If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?
Actually over my lifetime I’ve done a little bit of all of them that are mentioned in the prompt. I never built a house but did enough remodeling to build a couple. I built an apartment from nothing but four walls; performing all the building skills. I had some help with drywall, though. I built a garage from bottom to top. When it comes down to it, carpentry would be the trade that I would have liked to have been really good at. And I suppose many might feel the same way.
When I was a boy I wanted most to be a major league baseball player. Here is a story of what happens to nearly all dreams of little boys.
Joey looked at an old tattered glove hanging on the wall of his Grandpa’s den.
“Grandpa, why don’t you throw that ball glove away?” Joey said. “It’ looks like it went through the war.”
“What! Throw that glove away,” Grandpa said. “That glove is a part of baseball history. They Baseball Hall of Fame has offered me big money for it. I’ll never give it up. In fact some day it may be yours.”
“I don’t want that ole thing,” Joey said. “You cant’ catch anything with it. It’s about to fall apart.”
“Come here and set down.” Grandpa said.
Joey sat on a chair next to Grandpa’s desk. Grandpa handed him the glove.
“That ole glove has been everywhere,” Grandpa said. “It was in the 1961 World Series. I made the winning catch with that glove.”
“I didn’t know you played baseball in the majors,” Joey said.
“Mantle was at bat,” Grandpa said. “Two down and two on; the score tied. Mantle hit shot to left center. Nobody thought it could be caught. They were already popping the corks on the Champagne in the Yankee dressing room when ole Grandpa ran the ball down, dove, and caught it.”
Joey examined the glove closely and saw everything in his imagination that his Grandpa just told him.
Grandpa smiled. “Mantle was number 7.”
“The next year I was moved to third,” Grandpa said. “They tried to make me get a new glove. There was no way. We were in a one game playoff in ’62; tied for first at the end of the season with the Giants. Mays is on second. Cepeda at the plate. Mays lead is almost a half-way to third. He’s gone with the pitch. I’m playing the line at third. Cepeda hits a liner right over the bag. It sinks and takes a hop and squirts down the foul line. I dive for the ball. If I don’t get it, it goes to the corner and Mays scores the winning run. I snag it. Get to my feet; there’s no time to get Cepeda at first, but Mays is rounding third and heading for home like a mad bull. He thinks the ball got by me. I throw a strike to home and Mays is tagged out.”
“Wow, Grandpa,” Joey said. “This glove has a lot of history. I can see why you want to hang on to it.”
Joey’s dad, Mike, walked in the room. “Careful with how you handle that glove, Joey. Grandpa gave that to me years ago.”
“Yeah,” Joey said. “He told me all about it.”
“Did he tell you about the diving catch of a line drive by Hank Aaron that kept the Braves out of the ’63 World Series?” Mike said.
“No,” Joey said.
“Well I bet he told you about the time he made a leaping catch off the bat of Ernie Banks in Wrigley Field in ’60,” Mike said.
“No,” I didn’t hear that one,” Joey said.
“Well,” Mike said and winked at Grandpa. “Grandpa gave me that glove and that’s the very glove I caught a line drive from George Brett that was going over the bag at second. I made stumbling catch, KC lost the game, and Brett‘s average dipped below .400.”
“That glove has too much history to be thrown away,” Joey said.
“I think it’s time we give it to you,” Mike said. “I think it still has a few good catches left in it.”
“This has got to be the greatest glove ever,” Joey said.
“Let me tell you one more thing about that glove,” Grandpa said. “My dad bought that glove for me. He didn’t want to buy it, because he said I’d never use it. He said I’d loose interest in baseball and go on to something else. I told him, ’Daddy, if you buy me that glove I promise I’ll be a big league player someday.”
Grandpa went to the window and looked into the backyard. “Look Joey, Cabrera is coming up to the plate. You got get out there. I’m putting you in the game.”
Joey grabbed the glove. “Cabrera has to be stopped and I‘m the man to do it.”