A Toss of Gray

Without a doubt, a great number of you are assuming that there is a typographical error in the title of this blog post.  I assure you that I did indeed mean to use “toss” rather than “touch.”  That said; I owe my kind audience a bit of an explanation!

In the midst of what was a glorious Rocky Mountain late spring day this past weekend; Xena, my faithful hound, and I found ourselves taking an invigorating walk in the park.  My canine companion will only tolerate well-manicured grass and paved walking paths for so long.  Eventually, the victim of her lupine genetics, she feels the urge to go out into the wild.  Fortunately, our park of choice happens to abut against an area that has not fallen victim to urban development.  It is there that Xena is able to connect with her inner wolf!

Off to one side of the park is that feral parcel of land that is still dotted with gnarled old trees, deeply rooted into the silt soil.  At first glance, this broad basin may have even been an old creek bed.  Interspersed amongst the trees are a series of steel chain link cages hung off of metal poles; each used to demarcate the pin for a Frisbee golf hole.  At the other end of each hole is a small cement pad, presumably serving as the tee box.

At dawn or right after dusk, I will not hesitate to let Xena traverse through the ghost town-like Frisbee golf course.  She loves picking up the scents left by urban wildlife the night before.  On occasion, she will also pick up the trail of a dog that caddied for its owner on the links!  At any other time, the threat of uncontrolled plastic projectiles whizzing past our heads is enough to keep us safely on the periphery of the course.

On the particular morning in question, I was surprised to see that the Frisbee golf course was already thoroughly packed.  Colorful plastic discs were flying in every direction.  Much to my dog’s chagrin, there was no possibility of going out into the wooded area!  Looking over her muscular shoulder, Xena wiped the look of consternation off her face and grudgingly trudged down the path that circles the Frisbee golf course.  I have to believe that if an Oscar was awarded for “best hound actress in a supporting role” she would walk away with the golden statue!

In spite of the dramatics, my canine counterpart was soon trotting down the length of the path.  Suddenly Xena jerked back sharply in her harness; the result of me having come to a dead stop.  Jaw hanging wide open, I paused to wonder if I had somehow been transported back in time.  Waiting for their turn to tee off, and plastic discs already in hand; I saw two older men for whom time had come to a grinding stop!

I stared in awe at their attire.  I was reasonably confident that I had not seen that bold a tie-dyed pattern since the late 1960’s.  The frazzled cuffs on their blue jean cut-offs just completed the image of two free spirits reveling at Woodstock.  The overall look of nostalgia was completed by the heavy leather strap sandals that each of the men was wearing.  There was only one problem with my flashback into the golden age of the hippy; time had not been necessarily kind to the pair of men in front of me!

The first gentleman under my scrutiny had a long gray pony tail, neatly pulled back.  The only problem was that there was no hair to be found anywhere on the upper half of his head.  His companion had a full head of hair, down well past the shoulders, but it was neon white.  This breathing portrait of a time gone by was further accented by a full beard, streaked in a dull and lifeless gray color!

As I watched the twosome tee off from the first hole; two things became readily apparent.  First, my displaced hippies were no strangers to Frisbees.  Second, they were so at ease and comfortable in their attire that I had to assume it simply had not changed in the past forty to fifty years.  Physically they had both aged; yet mentally and spiritually they had not evolved with time!

Nose pointed to the ground and shoulders hunched forward; Xena served me a reminder that my purpose at that very moment was not to people-watch; rather it was to pay tribute to her need to explore!  As we meandered around the far edge of the Frisbee golf course, my mind wandered back to the pair of hippies I had run across.  Did they have any idea whatsoever of how out-of-place they looked?  Had they stayed stuck in their look as a sign of a half century-long protest against the establishment?  For that matter, had they simply lost a bet of some kind?

It was then that a strange thought popped into my head.  What if the pair of men knew that they were misfit relics in the present time?  What if they did not care what others thought?  What if they had found a comfort zone in their lives where they were completely at ease with themselves?  That inner peace of knowing who you are and not bowing to society’s pressures had to be nothing short of a complete liberation of the soul!

Off in the distance I could see a Frisbee golf party working its way towards me.  The bright colors of the tie-dyed shirts let me know it was the presumably misplaced cast members from the play “Hair” that I had seen earlier.  Staring at the happy bounce in their steps; it was then that I realized my former pity for them had blossomed into envy!

What better gift can any of us bestow upon ourselves than utter inner peace?  Imagine going through the rest of your life with that level of self-mastery!  As for me, I am busy looking for that lime leisure suit I had back in high school and my old “Saturday Night Fever” vinyl LP!

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About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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