Take Me Out to the Ball Game


During my childhood, the three great influences of my world were family, church and sports, in varying order, depending on the season and the day of the week. The first open rebellion of a lot of seventh-graders was sneaking portable radios into school so we could listen to the 1960 World Series between the Yankees and the Pirates.

Not having money for new bats and balls, we fixed what we had with electrical tape until the abused equipment could be repaired no longer. If we were alone, we hit rocks with a stick.

The boys in our community played pick-up games. We created a baseball diamond in the woods behind our house. We also played in organized leagues from about the sixth grade until high school graduation. I was a catcher.

We loved baseball cards. We played indoor games with them, hitting what amounted to a spitball with our favorite player’s card. We bent a lot of cardboard that way. We put the cards in the spokes of our bicycles to hear the noise the made. We destroyed a lot of future income that way.

No Major League team had made its way South yet, so everybody picked a random team and said they were his favorites. Always for the underdog, I pulled for the Washington Senators. I read the box scores every morning. Harmon Killebrew was my hero. Augusta had a minor league team, a Detroit Tigers affiliate, and I remember going to their games a few times.

My favorite baseball these days is the college variety. Watching the Clemson Tigers on a spring afternoon feels pretty close to heaven. I get over to a few Atlanta Braves games most years, and when I travel to a Major League city, I try to see a game, thirteen cities so far. I spent a week at Spring Training one year. I’ve been to Cooperstown twice. I’ve been to one All-Star game and to zero World Series games. That could be on my bucket list. But it’s October and I expect to be in front of the television set every night for the next few days watching San Francisco battle Kansas City.

Batter up!


Categories: Baseball, Family, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ten Most Influential Books in My Life

You gotta be kidding me? A limit of ten? But that’s the challenge going around Facebook these days. You are supposed to create the list without overthinking it or trying to impress anybody.

More or less chronologically, here are some of the volumes that wowed me, but I cheated and there are twelve:

Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett

The New Testament in Modern English translated by J. B. Phillips

Black Like Me by James Howard Griffith

The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald

Moon and the Sixpence by Somerset Maugham

Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

Raney by Clyde Edgerton

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Categories: Book Review, Faith/Spirituality, Lists/Top Ten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Boundaries: Where the Pavement Ends

IMG_2891 I have a love/hate relationship with boundaries. On the plus side, they protect my family and me and all that I care about. Years ago a friend said, “Your right to swing your arm stops where my nose starts.” I like that. Some limitations make sense. If you own the property, you have the right to say No Trespassing. Why should I not conform to your instructions? You are allowed to protect what belongs to you.

On the other hand, boundaries can be unnecessarily limiting. The name of this blog is Where the Pavement Ends, meaning that the world does not stop where the street stops. Beyond the barriers that would restrict us, an endless creation jam-packed with fascinating life exists. I’m glad that explorers, scientists and philosophers pushed the limits, or life as we know it would not exist. Those who reduce their curiosity to what their parents told them was permissible when they were children are boring people.

Back and forth: Of course, a lack of boundaries can cause problems. Two types of people without boundaries are rapists and prostitutes.   The rapist says that he can have any part of someone else he wants. He literally enters another human being, attempting to merge with and claim what is not his. No boundaries. The prostitute says that anybody can have her. Again, no boundaries. No limits.

Back and forth: Too many boundaries are a problem. These people live in fear, rigid, self-restricted, which is a terrible way to live. Too few? Too many? I like the word “appropriate.” Marion Aldridge

“When you feel yourself becoming angry, resentful, or exhausted, pay attention to where you haven’t set a healthy boundary.” Crystal Andrus

“Appropriate boundaries create integrity.” Rae Shagalov

“The more severe the dysfunction you experienced growing up, the more difficult boundaries are for you.” David W. Earle

“Boundaries aren’t all bad. That’s why there are walls around mental institutions.” Peggy Noonan, Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health, Quotations, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Writing Life

My Writing Life

Marion D. Aldridge

(I need to get this off my computer or I will never get any writing done.)









Stare out the window

Make sure paper tray is full





Bathroom break

Get coffee

Check Facebook status

Check retirement account on-line


Start over




Consider doing actual research

Reject the idea of actual research

Take a nap

Start a different, mindless project, such as this one








Change chairs




Resist temptation to turn on TV


The end

Categories: Humor, Lists/Top Ten, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

