An Ounce of Prevention

Some of life’s lessons are hard to learn and this was never made more clear to a sixteen year old youth than it was down at the local baseball field in smalltown Illinois one Sunday afternoon. But, before I get into that story; let me begin by saying, I truly enjoyed spending the hot, lazy, summer afternoons of my youth with the old men who hung out in front of Ed’s Department Store chewing tobacco and telling lies while they waited for the afternoon mail truck to arrive. I often sat and savored that ‘country flavored homespun wisdom’ flowing out of the mouths of smalltown citizens like Jim the Mailman, Cooch the Barber and Doc the Dentist, like I did a long drink of cold water from our old pitcher mouth pump on a hot July day. But, I, like most young people my age had not fully developed a real appreciation for the wisdom of those old men, but that all changed one Sunday afternoon. I was the catcher on the smalltown team and while catching a game of baseball with our high school basketball coach on the mound, I learned a lesson I have never forgotten. He threw a particularly sharp breaking slider that skidded off of the back edge of home plate, careened up and hit me in a particularly vulnerable spot just below the belt line where the legs join the upper torso. It just so happened that I wasn’t wearing a protective device that was designed to prevent injuries to that particular area of my body, and as I lay writhing on the ground in unbearable pain, understanding of the old timers sage advice; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” pulsated throughout my aching body. I might have been a little slower than some kids my age before that dastardly pitch, but I can truthfully tell you, “I was quicker than most by the next one.” Lightning didn’t have to strike me twice. No sir! Once bitten by the d-u-m-b b-u-g was enough for me. I continued to play baseball for a number of years after that day, and most of it was pain free because I never again left that $2.00 ‘ounce of prevention’ lying in my equipment bag in the dugout. DThrash

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