I wounded my Pony, helping my girls

Rocks rattled and clacked under a big black plastic square attached to a mobile basketball hoop that I was dragging.  February in Colorado offers varied weather on a whim.  Today, there was no need for coats, and the air was still.  My oldest daughter joined her first basketball team this year.  She and her third grade buddies seem to be enjoying it.  They are 1-1.  At the last game you would have thought it was a NBA playoff.  8-9 final score, it was one of the best games I have ever been to.  Yeah, I am that dad.  I have a voice loud as thunder, I am 6’4″ (194 cm) tall, and love my daughters with a vibrant energy.  I love them so much, daily, it makes my heart tremble.

Since I do shift work, I get weekends and weekdays mixed up.  I say things like, “This is my Saturday,” even though for the rest of the world it is Monday.  I made the mistake of telling my middle daughter that we would hit the local gym to shoot some hoops on Monday night, because I thought it was Saturday.  I drive into Denver on Monday’s for college.  My middle daughter wants to play basketball too, and she was heart broken.  She was about to cry and I saw her face crumple and her lips tremble.

I sat her down, and told her I was sorry, and that I would set up our hoop at home, in the garage so that they could shoot around even if its cold outside.  When I drug the basketball stand from the back yard to the garage, it didn’t fit by a matter of inches (many cm’s).  So I decided I would put it out at the end of the driveway.  I had pulled my beautiful black pony (Mustang) out of the garage and I had it parked on the street.  I drug the basketball goal out of the garage, and set it at the base of our sloped driveway, to survey some rocks I would have to move to anchor the goal.  In that moment, the mountain air picked up, and the mast of the top heavy basketball goal, began to tremble.

Many years of my adult life has been spent working in industry.  Safety is drilled into my brain.  The statement of “If it falls, don’t try and catch it!”  This applies to “T” heads on industrial printers, carts of glass sheets, motors on hoists, and super sacs on forklifts.  The basketball goal began to fall right behind me.  Like a mighty tree, whose roots has let loose their tight grip of the earth.  I saw it out of the corner of my eye.  It was headed right for my mustang.  All I could do was, say, “No, no…”  It hit my hood in a crash, and slid off the front of the car.  My fists began to tremble.


I went into the house, feeling angry and stupid.  I knew, I just knew, if I made a big deal about this, I would sour my girls hearts about anything and everything basketball.  I love my girls more, much more than my car.  I went to find my wife, she helps a lot in these moments.  When I found her, I said, “Guess what the basketball goal fell on?”  She quickly responded, “Are you ok!?!”  I said, “No, not me, it fell on my car.”  More fear gripped her face, as if to imply, ‘if it hits my husband, he can take a hit.  If it hit his car, there is going to be trouble’.  She quickly said, “Oh no!”  I said, “Don’t worry, I really want the girls to have fun ‘Hoopin’ it up’.  Everything will be ok.  Her warm smile began to tremble.

When my girls got home from school, they dropped their backpacks and ran outside to start shooting around in the street.  New girls sized basketballs, one with pink stripes and the other with blue stripes.  A new net, and an anchored basketball hoop.  I looked at the scarred hood of my sports car.  I felt like Mad Max, with a chewed up black V8 interceptor.  I was the conquering daddy.  The wasteland of disappointment and anger, was conquered.  I watched my girls laughing and shooting baskets, my dark mood lost its hold of my heart.  The trembling of the day, was gone.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

Shifting Perspectives


“It’s got to be black, and have a standard transmission.  If I am going to buy a new mustang, then I am going to do it right.” my neck was hot, and my pulse throbbed in my temple.  “I like to have control, besides it looks cool.”

The salesman didn’t linger, he walked over to a lot tech, “Go and grab that black ECO-Boost from the back lot, I think we found it a home.”

After a three hour volley of negotiations, I finally agreed on a price.  After you buy a car, if the salesman looks like he wants to punch you, and the manager won’t talk to you anymore, you did good.  I could think of a thousand ways to spend a few extra hundred bucks, or a few hundred ways to spend an extra thousand bucks.

“I am in complete control of my life,” I smiled as I rolled down the street in my new fastback.  It smelled like new fabric, and clean rubber.  The radio was loud, it was June, I wouldn’t make it to the end of the year without 2 speeding tickets.

My mind was taking in the moment all around me.  “Better call the wife,” I dialed the phone.  I knew I was going to be in trouble.  There is a reason car dealerships don’t want you to call home to your wife.  She will shut the whole thing down.

“Uh oh,” she said over the phone.  I could feel her emotion over the phone, it was calming and supportive.

“Yeah, when you get home, I wanted to warn you about what is in the driveway.”

“It’s ok, you have been working hard, going back to school, a career change, you’ve earned it.”

“Ok cool! Thank you, I love you” I hung up the phone, I was happy.  I got to stay married and I get to keep on living.  When husbands draw out the ‘I love you’ statement, almost contorting it into a plea of mercy, then you know that they are really feeling guilty, but are glad they are gonna get away with it, this time.

The ‘whisp’ and ‘whoosh’ of the instant turbo boost is intoxicating.  Sammy Hagar is singing about how driving 55 is something, he may not be able to do.

At an intersection, I see a man sitting on a red bucket turned upside down.  The look on his face, takes my breath away.  He looks beaten, hopeless, tired, and ashamed.  The sun is hot today, the car says 94 degrees.  My heart breaks, I have spent my entire day, devoting myself to buying a car I wanted, and didn’t really need. I found a $20 in my wallet. I seemed to snap out of my capitalistic coma,  as I took it out.  I was going to get a burrito and some six dollar coffee, but now I have lost my appetite.  Was this guy, true to his image, or a conman earning an easy buck?  The question didn’t matter anymore.  I considered for a moment that God put me here, in this moment, and all I have to do is acknowledge that I am grateful.  After I hand him the money, his situation is between him and God.  I look at the rainbow glisten in the strip they sew into the money.  I crease it and put it in my left hand, I drive up slowly and stick the money out the window.

“Hey man,  God has blessed me way too much today, I think it is your turn.”

He smiled,  a glimmer grabbed hold of his eye, “God bless you!”

I tried to drive away, but the car lurched and stalled.

Maybe somethings in life, just need to be Automatic.