Around here many things are referred too very tongue in cheek and that is the description of the ball Laddie has had for years now. Let me give you the story of the Jesus Ball.
Years ago when Laddie was little we had a old soccer ball that our children had played with and had left out in the weather and the leather cover was cracking on each of the hexagon spots. It was a bit soft which was okay for I figured Lad could pick it up that way.
I showed it to him and I threw it and he of course chased it and caught it on the first bounce after it hit the ground. He took off with it and I kept telling him to bring it to me but he wanted me to chase him with it. Something he still would love for me to do, but I am getting to old to run that much. The first time he brought the ball back I praised him and his eyes lit up, he loved the praise,. I threw it again and he chased it and after a bit of coaxing brought it up to me and I took it and threw it and it was the beginning of something I had no idea it would become, but more on that later.
I began to kick Lad’s ball and no matter how far I kicked it he was there to get it on the first bounce and eventually he got so he could catch it coming down like Willie Mays with his back to it lifting his head and snaring it with his teeth. Lad loved his ball and it has become an obsession of his life. He takes the ball out with him and if he forgets to bring it in he will search till he finds it. He will not stop till he finds that ball! He also will not stop laying ball with me… ever!!!
Through the years the leather fell off, then the inner cover fell off, the next rubber cover fell off till all that was left was the ratty cloth covering the “bladder” of the ball. Last winter after years of playing it went flat. I patched it, but it blew another hole quickly and I realized it was shot. So, all this year I’ve tried to give him new balls but he won’t part with that old flat ball.
The closest was a big inflated ball my buddy Pat at work gave me. He showed interest but it quickly went flat and I figured it was popped. Well, one day I picked it up and saw no holes and up came Lad with his ball. But… the bladder was gone and it was then I saw Rutherford and Walter each with a half of the bladder in their mouths. Lad looked up at me, looked at them, looked at me and held out the ball with his mouth and blinked…..I reached for the ball and he turned his head his eyes gleaming with mischief. Finally, he gave it to me and I threw the cloth remains a whole 20 feet and saw the disappointment in his face. So, I picked up the ball Pat gave me shoved it inside his cloth remains and ran for the car and the air pump. I pumped up the ball and heard him crying in the back yard, impatiently waiting for me to return. He knew something was up with his ball….. he was hoping for the best but dreading the worst.
The pump finished inflating the ball, which I left a touch soft and it fit perfectly!!!! So, I came out into the yard with it and showed it to Lad who lit up like a Christmas tree. He watched in glee as I kicked the ball and took off like lightning chasing it and it hit the ground and bounced right into his mouth! He pranced around and looked so happy!!!!
WE played ball for over an hour and when I came in I showed him where I put his ball and he was satisfied where it was and happy it was safe. Since then the ball has again popped and I have patched it three times, put another ball cover over it and it is still falling apart. But, it still survives and he loves it! I have a plan to get it back together with another ball put with it to make a whole ball again. But, in the meantime it still works.
So, his ball was dead but now it is alive…. that is why it is the Jesus Ball! LOL….. Lad lives for that ball and despite my best efforts he won’t part with it. So, we will play with the remains till his time is gone and when that moment of parting comes I will hug his remains for the last time and gently put hit ball in his mouth and wrap him in a blankie and with a broken heart move on sadly…… but till that day we will play for endless hours with his ball! The Jesus ball that died and came back….. several times!!!