Incredible, unbelievable, phenomenal
Phenomena do not overawe me, as a rule.Skip to next paragraph
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Unusual recorded events I take in stride: the parting of the Red Sea, Horatius alone defending the bridge, King Arthur's sword handed up from the water, or even a coin in a fish's mouth. I'm not one of the doubters. I'm a believer. Perhaps this is because similar, though lesser, phenomena happen to me all the time.
At one point in my experience I went into a restaurant and ordered fresh brook trout and found a dime in the mashed potatoes. This is not much of a parallel, I admit, and I do not maintain the trout had the dime. It was just an unusual place to find financial aid in paying my bill.
I also recognize ten cents is not a significant amount of money, at least not enough to make any hard-nosed cynic shout hallelujah. But it's a straw in the wind.
Perhaps a better case in point was when I was given a tennis racket by a friend who had just received a new one. It was the first tennis racket I ever owned and the desire to start using it was not unlike the Sirens singing to the sailors of Ulysses. I stood on the front lawn, whooshing the racket through the air, wishing I had somewhere to play, when the phone rang. It was a girl in the next block inviting me over to play tennis on their private courts.
Well, things like this happen! She also said, ''Bring along a can of tennis balls. I can't find any.''
A can of tennis balls? Who had tennis balls?
I lost no time in starting out, even with only the racket, with my dog trotting at my heels. In wondering where I was to get a can of tennis balls and how much they would cost, I kept walking faster and faster until after a while I noticed Pat, my dog, was sounding awfully breathy.
He had a tennis ball in his mouth. I took the ball, thanked him with a pat on the head; he went on home and I went to play my first game of tennis.
Now, I don't want any know-it-all readers writing in and explaining this to me. I like it just as it is. My dog had a tennis ball in his mouth and I don't want to know how it got there. The story is hard enough to tell with just the bare facts.
Not all of the things that happen to me go unexplained forever. But even after the answer becomes evident, I still retain a pleasant sense of wonder.
When I was in college I went walking one afternoon with a girlfriend. This is the part of the story people now find hard to believe, but people used to do things like that; just go for a walk around the city.
Everything was wonderful until we passed a soda shop and the girl made a sly remark of how nice an ice cream soda would taste on a hot day. That's another part that's hard to believe. Boys bought ice cream sodas for girls, and both parties seemed to like the idea.
In this case, though, I was flat broke -- which was almost a constant condition -- but it seemed better to keep up the pretense of affluence. So I patted about my person, saying, ''Oh, dash it all, I don't believe I brought my wallet with me. . . .'' During this Oscar-winning performance I put my hand into my back pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill! The sodas were delicious.