Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday in San Saba.

Yep, it's Friday, and I had to drive out to San Saba to make up a few of the classes I've missed this month. No problem. Gives me a chance to catch up with my buddy John, who spent last week on a hunting trip out west, and also to go to the Dairy Mart and get another one of those wonderful jalapeno sourdough bacon cheeseburgers. Mmmmm, good!

This week's been busy, with me gettin' started with my new Ft. Hood classes. But along with work, there's also been fun.

I played pool Wednesday night, after driving back to Killeen from my evening class here in Saba. I got there at about 9:15 and sat there, drinkin' a beer and smokin' a cigar, watchin' my teammates play before my match came up. When my time finally came up, I ended up havin' to play another 5. But it was fun. I played well, and I kinda had a revelation along the way.

For those of you who don't know, pool players, like golfers, are handicapped based on skill levels. I think it probably ranges between a 1 and a 10. Right now I'm a 3, which means, depending on which version of me shows up that night, I'll ether suck, or I'll play really well. It's a toss up, but lately I've been doing well. The last two weeks I played well enough to beat two guys who, based on their ranking, should have beaten me easily (the best players around here, that I ever see anyway, are all 7s).

Anyway, all of that ranking means that different players with different skill levels have to win different numbers of games in a match to win the match. This last Wednesday night, I was in the middle of my second game. The guy I was playing is another 5. He's really good, but I've beaten him before.

In the first game he'd just about cleared the table. I thought I was screwed. All of my balls were still out there but he'd sunk most of his. Still, I ended up sinking all of mine before he could finish his and then I sank the 8 ball to win. My team leader, Dave, smiled and cheered me on while my opponent racked the balls for the second game. I couldn't believe I'd pulled it out.

In the second game, we started out the exact same way. He sank all but one of his balls before I had a chance to sink anything. But I still came back to win. He ended up being blocked from having too many clear shots, what with all of mine still out there, And he tried too many fancy shots, with me standin' there and wonderin' why he didn't just shoot. Then, with victory in sight, he missed the 8 ball about three times, which gave me a chance to sink the rest of mine and bank the 8 ball for another win. That was the match. He had to win five games, but I only had to win two, so it was two and out. I couldn't believe it.

Somewhere in there, thinking about it all, I guess I had an epiphany. I stood there, drawin' on my cigar, watchin' him try to sink the 8, and thought to my self "Well, I guess it really doesn't matter how it starts, does it?" I thought about it some more, lettin' the notion sink in. "Nope," I thought. "It really doesn't matter how things start. It matters how they end!" Damn strait! That's a fact.

You know, I've gone on and on now and then, talkin' about how I've pissed away so much of my life. 30 years, give or take, bein' stupid, hidin' in my room. Well, I guess the lesson from the match pertains to this as well. It really doesn't matter. Folks, good friends have told me that before, but it's hard to accept, me knowin' how much fun my friends have had in their lives. It's hard not to get depressed, thinkin' about all that time I can't get back. But I guess it really doesn't matter how things start. What matters is how they finish. I guess that'll be my new mantra.

Maybe some day, some kid will look up at me and wish he could have a life as rich as mine has been. I won't tell him about the thirty years... or maybe I will. It'd be a great lesson. It's all about the here and now, right? It's all about how the rest of your life works out. It's a journey, right? And the journey isn't even close to bein' over.

Well, I've got to head back to the jail now. My 5:30 class will end at 8pm and then I'll drive home to Killeen. The weekend will be good. there are no trips planned. The fishing trip up to see GuyK in Oklahoma was cancelled. They had to go home early. So I'll do some work on a toilet, replacing the innards. I'll work on my garage tonight, making room for my new safe, which will be delivered Saturday morning. And I may take a trip up to Gatesville. Dave Waters has ordered me another M-1 Garand, a Winchester, and it's come in. And then there's dinner with Denise and Mom on Saturday.

So, you guys have a great weekend, and we'll see you next week. I'll post more shots from Orlando then. Cheers!


Walrilla said...

No regrets, my friend, no regrets. If it wasn't wasted one way, it'd only be wasted some other way. Don't look back in regret at what you didn't do, only at how much fun you had doing what you did.

As has been written, no one gets out of here alive, so grab all the gusto you can, when you can.

FHB said...

Thanks man. No regrets.