75 Degrees

It was 75 degrees on Saturday in Dallas. I’m not sure if that temperature was official. It may have been 71 degrees or even 76. I don’t know. But people were saying it was 75 degrees. The sun gleamed, its rays not burning but warming, pleasantly, like it knew not to overstep its boundaries because it was January.

I was at Crooked Tree coffee house. It is not quite like any other coffee house in that it is actually a house. The owners renovated someone’s old home, added tables, beautiful wall paintings, a piano and an espresso machine. I was working on a story I’m freelancing for a running magazine.

I sat next to someone reading a bible who was friends with a person who came in later and would tell me he was going to try and freelance for a new video game magazine. “It’s not like one of those review magazines,” he said. “It’s like a cross between one of those and the New Yorker.” The baristas turned on the air conditioner.

At about four, I left, considering calling a friend to play tennis before nightfall. Then I remembered KU played at six. I tossed my backpack into my car and started driving home, taking a slightly different route than normal. Maybe thirty seconds into the ride, I met eyes with someone walking on the sidewalk. They answered back with a confused look, or at least it seemed that way. Then I realized it. I didn’t have the top down on my car.*

*Damn that line sounds pretentious. My bad. Know that my convertible is a far from glamorous 2004 Mustang, and many make fun of me for owning it, calling it, not incorrectly I suppose, a chick car.

I pulled to the side of the road, unlatched the roof and pressed the button that eased the canvas top into a crevice between the trunk and backseat. I turned up the radio. A song was ending; another was starting, a live version of “Sweet Dreams” by Eurhythmics.

I drove down a bustling street called McKinney Avenue. People were walking and jogging. They wore shorts. Others piled onto the porches of the bars that offered cold refreshments and a taste of the warm air and city views. They wore flip-flops.

When the Eurhythmics track ended, I switched radio stations, and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” came on. I hate that song. But on Saturday I didn’t. It was impossible to find disfavor with anything on this day.

Before going to a bar to watch the KU game, I read some Joe Posnanski while sitting next to the pool. It was his book, “The Soul of Baseball.” The book is about Buck O’Neil, who was maybe the kindest, most optimistic, gracious man in the history of the universe.

As the sun faded, its warm rays succumbing to a cool breeze that would accompany the evening, I read the passage where Buck tells his “Nancy” story. Posnanski writes that Buck’s key for the Nancy story was to tell it slow. To linger.

“’Don’t rush,’ he said. ‘Savor the details. Follow the turns. Go with the wind. Come to think of it, he said, there is something about life in that wisdom.’”

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