I don’t feel much like closing out my Bob Bigelow series this week as planned. I’ll pick it back up again once 2012 is tucked in and falls asleep for good.
So, I’m sitting here in my cozy office, inside my little home, on the edge of a tiny dot on the map called Unionville.
Several months ago I redecorated the office. Well, first I insisted that it no longer be referred to as the den. One does not write a column or sell houses while sitting in the middle of a den. And by redecorating, I mean surrounding myself with things that make me happy. Or objects that reinforce who I am, what I represent, and what I dream of becoming.
Straight ahead are two small posters of Eli Manning on the front of the Daily News holding his Super Bowl MVP trophies. The first one reminds me of that Sunday in 2008 when along with my dad, my wife, and my sons, I watched a most improbable result in a living room barely large enough to seat us all and definitely not big enough for the chaos that followed the final play.
We didn’t all watch the second win together. But my sons dragged me along to the victory parade in New York and managed to keep me from getting into any trouble.
To the right is a bookshelf. On the bottom shelf are the coloring supplies and the first stop for my granddaughter when she visits. There are pictures higher up. Most of the family is represented (Note to Self: Get pictures of brother and Dad).
There’s a collage of The Boy through the years. Several are from his bratty stage when even I didn’t want to coach him. Back then I’d jokingly ask if there were any rules in place stating that a dad had to draft his own child. I remember the year, the coach, and the sport when it all changed for him.
There’s a picture of me and the great sportswriter/broadcaster/author, Dick Schaap arm and arm in Atlanta about ten months before his untimely death. Reading and listening to Schaap and Frank Deford as a kid taught me that there was another layer of sports that existed beyond the obvious display of athleticism.
“My writing improved the more I wrote — and the more I read good writing, from Shakespeare on down.”
- Dick Schaap
On the little bureau that I’ve had since I was a kid is an old Royal typewriter. A Facebook friend gave it to me when she read that I was in search of one. We are on opposite sides of the gun issue and we voted for different men to lead our country. But we are on the same side as far as community service and making our dot on the map a better place for our children.
On top on the typewriter sits Kermit the Frog. And to his right, hanging from the ceiling is a big stuffed Kermit head. Jim Henson created worlds where both children and adults could meet and leave with unforced messages of acceptance, hopes and dreams as well as how to dazzle in a place of imperfect beings.
“Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.”
- Jim Henson
Behind me are mementos of my time spent with MudHogs Youth Football & Cheerleading: a helmet; photos; framed gifts; and an engraved rock. It is stuff that makes me feel good about how I’ve spent some of my time as an adult and as a parent.
My favorite Norman Rockwell painting is just over my left shoulder. It’s the one with the various faces of an entire planet. And the inscription reads: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Often referred to as The Golden Rule, it’s my reminder to always consider an opposing opinion or view. I work on this daily.
There’s more inspiration: Dr. Seuss books; a Determination plaque; a Seize the Day bookmark; and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost — at eye level. Eight speakers, several orphaned at some point, surround my ears with words that penetrate best while surfing on the top of melodic waves.
And finally to my left, a framed black and white photo of Martin Luther King Jr. with the words to his entire I Have a Dream speech. It’s more than inspiration; it’s the foundation of a struggle that continues today.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’m just a guy sitting here in my office, surrounded by things that make me feel happy and people who make me feel loved. But I, too, am now more fearful of each interruption of the day’s newsfeed. And I now hear sirens that would normally blend in with the thoughts of the moment.
Embrace all that makes you whole. Enjoy your surroundings. Don’t waste another bitter moment. They are all precious. They are only ours for a limited time.