At one time in my life, I believed each of these statements…


  1. Dogs were males and cats were females.
  2. Pregnant women had eaten a watermelon seed, and the watermelon was growing inside them.
  3. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were real.
  4. My mom and dad were better Christians than our pastor and his wife because my mom and dad only had two kids which indicated they had had sex (whatever that meant) twice, and the pastor had four children which showed they had had sex four times.
  5. Saying the word “pregnant” was wrong. If the “condition” required a word, “expecting” was preferred.
  6. As a young entrepreneur, I thought I could sell two pieces of penny bubble gum for 3 cents. I learned I was wrong when I sat in front of our house on a busy street all day long and sold none.
  7. All Russians were bad.
  8. All Americans were good.
  9. Black people were somehow inferior to white people.
  10. You can trust people to do what they say they will do.
  11. Having an “official” forum (radio, television, pulpit or print media) suggests you must be right. People would say, “I heard it on the radio. It must be true.”
  12. North Augusta, South Carolina, was the capital of the world, and its geographical center.
  13. Schoolteachers do not curse.
  14. All families have a mother and a daddy.
  15. Powerful and important people (especially those in the church, the school, politics and the military) are good and are right and are to be respected and obeyed.
  16. People who drink alcohol are immoral, wicked people.
  17. Marriages should forever be full of romance and continuously happy. If married people argued, something was wrong with the marriage.
  18. My religious heritage provided the only right way to be in good standing with God.
  19. Foreigners or Immigrants who have difficulty with the English language are not as smart as “normal” people without accents.       (It did not occur to me, until embarrassingly late in my life, that the person who was struggling with English was at least bi-lingual—many immigrants speak or understand three or four languages—and I was the dolt with limited linguistic skills.)

(From Chapter 9 in my book, Overcoming Adolescence)

Categories: Book Review, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

My Favorite Religious Movies

By religious, I mean movies about faith, not necessarily Christian or so-called family values. Sometimes, the movies ask tough questions. They are not always inspirational. I have never particularly liked movies about Jesus, because, in my opinion, no movie even comes close to depicting Jesus as I understand him. I suspect the Jesus of history does not resemble the Jesus of motion pictures.

For religious movies, the bar is pretty low, but there are some classics. These are in alphabetical order, not in the order of my preference.

A Man Called Peter

  1. A Man for All Seasons
  2. Amazing Grace
  3. Ben Hur
  4. Brother Sun, Sister Moon
  5. Chariots of Fire
  6. Dead Man Walking
  7. Eat, Pray, Love
  8. Elmer Gantry
  9. Entertaining Angels
  10. Fiddler on the Roof
  11. Gandhi
  12. Going My Way
  13. Lilies of the Field
  14. Malcolm X
  15. Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  16. Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  17. Saved
  18. Shoes of the Fisherman
  19. Song of Bernadette
  20. Soul Surfer
  21. The Bells of St. Mary’s
  22. The Chosen
  23. The Hiding Place
  24. The Mission
  25. The Nun’s Story
  26. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  27. The Robe
  28. The Scarlet and the Black

Which movies would you add to this list?


Categories: Book Review, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Lists/Top Ten, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Happy Birthday, Jenna

Our Daughter’s 40th Birthday!


Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments


(Guest blog by my dear cousin, Patsy Aldridge Pennington)

When first asked, I had no immediate recollection of what ultimately made me leave. Trying to erase memories for 40 years results in some blurriness. It wasn’t the first black eye. My boss had downplayed the fact that my eye had been in the way of an angry fist. “There are worse things in a marriage than being hit,” she stated. Her indifference didn’t encourage me to return to work for co-workers to gawk and speculate. Instead I took refuge with my small son at my aunt’s farm. The time away was healing.

Healing enough to tolerate more. There were no statistics then to indicate it takes leaving seven times before it sticks. I wasn’t aware of the considerable number of women being smashed about weekly, or sometimes daily. Actually labeling the horror had not yet occurred, at least to my knowledge.

Stares occurred, but never drew questions when unsightly bruises on my legs appeared. That didn’t make me leave because I really did fall over the toy in my den. The force behind my fall was unnecessary to divulge.

Nor was the force that suddenly awakened me early one morning. I screamed. Above my head, whiskey breath from an all-nighter at who knows where, he glared down at me. This episode quickly escalated into yet another punching bout. I couldn’t leave then; he’d again convinced me it was my fault. Later, at lunch, smiles and honey greeted me. The all-too-familiar scenario played out: pleading to stay, convincing me of my mistakes, soothing kisses of undying love, persuading me that this was the last time.

Walking on eggshells remained. Which minutia would next incite him? Then threaten, seize, punch, shove, repeat, repeat, repeat. Once when he faltered for an instant, I dashed out to a neighbor’s apartment. She immediately called the police. Upon their arrival, I went in and gathered things for mother’s once again… with all intentions to stay. Yet he found me.

Insincere promises are never perceived as such when one is completely worn down. A second black eye wasn’t convincing enough to make me leave forever. I lied that I was “hit in the eye with a baseball” while practicing with my son. This time a visit to the ophthalmologist was necessary. Only to return to “YOU provoked me!” “If YOU had not done so-and-so…” “YOU made me so upset!” Accusations so strong and unrelenting it was difficult not to be submissive.

