My injured rotator cuff has a mind of its own. And it's a mind that is showing remarkable resilience.
Five months ago in the dead of winter, I found my right wing nearly crippled with pain. I could barely open without pain my sock drawer. I could barely lift my arm above my shoulder. Being a subway strap-hanger, that most-ubiquitous of all New York epigrams, was all but impossible.
It got so bad that I went to see the top shoulder man in New York, a strapping 40-something who played collegiate football at Johns Hopkins University and then medical schooled at Harvard.
"You probably have a tear," he told me. And then sent me for an MRI that revealed the same.
That was two months ago, and now, I'm surprised and pleased to report that my arm is 50% better. It no longer keeps me up at night in pain, and while I can't quite sleep in my usual position, the pain has ebbed.
Last weekend in preparation for my second Juegos de Viejos in Saltillo, Mexico in three weeks, I went to Central Park's ball-fields with my old Seraperos duffle-bag filled with baseballs. I found a gaggle of boys, sturdy prep-school types with freshly-ironed t-shirts, and asked if they'd like to have a catch.
Perhaps with a smile of Christian charity, they complied. They probably thought of me as "gramps" because, of course, I was old enough to be their grandfather. And I move more like Charlie Weaver than Willie Mays.
Slowly, slowly and for the first time since my first Juegos de Viejos last Memorial Day, I threw overhand.
My tosses had no velocity or bite, and were accompanied my no small amount of discomfort, but still, I made them. Through the course of our catch, I had the boys back up and back up, until I was lofting the ball roughly the distance between third and first.
This weekend I will find myself in Raleigh, NC, visiting my younger daughter, who has been living down in what Barney Fife from the old "Andy Griffith Show" called "The Asphalt Jungle."
We'll do the things fathers and daughters do when they see each other none too often. We'll hug and talk, maybe go shopping, maybe hold hands.
And if I'm really lucky, we might even have a catch.