I don’t like to boast, but I believe I may just be the holder of a world record. It all has to do with broken windows.
The pitch I was perfecting at the time was the O’Fishell atomic curveball. Now, my brother viewed playing sports with the same enthusiasm associated with removing wood ticks from our mixed-breed* dog, Smuff. So I turned elsewhere.
“How about you?” I asked, looking to my left. The only response I got was a blank stare, which I suppose was to be expected since I was speaking to a brick fireplace chimney. It was the only solid surface I could find to serve as an automatic ball return.
I paced off the right amount of distance and then went into imaginary play-by-play broadcast mode.
Fishell steps back on the rubber, sets, winds up, and delivers. The pitch is high . . .
The last portion of this sequence had nothing to do with my curveball, which was actually quite low. Rather, this describes the tone of my mother’s voice seconds after the sound of breaking glass drifted her way inside the house.
“How many times have we told you not to throw that ball against the chimney?” she cried. “Look what you’ve done this time—you’ve smashed the basement window!”
Something appears to be wrong with Fishell, said the imaginary sportscaster.
“Something must be wrong with you!” Mom continued. “Now, go to your room!”
What’s this? Fishell is being yanked from the game!
“So tell the whole world, why don’t you?” I grumbled to the sportscaster as I made my way off the pitching mound.
This was not the first nor the last window I broke with my atomic curveball. My career as a baseball window smasher reached its zenith when I demolished the school door—from the inside—with that same pitch. I usually blame my catcher, Tom “Tomahawk” Stiles, for missing that particular ball. The fact that I was hurling the thing at warp speed down a school hallway is secondary to my catcher’s inability to catch a ball thrown a mere 23 feet away from its intended target.
Looking back, I now realize something I didn’t back then. Not only am I probably a broken window record-holder, but I just may be largely responsible for my father’s unswerving commitment to Jesus Christ. The way I see it, if Dad had charged me for every window I had broken, I would still be sending him a monthly payment. As it turned out, thanks to my frequent errant throws, my dad came to fully understand the meaning of grace. I am sure his reasoning went something like this:
Let’s see, Randy currently owes me somewhere around $3 million for broken windows. But he will never be able to pay me back, so I will be gracious and forgive his debt. Eureka! This must be the meaning of “grace”!
This, of course, all ran through my father’s mind sometime after he had administered the appropriate discipline, which I do not care to discuss in this column.
Yes, just as the Bible points out in so many places, grace is an amazing and wonderful thing. I am just glad I was able to help my father understand that fact.
*Typically this denotes a canine that is brainless but irresistible, although sometimes the latter may not apply.