By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It is a clear, glorious day here in the northwest corner of Louisiana.  I’m writing this from the wooden swing that hangs from my giant magnolia tree which is in full bloom with sweet smell of the South.  I’ve got two lazy cats at my feet, a cold beverage beside me, and meat on the smoker out back.  Life is good.

I do my fair share of complaining about Louisiana politics, politicians, the terrible state of public education, and pretty much everything else that gets under my skin, but most of the time I feel pretty lucky to live in the South.

As I read about poor John McCain planning his own funeral and about how friends are coming by to pay respects and “say things that need to be said,” I feel the need to count my blessings.  Say what you will about John McCain, but facing your own mortality must be difficult.

I try to keep in mind that every single day is a gift.

Today we are sitting outside, as I said, listening to our local college team play in the SCAC championship baseball game somewhere in Texas.  I thoroughly enjoy listening to baseball on the radio and much prefer it to listening to the commentators on television.  On the radio, the announcers have to paint a picture with their words and are much more descriptive and entertaining.

“Working in short sleeves the Bulldogs are wearing yellow jerseys today,” isn’t something you’ll hear a tv commentator say very often.

On television, since you can see the action yourself, they spend too much time having to fill air time with banal blather that bores me to tears.  When I can, I’ll watch baseball on television with the sound down and pull up audio online.  I’m weird like that.

Whenever I listen to a baseball commentator I can’t help but think about Roger Angell; was there ever a writer who covered baseball more beautifully?  I don’t think so.

You can have the NFL all day long; give me a baseball game any day of the week.  To me there is something so pure and so beautiful about the game baseball.  It’s like several different games of strategy in a single game and much more complex than it seems.  It’s truly America’s game, played by those “boys of summer,” and every other baseball cliché you can come up with.  Throw ‘em all in there!

Yes, I’m sitting here at the very edge of my summer break and my mind is full of summer projects and plans for things I need to do in the next eight weeks away from school.  I will weigh the importance of these plans and see what can be procrastinated and then get about half of them done. But probably I will spend a lot of time right here in this swing, sipping a cold beverage, visiting with neighbors, watching my cats lazily stretch out in the cool St Augustine grass and just be glad to be alive.

My wish for you on this Monday, at the end of this post basically about nothing, is that you make today count, be grateful for the small things, and that you find some kindness that you can do to brighten someone’s day today.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  Follow her on Instagram: @patbecker25.