I found an old paperback book while looking for something to read before the holidays.
It was in a cardboard box, in the basement, with other books that I've not yet donated to a school or book fair.
I still prefer old-fashioned, paper books but I figure it's only a matter of time that I convert to an e-reader of some kind.
That's how I am with technology.
Never in a big hurry.
Fine once I get there, though
"A Sense of Where You Are" is what author John McPhee called his biography of then-basketball player Bill Bradley at Princeton University.
The book, written in 1967, was required reading while I was attending journalism school at SIU-Edwardsville in the early 1980s.
At the time, it was considered a classic example of new, first-person journalism. I've always remembered the book's title. "A Sense of Where You Are" comes from a scene in the book where Bradley stands talking with McPhee on a basketball court, facing away from the basket. Without looking back, Bradley tosses a ball over his shoulder, his back to the basket. It goes through the hoop. McPhee fetches the ball and Bradley repeats the feat. Swish.
"When you have played basketball for a while, you don't need to look at the basket when you are in close like this," Bradley says to the author. "You develop a sense of where you are."
I reread the book and held onto that title and quote.
With respect to McPhee, the title of my last column of 2012 could be, "A Sense of Where I Am."
Don't worry. I'm not writing about my sweet spot on the basketball floor because there is not one. Never was, really. I was an OK shot from the corner of my driveway, especially when no one's guarding me. Backboard. Called it Reality: A fifth-grader could block it.
A sense of where I am? We gave away the driveway hoop this summer because it wasn't being used much. We gave it to friends with younger children. I hope they have as much fun with that hoop as I did as a dad.
Heading into 2013, I feel like have a solid sense of where I am.
I'm a 53-year-old, employed husband, dad with two dogs, who enjoys sports at all levels, with a mortgage and a new iPad mini that I am learning at my own snail's pace.
I am at that stage in life where I know I should be planning for retirement but I'm too busy to think much about it.
I have two college-age children. I often wonder if their generation will have the opportunities to earn and succeed as my generation has had. I wonder if their lives won't be more like my parents' than mine. Maybe that would not be so bad, huh?
I have this weird fascination with golf. First of all, what else is there to do at my age, really? It allows me to spend time with friends. Golf is funny. It's the only activity if my life that I am bad at that I continue to play. I quit tennis, board games, artistry, trivia and dancing long ago. With golf, you only need a few good shots each round. You know you can do it. Hope is a good thing.
l enjoy sports at every level. I wish there would be hockey this winter, especially on Saturday nights. I wish the Rams would make a full commitment to staying in St. Louis. I'm a member of the last generation of fans who listen to Cardinals baseball on the radio. I liked the game of baseball a lot better when all I knew about its players were what I read on the back of his baseball card.
I enjoy good restaurants but I don't care much for waiting in line for a table.
I listen to music as loud as I did in the 1970s and I am sure it has had an impact on my listening skills. In my world, the iPod has been the most appreciated technological invention of my adulthood. But I still have several crates of old albums in the basement that I will never give away and I am not sure why.
I should exercise more. I have about a dozen pairs of tennis shoes in my closet. It is amazing how long tennis shoes can last as you age.
There is no place like home. But thereare so many places I want to visit in the world. Yellowstone. The Canadian Rockies. Go back to Ireland. Germany. Check out Australia.
The sports section is still the first section of the newspaper that I read. But I go quickly to the obits. It can be humbling. Too many guys around my age.
I write this column every other Sunday because they let me and it's fun.
I enjoy driving down Main Street in Belleville, or State Street in East St. Louis. Remember what used to be where, or who used to live here or there. Intersections where my past, present and future are linked by old stories that make me laugh. Usually.
That's my sense of where I am as we enter 2013.
I'm moving forward, with one eye on the rearview mirror.
Never in a big hurry.
Fine once I get there, though.