into extra innings! The joy of summer is back! The parents, kids, and coaches are having the time of their lives with me as the centerpiece enforcing the rules.
But... This Norman Rockwell moment comes crashing to a halt on a very close play at home that I call SAFE! The winning team is exhilarated, while the losing team quickly formed a lynch mob brandishing a hangman's noose created from the belts of parents who were now looking for a tree to STRING ME UP.
This Mob INCLUDES one pretty young mom who walks over to me, points her finger in my face and through her clenched teeth calls me a BLEEPING umpire. For ‘bleeping’ fill in the expletive of your choice.
Just a few short hours later I am welcomed home by my loving wife, my daughter, pizza, a pitcher of ice tea, and a big bottle of ibuprofen. All five are a welcomed sight as this ‘inside dog’ sits in his easy chair with blistered feet up, resting his sunburned body (even my lips are burned), and feeling every bit of my AARP legal existence.
The moral of this story is .. this is a wonderful world God has blessed us with. And a beautiful summer day in Minnesota can be almost Heaven… but 17 games in this Heaven on Earth can be TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING.
May God bless and use you this summer in ways that are BEYOND YOUR DREAMS. May the sun be shining, and the sunblock readily available, may your heat index NOT be 110,... and may no one call you a bleeping umpire!
AND remember there is hot and there is HOT!
Jeff (in the AC now) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson