Just as sure as I’m going to lose my wallet at least a dozen times in 2011, just as sure as Tom Brady shall be your next NFL Most Valuable Player, just as sure as Rosie’s going to be in our bed before we are awake tomorrow morning, there is this fact of life: The first week of every month, the same e-mail shows up in the Hoops For Heroes inbox: NOTIFICATION OF DONATION RECEIVED, sent from Moncks Corner, South Carolina, with the name Candice Barnhart attached.
Candice has a military husband who was deployed when we began two Novembers ago. He’s home safely now, but Candice has seen the grief and suffering of other military families first hand, so she’s thankful each and every time he comes back through that door in Moncks Corner.
It was near the beginning of our project that Candice sent her first donation, along with a note that said she planned to give up her weekly Starbucks so as to donate each and every month until we were through. And so she has.
Another commitment she made was that if and when the family came north to visit her husband’s family near Albany, NY, the Barnhart crew would make a stop in Epsom to do a little rebounding for the cause. I told her the Starbucks would be on me.
Those plans started coming together in earnest a couple months ago, and we marked Monday, Dec. 27, as the day when I would finally get to meet this terrific family.
But I think you know what happened next: sideways snow.
So Sunday night, Candice texted to say that rather than trek 160 miles on back roads into a whiteout, we’d just have to plan for another time.
Which is when The Beautiful Heth stepped in.
TBH is very familiar with the Candice story, so upon hearing that the Barnharts would be snowed out of an appearance Monday, she said, “Tell her I’ll be her proxy.”
To which I thought, “Um … what’s a proxy?” I don’t like looking stupid, though, so given the context I guessed that maybe it meant TBH was offering to step in and rebound for the Barnharts, which in fact she was.
And then Monday showed up, and sure enough, there was TBH along with a special guest, TBH’s mom, whom you may know as Nana. Her dad, whom you may know as Poppy, offered to be at home with the kids. Do I have great in-laws? The answer is yes.
To be honest, it wasn’t all that pretty at first. I wasn’t shooting particularly well, and it had been awhile since either of these two had done the rebounding thing. Let’s just say that if the Keystone Cops played basketball …
But that was temporary. Before long, we were cruising along with two balls going. There was only one interruption, when Noah called to say he was worried about Mason’s headache (the perils of both parents being away at the same time), but after some reassurance, we were back at it. An hour and a half later, we were through with 1,500 made foul shots for the night, and 569,007 overall.
It was an efficient evening of basketball, with the two prettiest proxies you ever did see.