Intimidate. A major control method used by abusers. Threaten. Another scheme of which I was unaware controlled my believing he would never, ever hurt me again.   He loved me.

Unfortunately his twisted love didn’t deter him from slamming me against the kitchen wall. As he smashed my face and thrust the cold barrel of a newly acquired pistol to my temple, chills went down my spine with each bitter threat whispered. Maybe I had provoked him, but his violence had definitely escalated.

A few days later, I don’t know if it was an unconscious number seven or an actual number ten, but when I was snatched in the hallway for his all-too-frequent ritual, this time I grabbed the nearest object… my grandmother’s ceramic black cat… and daringly made solid contact on top of his head. As he dropped to the floor I frantically ran with my son NEVER to return.

Pink dominates October for Breast Cancer Awareness. But Purple is of equal importance in October as it denotes a sinister cancer too… Domestic Violence.

From The National Network to End Domestic Violence:  The question is NOT “Why didn’t the victim leave.”  The better question is “Why did the abuser choose to abuse?”

Living as a victim of Domestic Violence is a truly wicked existence. But there IS help now.

Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/

Categories: addiction, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health, Quotations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Take Care of Yourself

About twenty years ago, as our daughters were becoming adults, I began using a parting mantra that was new to me. Instead of a simple “Good-bye” or “I love you” or “Be good,” I began to say, “Take care of yourself.”

The transition was intentional. No one had explicitly taught me self-care. I wanted Jenna and Julie to know it was not only okay, but also it was important that they care for themselves.

Sunday school classes, when I was growing up, taught children to memorize short Bible verses. One of those was “Bear one another’s burdens,” found in Galatians 6: 2. The lesson is that we are to help one another in times of need. No one in my family or church showed us, much less asked us to memorize, Galatians 6: 5, which reads, “Bear your own burdens.”

The result is that a lot of good Christian folks became excellent at taking care of other people and not so good at taking care of themselves. Taking care of others was considered a virtue and looking out for yourself was somehow sinful, egotistical and wrong. So, some of us went to work when we were sick. We stifled our opinions and gave into the whims of others. We didn’t stand a chance against bullies. We served others and didn’t allow them to serve us. We were big on Duty. Sometimes we overfunctioned in our zeal to take care of others.

At some point, I realized that Jesus said we are to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22: 37-40), not more than, not less than. I am part of God’s creation. Why would I take care of the “you” part of creation and not the “me” part of creation?

So, I changed my thinking. That is allowed. Actually, it is required if we are to grow!

So, don’t feel the need to argue when I say, “Take care of yourself.” It’s good advice.

Categories: addiction, Diet, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sacred Clowns and Cuss Words

Tony Hillerman writes about Native American culture, mostly about the Navajos. He writes mysteries. I learn a lot about cultures different from mine when I read his novels.

For example, in Sacred Clowns, a few folks are watching a Hopi festival when some clowns, known as koshares, interrupt the dance and the parade by doing silly things. For example, they climb down a ladder head first. A tourist asks why these clowns are allowed to disrupt the ceremony.

“Not disrupting,” is the reply. “It’s part of the ritual. It’s all symbolic. They represent humanity. Clowns. Doing everything wrong while the spirits do everything right.”

Other cultures express the same dilemma in different ways—coyotes, snakes, a red demon with horns and a pitchfork. Every society (as far as I know) acknowledges some sort of human failure or evil on the planet.

Many of us in the Southern part of the United States, and maybe all over Christendom, grew up with a very limited and unimaginative understanding of sin. It seemed to be restricted to a fairly predictable list of edicts which were not to be violated: stealing, murdering, disrespecting parents, greed, pride. Most of us could avoid the worst of those transgressions. We didn’t steal. We didn’t murder. We respected our parents. Sin was about other people more than it was about us.

Christian folks need a new way to think about human failure—new words and new images.

One year, during a continuing education event, my buddies and I decided that people sitting in the pews of our churches would understand preachers better if we could add a dozen “cuss” words to our sermons. Those listening might say, “Oh, so that’s what the preacher means?” instead of sleeping through the worship service.

Would people understand better if we said asshole instead of sinner? Instead of these vague prayers of Forgive us our sins, would being more specific help? Forgive me for being so pissy, so smug, so whiney, so damned stubborn.

In an AA meeting, you have to claim it: Hi, My name is… And I’m an alcoholic.

That would be my rule for admittance to church, to name a real and recent transgression of your own, not someone else’s shortcoming: Hi, My name is… And I’m manipulative. Or, I lack guts. Or, I’m full of self-pity. Or, I’ve been an asshole and a jerk to my family this week.

Lord, Have mercy.

Categories: addiction, Book Review, Faith/Spirituality, Humor, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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