What Could Be

When I was a kid, I dreamt of what could be.

On laundry day, I’d thunk the iron down on yet another of my father’s shirts and conjure up a magical closet, one that would sanitize clothes and shake out wrinkles, all with the press of a button.

When my arms ached late at night from holding a book above my head, I’d imagine a futuristic book, one suspended at just the right distance above me, that would turn its pages with the double-blink of my eyes.

And when I longed for the mountains of Western Maryland, I’d concoct a personal aircraft, something like a closed-in version of a flying carpet, that could transport me 500 miles in ten minutes. I’d drop in at my grandparents for apple butter on home-baked bread, and be back home in time for bed, even on a school night.

But in all my daydreams, I never imagined last Thursday evening.

First, my daughter texted me: Micah’s playing in a basketball tournament tonight. Want to watch?

I did.

So on my computer, I logged onto the NFHS Network. And there in my lap, I held, not only my grandson Micah, but his entire basketball team as they dribbled and passed and shot and rebounded balls, almost 500 miles away in Illinois.

Micah had just swished a three-pointer, when my phone rang.

“Christy’s hosting an apartment concert,” said my sister. “Want to join?”

I did.

So I logged onto Zoom and propped my phone beside the computer.

With the basketball game in Illinois muted, I could hear the exquisite sounds of my niece’s violin as she played for her guests in Washington, D.C. Christy’s violin has many voices, haunting and sad and shimmering and urgent. And she used all these voices to tell the Christmas story.

With the basketball swishing and the violin strings vibrating, I sat there in a marvel. This I had never imagined.

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