Indiana Shooting Hoops
When I was a teenager I used to shoot baskets on the play ground across the street from St Joseph grade school ion Mishawaka. Indiana the Hoosier Hysteria State, it was in my soul. I was a really good shooter. Won many games of 21 and “HORSE”. One day an older kid showed up on the playground to shoot baskets. I discovered he was pretty darn good at shooting hoops. As we played games I became frustrated because he could shoot as well as I did but just a bit better. Gosh darn it he would win. He lived in the house on the alley next to the play ground. I new John because we both had paper routes and paper routes teach work ethics. Later in life I would find this fellow John would find his way back into my life.
The Home Town Alley:
On this same alley lived another kid. His name was Orville McIntyre. His father was killed in World War II. We used to play a lot of hoops games during the summer months. Later during the school year he told me was working as a skate boy at the Bock Roller rink and wanted me to come with him. One day while we were shooting hoops, Judy Hartman walked down the alley to her home on another corner of the alley. Following her was another younger girl. Orville told me she was a daughter of the Bock’s Roller rink. Oh my what lies ahead?
Bock’s Roller Rink / Music Dance:
Somehow I managed to find my way to Bock’s Roller Rink. This is where I first encountered Judy Bock. She was an excellent skater, in fact far far better than that. She skated with a graceful flow and powerful. In those days the rink had an organist in the evenings. During each evening they had special couple dance skates. I still remember the Waltz and the Fox Trot. Every once in a while Fred Back would skate with his daughters. It was just beautiful. I can still see them. Yea Fred had another daughter. Her name was Lynn. We managed to become boy friend and girl friend. Everyone in the rink knew when we had a spiff. Lynn would sit in a corner of the rink and not skate. Oh boy am I in trouble now.
Life’s Rocky Road Fast Forward:
Fast forward, Judy gets married and before long she has her first child – Kim. Somebody put rocks in the road? I don’t know what happened but just it happened and divorce followed.
After high school and a couple years in college I joined the air force. After being assigned my first station I returned home and in January of 1966 we were married. Funny how things occur.
Military Service – Air Force and He’s Back:
While I was busy playing Air Force duties this guy John (from shooting basketballs) somehow came onto the seen without my knowledge. The next thing I know Judy and John are getting hitched in May 1966. Later another baby shows up – she is named Kelly.
A True Art Form handed Down:
I can still remember the the grace of flow of Judy’s skating – I observed a kind of sparkle that radiated from her as I observed Judy skate. Oh Yes, I saw it in Judy’s kids. But so much more than that. I see it today in Kim and Kelly’s kids – the grand kids and great grand kids. It is the sparkle of new life sparkle that is enhanced by surviving a struggle and a trip through the valleys of tears. It is a sparkle that shines ever more brightly where the one who discovers it finds strength, courage and yes grace that can only be found after surviving life’s trials. Abundant blessing if one can only open the spiritual door.
Catholic – A Call to Service – ND Hats:
I am a Roman Catholic and was Ordained a Deacon in 1995. Funny how John who shot baskets with me on the play ground across the street from St. Joseph School eventually went to work for the Sisters on the Hill in Mishawaka. And then he became an regular usher at the University of Notre Dame. Is he Catholic? Do you know catholic means universal? John would send me Notre Dame baseball hats – really nice hats. He may not know it but I wore those hats until my wife secretly threw them out.
Spiritual One Flesh – the Family:
Things one remembers! Judy and John were the symbol of the “one flesh” found in the book of Genesis. Their children are gifts of new life and they themselves have created renewed life. Precious beyond imagination are those lives. Sparkle is the word I use. Yes I see sparkle – in the midst of the sparkle I see Hope beyond imagination. It is a spiritual thing that requires eyes and ears that have traveled troubled rocky roads to the depths of ones bones where one finally encounters gifts and talents hidden from the view of human eyes and ears.
To be Born Again – Death necessary to birth New Life:
To be born again one must die. Death is not an end! A grain of wheat must be crushed and broken before it become flour and only then has the potential to birth the bread of life. A grape must be crushed and broken as well to give up the precious juices with the potential to become the finest of wines to drink. Both must die in order to birth abundant New Life.
Crushed and Broken Open the Hidden Door:
Life is about small deaths necessary to create the potential for new life and life ever lasting. Hidden in the story of life are crushing memories and moments necessary to open the only doors where one can discover talents and gifts planted and hidden in the beginning.
Tears – the Water of Baptism – Cleaning ones soul – Rejoice:
Tears are a sign of being born again where the waters of baptism wash our spirits clean to refresh our souls preparing us to continue the journey on the road to new life. As hard as it is this day might be! Rejoice and be Glad
Death Opens the Doorway that sets one free:
Death can not swallow up Life. Death can only set one free to soar on the wings of dove.
Yes, no matter your struggle, God really does love you!