Friday, June 09, 2006

No Pain, No Gain

While playing basketball in High School a teammate of mine passed me a high-speed pass from only two feet away … right at my face. Being relatively quick I got my hands up in time to catch the ball and save a broken nose. But … in that fraction of a second that my hands went from my sides to my face to catch the ball, my left-hand thumbnail caught my tooth. (Read that sentence again) The quickness of my hands in saving my face ripped my thumbnail off my thumb. Well, not quite off my thumb, there was still a bit attached at the base of the nail hanging on like a leech to my skin. Stunned, I stopped the game, and walked over to my coach expecting sympathy and maybe a hospital visit. He looked at me, looked at the thumb, looked at me again and then grabbed the dangling nail and pulled it the rest of the way off my thumb. YEEEEEOOOOW! He then put a band-aid on it, wrapped it in tape and told me to get back into the game.

I was at my favorite Denny’s getting breakfast when my waitress sat down across from me in tears and told this story. Her granddaughter asked her if she could move in with her along with her six-month-old great-granddaughter. The waitress said no because she believed her granddaughter needed to get her life straight, quit partying, quit drinking, quit hanging with the wrong men, and take responsibility for her child. Basically her granddaughter wanted a free place to live and a free babysitter so she could party. Grandma said “no.” She was babysitting three times a week while her granddaughter worked but now the granddaughter is punishing her by never letter her see the baby again. At least that is the threat. She asked, in tears, if she did the right thing. I told her my thumbnail story and the rough, thick nail that reminds me of the pain often. She said she was so upset that she missed work for two days and still doesn’t feel like being there. I told her I understood, that she did the right thing, that the pain was right and okay, but that she had to get back into the game. I then told her that I didn’t think the ban from her great-granddaughter would be permanent and she agreed. She wiped the tears with her Denny’s apron and thanked me.

When I left Denny’s I left a big tip and noticed she was making the other people she was serving smile and calling them “honey” again. I looked at my thumb and smiled – she was back in the game.

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