OPINION VERSUS REALITY

“I thought all white women woke up with their hair perfect in the morning,” my black friend responded to my praises for Pantene Root Lifter. I thought it was a joke, but she was serious. I’ve been hanging out with her family for over forty years and I was stunned by her comment, having struggled with thin, lifeless hair until I discovered permanents in my forties. The point is that we didn’t know each other nearly as well as I thought we did. I’d slept in her bed, eaten at her table and showered in her bathroom and she still thought my hair was perfect in the morning! What we had was a misunderstanding between thinking we knew one another and knowing one another.

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“Put me in, Coach. I’m ready to play today.”

I wasn’t born yet! (And I don’t say that often anymore.) So, although my parents were baseball nuts, I don’t remember the names of the 1919 White Sox, called the Black Sox, because they threw the World Series. But I do remember the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner’s character hears a voice in his cornfield demanding, “If you build it, he will come.” Passionate for the first time in his life, Costner builds a baseball field and waits. His reward is the arrival of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a member of the Black Sox, back from the dead ready to play ball. Joe Jackson is joined by Eddie Cicotte, Buck Weaver, Arnold “Chick” Gandil, “Swede” Risberg and other once great players whose names no one knows. Costner’s sense of awe and his appreciation for the skill of the early players grows with the arrival of each one of them. (My awe as to how they arrived from the dead was not part of the movie.)

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