Growing-up in Louisville, Kentucky meant that March was the second most important time of the year; college basketball was in full swing. The road to the Final Four was busy with contenders and pretenders. The Kentucky Derby was the only thing that was more sacred to a Kentucky kid. Back home, during football and basketball season, you picked your colors early; my dad and I wore red and black, just like Oly wears.
Oly was born in September and we welcomed him home to the Cirql H with much anticipation. Louisville football was on a streak and was in the process of completing one of the best seasons in school history. On game day, we would lay Oly between some stacked-up pillows, turn on the TV and let him listen to the announcers.
(I know, I know, don’t worry, Meg read all those books too; we only exposed him for a few minutes.)
That’s where the pencil comes in. Oly was about ten days old when my brother and his family came to meet our new son. It was like a visit from a group of Whirling Dervishes; they twirled and spun through the air as they explored the virtues of the Cirql H. At times, they would stand completely still in some awkward position until the so-called leader would bark out some order, then they would whirl away in different directions.
Anyway, these people, with their pencil, would gather and drink coffee in our guest cabin every morning. I thought they were bonding as a family, but they were scheming. Ya see, this family wears blue, a lot of blue. It’s like they couldn’t find anything to go with their jeans.
I can hear them now, “How long do you think it will take Uncle George to find this blue pencil?” they would have asked.
“It’ll be here next time we visit,” another might speculate.
I’ll tell ya, they weren’t to the end of my driveway when Oly started pointing at the book shelf in the cabin, as if something was wrong, way wrong. That blue pencil was sticking out like a thumb that had been smashed with a hammer.
Over time, as the Cardinals continued to win, I toiled with different ideas on the fate of that blue pencil. Is it destined to write Cards Win a thousand times, or simply be sharpened until there is no blue left? It seems as if it has become a good luck charm in its new home out in the garage.