(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Beaumont, Banning and Blythe — kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?
Beaumont, Banning and Blythe — three towns in California hardly anyone knows about. If you drive eastward from Los Angeles into Arizona, you will go through all three of these towns. But they don’t feel like California. They feel more like the Midwest. In California, there is San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and perhaps Sacramento, but the rest is small-town America. Beaumont, Banning and Blythe each have a local high school and a football team with an identity. They probably also have little cafes or diners that are not franchised or corporate. One in Blythe, Steaks ’n’ Cakes, barely made it through the pandemic. I’m so glad, too, because it’s always been the first stop on my annual spring training trip.
You’ve got to love these people. California as a state is as politically blue as they come because of the big cities, but Beaumont, Banning and Blythe bleed red. A sign in Steaks ’n’ Cakes stated that because of government handouts, no one wants to work anymore, so their staff is down, but they will try their best to serve us. And they did. They were packed, but I got served right away, and pleasantly, too.
There was a couple in Dodger paraphernalia obviously headed to spring training like me, but most of the people were rough, hard-working people with dirty fingernails. We need to be in other environments than what we’re used to in order to appreciate people different than us. We keep too close to our own.
And here’s what I found out yesterday at the ball game. The tufted flycatcher, a small little stocky, mostly orange bird with a crest of feathers on its head, was found in the high country of Mexico and Central America, until recently when it started showing up in Texas and Arizona. The gentleman sitting next to me at yesterday’s Angels/Giants game went on record as having the seventh such sighting in the United States. Somehow we got going on his favorite thing to do — bird-watching.
I have never talked to a bird-watcher before. I was surprised to find out he doesn’t take pictures. The whole idea is the search and the joy of finding. That’s it. There are websites where you can record what you find, but that isn’t necessary to the enterprise. It reminded me of the day when I was traveling Europe by myself and ran out of film in Italy. I forced myself to take pictures in my mind, and I can still remember that day.
Tomorrow on BlogTalkRadio, Os Guinness will talk about his new book, “The Great Quest.” It’s all about the search we can all be on.
I asked my new bird-watching friend if he believed in God. He said, “How can you not? When you see the intricacy and multiplicity of design in the natural world, it makes it impossible to deny the presence of a Great Designer.”
Beaumont, Banning and Blythe, the tufted flycatcher, and God. There’s a lot more to baseball than you think.