I’m supposed to be eating complimentary hotel-breakfast, but I’m in line behind a girl’s softball team.
The dining room is nothing but long-hair, red ribbons, glitter makeup, and striped softball socks.
“They’re here for softball camp,” says one mother. “And they’re having TOO much fun.”
They are breathtaking, these girls.
One girl is nearly six-two. Her mother is braiding her hair while she eats eggs and plays with her phone.
“Hold still,” her mother says.
“Gah, Mom,” the girl points out.
I had a friend who played softball. I won’t use her real name—she knows who she is.
Most of her life, boys poked fun at her because she was taller than they were.
She was one hell of an athlete. A catcher. To watch her handle a second-base steal attempt was poetry.
Her right arm was a shotgun. Her bat was the Eighth Wonder of the World.
The boys called her Fat Ass. She cried for two decades.
I wish she wouldn’t have. Because she is one of the prettiest girls I ever met.
Today, she’s married to a high-school football coach. Sometimes she helps him on the field. She and her husband have three daughters.
They are the all-American family. They go to Disney World twice per year.
They are happy.
Well, I don’t mind telling you that I like women. Real women. Every single one.
I like the shy, the outspoken, the well-behaved. I like the kind who can cuss the hair off your neck.
I like those who admire what they see in a mirror. And I have a softspot for the sort who don’t think much of themselves.
I like those who make poundcakes by feel. And those who cheer during Iron Bowls.
I like the kind who buy dresses. And I’m crazy about the sort who wear hunting boots—like the woman who shares my name.
I like white hair, veiny hands, smile-lines, crow’s feet, and blemishes. I wish wrinkles would make a comeback.
I like Miss Mary—who won’t check her own mail without lipstick and pearls.
And Miss Flossie—who tans dark brown, has memorized half of Deuteronomy, and mows her own lawn on a John Deere.
I like Tiffany, who tells stories funny enough to make bladders rupture. And Holly, who raises pasture horses.
Mrs. Bevilacqua, who thinks tenth-grade English should be worth enjoying. And Barbara, God’s favorite principal.
Darlene, who raises an orphaned Mexican-immigrant child. Kayla: paralyzed from the waist down—who coaches her daughter’s soccer team.
Haylen, hospital chaplain who helped six people check-in to Heaven last week.
And my wife, who makes pimento cheese rich enough to be used in Wallstreet transactions.
I don’t mind telling you I wish the fairer sex were more appreciated. And I’ll admit that I don’t care for swimsuit magazines in the check-out aisles of Winn Dixie.
I wish the word “fat” wasn’t in the English dictionary. I wish self-confidence was trendier than skinny jeans.
But above all, I wish ordinary girls knew that there is no such thing as an ordinary girl.
Good luck with softball camp, girls.