Major League Baseball players know their swing can be the difference in being a great hitter or being sent down to the minor leagues.

Major League Baseball players know their swing can be the difference in being a great hitter or being sent down to the minor leagues.  Teams have hitting coaches whose job is to find problems with batters’ swings and help them improve.  This is a story that is more about changing your swing than it is baseball.

There is a book I keep in my office at work that I will always treasure; I will often just open it and read a random page or two.  I’ve read it many times.    Today, I first turned to the pages in the book about joy and sorrow.  The author notes, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

I thought about it.

It’s difficult when you see folks on the digging side of that thought; when sorrow is digging into them making room for joy.  It’s even more difficult when it’s you or someone you love being dug into.

Then I thought about Daddy’s baby sister, my “Aunt Ruby.”  You probably have someone close to you that comes to mind.

How can she be so doggone happy all the time? 

It can be the worst of situations and Aunt Ruby will quote a Bible verse and say “GIG,” meaning “God is good.”

Then again, perhaps the answer possibly is knowing sorrow has made room for all this joy and happiness.  She has lost many of her loved ones including a grandson and a husband much too early in their lives.

She keeps going and keeps saying how blessed she is.

Recently, Aunt Ruby’s health hasn’t been so good, but you’d never know it.  A day or two before she had to check into the hospital, she was sitting in the car with her daughter watching the local junior college play baseball. 

She noted, “We parked near the outfield, it was a gorgeous day, God outdid Himself today!”

Perhaps it was because “her boys” won.  None are related to her, they just play in the rural Alabama town where she now lives. Honestly, I think if either team won, she would be just as happy.

She loves baseball. 

She still watches her grandsons when her health permits and watched her son and husband play the game.  Her son played college basketball.  “The Georgia Peach,” Ty Cobb told the St. Louis Cardinals to give her husband a shot to play baseball many years ago.

They did and he played for awhile but never made it to the big leagues, perhaps he had an issue with his swing.  Aunt Ruby’s husband came from a baseball family; his uncle had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  His uncle, Jake Daniel is still the only professional baseball player to come out of Roanoke, Alabama (Population ~ 6000). 

After spending time with the Dodgers, Jake came back south to play and coach for many of the southern minor league teams that were prevalent in the 1940’s and 50’s.  As a matter of fact, at age 42 in his last season, he hit .284 for Vidalia (GA) in the Georgia State League.  From Brooklyn to Vidalia, sounds like he knew what he wanted to do.

Aunt Ruby knew what she wanted from Jake Daniel’s nephew also.

As my Daddy used to say about his baby sister, “When she gets something on her mind, Ruby is going to do it.”  Back in 1951, Aunt Ruby’s boyfriend at the time made the mistake of stopping by the drugstore where she was working to introduce her to a sailor friend of his named Bobby.

With her quoting those Bible verses all the time, you would think Aunt Ruby would take things kind of slow.

She didn’t in 1951.

She went out with her boyfriend one more time to let him down gently and then married my Uncle Bob (Bobby) about a month later.

She moved fast.  As she would say, “God is good” (especially when you’re in a hurry).

They had three children and were happily married until Uncle Bob’s untimely death in 1989 at age 58.  His “Uncle Jake,” the Brooklyn Dodger would die six years later at age 84.

In 2006, Aunt Ruby lost a grandson in an automobile accident.  He was 22.

I’m sure you or folks you know have suffered similar heartaches.  It’s tough.  Sometimes you want to say, “I’m tired of this sorrow shovel digging room for joy. Just stop and let me try to fill this hole with happiness.”

Everybody needs an “Aunt Ruby.”  You watch her filling in that hole and trying to find the good in everything.

In her most recent trip to the hospital which she refers to as “The Spa,” she not only found joy, but also “a blessing.”  Her nurse’s last name was “Blessing.”  That could only happen to your Aunt Ruby.

It makes me wonder what she could have done for Ty Cobb’s soul (as everyone knows, in addition to being the best player of his era, he also was known to play dirty and use foul language).

“The Spa” couldn’t hold Aunt Ruby.  She was back again on the porch in her yellow swing in a day or so sitting with her cat, “Sister Sarah.” Hopefully, Sister Sarah has been “fixed” and doesn’t give birth to any “Isaac’s.”  One cat is more than enough in my opinion.

Aunt Ruby loves her porch swing. She had stored it for awhile. Her daughters talked her into hanging up again and painting it yellow to make it look “happier.”  You see this baseball player gave her that swing, but never got around to painting it.  They had three kids and a wonderful life together after courting for all of a month.

Things get to moving fast, you don’t time to paint or change your swing; you just count your blessings along the way.

But Uncle Bob would know, their children would know and we all know that porch swing will always be the perfect swing with Aunt Ruby sitting in it.

I looked back in the book again where the author, Kahlil Gibran described “love.”  He spoke of what your desires should be, including one that struck me - “To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving…”

There you go.

Aunt Ruby does just that.  Each morning, she and Sister Sarah enjoy a cup of coffee, Uncle Bob’s perfect swing and another day of loving.

If we really think about it, we all should try.

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