No, what happened here as described in the following serendipitous encounter is not on a par with “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the opera that warms the heart even as does a fire-lit hearth the home this most wonderful time of the year.
Besides, the visitors who knocked on my door didn’t come at night.
While they were not kings (but pretty close), they did bring gifts (although unknown to any of us at the time), and though we chatted briefly about many things it was the children, as it turned out, that would be the reason they ‘just-so-happened’ to pass by that day.
Like “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” written and produced by Gian-Carlo Menotti who said, “This is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood,” so would be the result of our own providential noon-hour conversation that day: a recapturing of the magic through the recreation of so many memories for the children in our community.
Several Fridays ago, a couple – unknown to me – came to the boathouse, too well-dressed to be a fisherman/woman.
They had been at Tillicum’s Starbucks for a business meeting as it served as a half-way point for the two of them. For some unknown reason they came to the boathouse and I gave them a tour, sharing some of the history of the boathouse which of course included my father, his picture prominently displayed in the office and many of the projects bearing my dad’s fingerprints scattered throughout.
We then came to our little Crusher corner, our version of the hall of fame: the letter from Mayor of Tacoma Marilyn Strickland congratulating the team and the community coming together in our first season (and ever since); the baseball with the cover knocked off; the front-page, above-the-fold story in the Tacoma News Tribune featuring us way back (2014) when many of our players, all from Tillicum Elementary School, were picking up a baseball for the first time.
Yesterday the Crusher Family received a card in the mail from these visitors. In it they wrote of being impressed with this team, how the coaches “are building character into your grandchildren’s generation. We share many of your same values. Indeed, ours was a providential meeting. To that end, we would like to sponsor your team with the enclosed check.”
Even as it is your mission “to preserve dignity and give respect to seniors and their families by providing exceptional quality in all aspects of our communities” so it is in our community our goal to provide healthy starts and teach life skills to those at the other end of the age spectrum of those you compassionately care for, in our case, our children.
It is their character development, and through the means of the memories you’ve helped make possible, and the relationships they are making, that will instill in them – for which we work and pray – the fondness for the place they grew up, where teachers and parents and people who call this neighborhood home come together for our very own baseball version of Friday Night Lights.
Our goal here is to do what you do there, to create the environment “where it’s home and you’re family.”
On behalf of the Tillicum Crushers, a team in Lakewood’s Baseball PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) league, thank you Alex Bunn, President and CEO, and Karla Shaw, Project Coordinator, Weatherly Inn.