Wednesday, August 10, 2016


July 6, 2016.  This neighborhood is new for me, southeast side west of Dort Highway.  Not the worst I’ve driven through, but forlorn and desperate looking even on a brilliant, sunny afternoon.   I park in front of our next stop, a modest ranch on a deserted residential street.  At a glance I note a few boarded abandoned houses, cars parked in various states of disrepair, yards gone to seed, planes of puckered shingles, tongues of driveways coated with bagged empties.  A street at once depopulated in aspect but alive with small flickers of life; a green hanging plant, small pink bike tipped on its side, hum of a window AC unit.  Pock, pock, pock.  Across the street, occupying a vast corner lot, stands a well-kept ranch.  Behind the house, dominating the backyard, is a full sized tennis court surrounded by a high fence.  A tall referee chair stands next to a net post.  The chair is empty, net ragged and sagging.  A solitary older gentlemen in blinding tennis whites practices his serve, ethylene glycol colored balls glowing like pushpins on the large campaign map of the opposing court.  The Sport of Kings clinging to life in the barren hinterlands.  Pock, pock, pock.  The man has a relaxed, easy serve.  I wave as I exit the ERV.  A bottle of water sits behind the service line.  He anoints me with his racket, dips into the wire ball caddy, mechanically economic, fluid and soaring in spirit.     

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