Cardinals postcard from Florida

March 9, 2014 

A young man, a middle-aged man, an old man and a black eye

The young man on the plane from Atlanta to West Palm Beach, Fla., had good intentions Sunday afternoon. But in the end, things are sometimes best left alone.

Realizing the middle-aged man was not sitting with his wife, the young man vacated his seat next to the middle-aged man's wife and gave him the opportunity to sit with his spouse. The old man with a cane, perhaps 80, already had been forced to exit his left-side aisle seat to make room for the middle-aged man to sit down in the center of the row of three.

Well, now the middle-aged man was on the move, again sending the old man into the aisle to accommodate the switch. The middle-aged man reached into the overhead luggage rack to get his things. The old man's cane began to fall from the compartment. The middle-aged man, trying to save the cane, lost control of his backpack, which fell freely and slammed into the left side of a shell-shocked woman's face in the aisle seat on the right. I believe she was the wife of the old man, since they left together and Zia and I, ironically, ran into them later at our hotel.

The flight attendants retrieved ice. People consoled the woman, who took it all in stride despite immediate swelling and redness.

It was bad luck for the young man, who was just trying to be kind. He never spoke another word on the flight. The middle-aged man had to wish he would have kept his seat and left his backpack where it was, which would have left the woman unscathed.

We're only human. I'll try to get an update on her condition Monday.

Anyway, News-Democrat photographer Zia Nizami and I arrived safely to West Palm Beach, where we will be staying until Friday. Most of our time will be spent a few miles north in Jupiter, where the Cardinals are preparing to defending their National League championship. Look for daily stories and photos from --in the print edition and online --spring training, along with a daily Postcard from Florida, this being the first edition.

Zia and I squeezed in a comfort-food meal Sunday evening, joining Rob and Sally Rains at a Sunday night tradition: an outdoor pig roast at Rum Bar, where we were close enough to smell the ocean breeze. Pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, rice, black beans and bread were enjoyed by all.

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