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Father Time passes down his lessons

December 31, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

Early this morning, I stopped by to see my wife JoAnn while she was at work at Washington County Hospital. While, I waited for her, I decided to sit in the waiting area and watch the world go by.

An older man caught my eye. Poor guy. He looked like he had walked in front of Randy Moss' car, or was practicing the latest Tony Hawk skateboard moves on gravel.

He sported a long, white beard and a cane. He was bruised and scratched and his shirt was tattered. I couldn't help but notice the "2002" tattooed on his arm.

He staggered over and grabbed a seat next to a baby which couldn't have been more than a couple of days old. The kid was cute, bundled in his diaper and yawning from his nap. There, on his little chest, was a birthmark that looked like an "'03."

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"Boy, are you a cute one," the old guy said, shaking his head at the newest kid on the block. "They seem to get younger every year. Let me tell you, Kid, you have wild and wonderous times ahead of you.

"Let me introduce myself. My friends call me 'Deuce.'"

The newborn gurgled.

"I hope you don't mind if I call you 'Trey,'" he said.

"Well Trey, let me tell you, it's been a really long year. Still, where did the time go? I don't know how you age so quickly, but it happens."

Deuce has the wisdom of a Father, but Time was fleeting.

He winced.

"Let me tell you. This getting old isn't easy," Deuce said. "Just the war wounds I have from following sports for the last 12 months ...

"You see this bruise," Deuce said, pointing at his arm. "... I got it trying to get a parent to calm down so they wouldn't ruin things for their kid.

"And this black eye ... it's healing after I coaxed baseball to avoid another strike. It's still hurting from when the All-Star Game ended in a tie, though.

"My ears are swollen from me cupping my hands over them to avoid the trash and ill-will of the present-day athlete. I can't believe what they say and how they talk. Such disrespect."

Trey stared at Duece as if he was taking all this in.

"My knees ache from praying for the times to get better," Duece said. "Now, I've been having trouble with my heart. It's been heavy after the loss of some of the greats of all time, like Ted Williams, Johnny Unitas and Bob Hayes. They were real sportsmen from a time forgotten.

"And my fingers. They're raw from grabbing at straws with every ounce of my strength," Deuce said, shaking his hands. "Baseball is going to leave this town, you know. Both me and this town have a backbone problem ..."

Deuce tried to catch his wind. His ribs were sore and his breath was getting short. You see, so was his time.

"I'm 365 today, you know," he said. "It's time for a change. Hey Trey, it's all yours. Just be careful and use your time wisely. Your replacement isn't due until next year."

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. You can reach him at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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