After three consecutive days of 1,500 in the driveway, it was nice to get a change of scenery, and when I say change of scenery, I mean …
Because The Beautiful Heth is also The Wicked Talented Heth, director of curriculum for the Governor Wentworth School District and soon-to-be President-Elect of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association (NHSAA), we are currently north of the notch — at the big yellow Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH, for the NHSAA annual conference.
That was a long sentence. For balance, here’s a short one:
It’s sweet up here.
TBH arrived early yesterday for the conference. I arrived later, after work, for the dinner and magician, Marko. He’s phenomenal, by the way, and hilarious, and a hypnotist, and, best of all, he knows how to make 50 cent pieces fall from The Beautiful Heth’s armpit. That’s a skill I just have to learn.
After the show, there was a reception, and after the reception, at around 11 p.m., there was a conversation with two of the coolest people I’ll ever meet, the Tamworth Hemingways — Rochester Assistant Superintendent Kent and Ossipee Central School sixth-grade teacher Carolyn — looking ahead to this morning’s foul shooting session, for which they had volunteered to rebound.
Kent doesn’t mess around.
“What time should we meet?”
I was thinking … “Eight?”
He says … “Six?”
Me: “Sure, if you guys can do it.”
Kent: “See you in the lobby at 5:45.”
So the alarm wakes me up at 5:20, and I wander down into the lobby at 5:35 or so, expecting that Kent and Carolyn will trudge groggily down the stairs and I’ll drive them around until we find a hoop (planning isn’t my strong suit). Except that when I go outside onto the deck to gather in the first view of the morning, there they are, driving up to the front door, Dunkin’ Donuts coffees in hand, raring to go.
They’d been up since 4.
Now before we go any further, let me tell you a little about these Hemingways, in addition to the already evident fact that they are made up of 100 percent spirit.
They are amazing, active, big-witted people with great stories to tell, but they are also terrific listeners. You’ll be talking, and Kent will be drinking it in, nodding, analyzing, readying himself to add his piece. Carolyn, meanwhile, seems to see the wonder in everything. She cares. Her eyes widen. She gasps. She smiles widely.
They are just a wonderful, dynamic couple to be with, so it was my good fortune that they took an interest in the project and wanted to spend some time helping the cause. Which brings us back to this morning.
As I may have mentioned, the two had already been around town by the time they arrived to pick me up, and they had found that the school where we intended to shoot, outside, was gated off. So we headed to White Mountains Regional High School at a little after 6, and I’m thinking …
What are the chances? If we do happen to find an open door, and anyone does happen to be there, and the gym does happen to be open, they’ll want us to sign waivers and get approvals from the school board and call the superintendent and hand over our first born. No way this is happening.
But Kent says, “Hey, this is the North Country.”
And then, sure enough, we do happen to find an open door, and a couple guys do happen to be there, and the gym does happen to be open, and the guy says …
“Sure. You need me to turn on the lights?”
So it went. It was a great, great morning, with great, great company. Wasn’t the best shooting performance ever, but with the very steady hands of Kent and Carolyn guiding the ship, we hit 2,000 in about an hour and 50 minutes … and that’s with a few stops to switch ends while the guys were working on the hoops.
And now, for a total non-sequitur, here’s a sign that we saw on the ride home. I have no idea why I’m even dropping it in here, other than the fact that there appear to be a lot of words that could use an image to balance things out, and also, I guess, that it made me think. First, I thought, “My life, or somebody else’s life?” And then I thought, “That would make for an interesting T-shirt.” Then I thought, “Not my car, so I guess I’m not honking.” And then I thought, “There are plenty of people who could justifiably honk, but I’m not one of them. Even if it was my car.” And I’m grateful for that.
Big thanks to the guys at the school who made it possible to get where we needed to get. With those 2,000, we’re now at 324,007 down, 675,993 to go to 1 million made foul shots. And to Kent and Carolyn Hemingway, thanks for lending your undeniable energy to the effort. Keep spreading that spirit.