#194: A Page of Shoeless Joe and Other Little Mysteries

July 24th, 2013

Clink. Clink.

One of the old men leaned against a tree. Another pulled an arm back underhand, then swung something forward. The five or so men all followed the something’s path with their heads.

Clink. Clink.

Horseshoes? Washers?

A little cheer went up in Spanish with me about 40 feet from the car.

Just north of Diversey Harbor, on the stretch of grass between the rich people’s boats and the parking lot for the driving range’s cars, the men played their game of tossing metal and I walked to Dusty’s Mini Cooper.

Dusty and Eric are sculptors. We were meeting for a story about sculpture. This isn’t that story.

Clink. Clink. Cheer.

It had been hard for me to get to that spot now 30 feet from the car. The break in the week’s heat had been ushered in by a slapping wind that crashed waves along the bike path and pushed me and the Trek down and south instead of north and up.

But there I was, 20 feet from the car, walking across grass where the men play horseshoes or washers or some other clink clink cheer game as teen boys wander past gripping and grabbing the girls who’ll let them, 20ish types walk up gripping and grabbing the golf clubs they’ll take to the range, cars slowly cruise for spots and a lone woman with blonde hair and a tank top sat under a tree silently watching the boats in the harbor.

There was a page from a book lying on the grass. The only words printed were “Shoeless Joe.”

I stopped to look at it. Dusty and Eric were fiddling with seat belts and, heck, they could wait.

“Shoeless Joe.”

Clink. Clink. Cheer.

I stooped to pick the page up. It was old and yellowed, a “well-loved book” as someone I know once called them. The corners were still crisp, but the rest was as dried and mottled as an autumn leaf. I flipped it to find a list of the other books W. P. Kinsella wrote. This was the “Field of Dreams” novel, I guessed correctly.

“Shoeless Joe.”

Clink. Clink. Cheer.

We’re surrounded by little mysteries each day. We go blind to them on purpose so we don’t end up a crazy person. How did the page fall out of the book? Was someone reading here next to the parking spaces or did it blow from elsewhere? Who was reading a “well-loved” copy of the “Field of Dreams” book? Was it washers or horseshoes? What does the lone woman see when she watches the tethered boats rock up and down in wind-slapped harbor water?

How did this mottled, yellowed page of dreams and mystery and changing the writer to James Earl Jones for the movie because Salinger threatened to sue, how did this ratty page flitter and fall to this spot at this moment with horseshoes (or washers) and two waiting sculptors 15 feet away?

And why on earth was I touching it?

I let it fall back to the ground and wiped my hand on my pants leg.

We can’t solve all the mysteries, ask all the questions. I walked to the car to ask the sculptors the ones of them I could.

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You are currently reading #194: A Page of Shoeless Joe and Other Little Mysteries by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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