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Families That Hit Pine Cones Together Stay Together

By Duane Shinn

It is said that families that pray together stay together. I think it's almost equally true that families that play together stay together. If play time is the glue of family life, our family is a sticky crew!

One scorching August day we were trying to escape the heat by retreating to a summer cabin rental at Diamond Lake, high in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Our little league star, Garin, suggested that we play baseball.

"But we don't have a ball up here, I objected.

"We don't need a ball. We can use pine cones, answered Garin.

"Where would we play? There's no clearing big enough, I countered.

"We can play in the driveway if you move the car." Garin always was a problem solver.

"Alright, I groaned. "Come on. Everybody out to the driveway." I pouted while moving the car. I always was a bad loser.

The driveway to our cabin, you understand, was not the nicely paved driveway you find in subdivisions. Instead, it was more like a wild bear trail, weaving its way between 200-foot pines and spruce and white fur, bordered on the west by Diamond Lake and on the right by the country road. I had visions of the Cincinnati Reds playing the World Series on a motorcycle track. "The boat trailer will be first base, declared Garin with the authority that only comes with entrepreneurs. "The back of the car will be second, and the outhouse will be third. Let's use this squirrel hole for home plate. "

So we did.

Mom said to start the game without her. She would be there in a minute. Garin was first up, naturally. He tripled off the Blue Spruce. Conveniently at third, used the opportunity to hurry Mom out of the game by pounding the rhythm of "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho on the outhouse wall.

Mom made her appearance just as Garth lined a foul ball into the right field forest. Kendy claimed she retrieved the ball, but the rest of us had our doubts, as the new ball seemed larger and was certainly stickier than the old ball.

"Yuk exclaimed the pitcher, Kurt. "This ball has pitch all over it."

Since I was doubling as catcher and umpire, I examined the ball and decided that the new ball was definitely in order. I threw out the old ball, threw in the new, and play resumed. Things went nicely for 3 or 4 innings Kurt hit the ball over the cabin and into the lake; the squirrel stuck his head up once but quickly re-submerged when he saw Garth about to slide into home plate; and a passing doe watched the game briefly from the left field stands, but apparently got bored with our game and moved on to more exciting adventures.

After the game we totaled the score, which was kept engraved in the red dirt behind home plate. Kids 76; Mom and Dad 37. Garth complained because he wanted to go swimming.

Bev and I, decisively defeated, headed for the cabin to drown our sorrows in a tall ice tea while the kids scrambled to get their swimming suits, inner tubes, frog feet, and snorkels.

While the victors celebrated loudly in the lake, the losers retreated to the shade of a massive fir tree by the shore where they licked their wounds and re-grouped for the next encounter.

About The Author

Duane Shinn is the father of four now-grown kids, and is also the author of the popular free 101-week e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 56,500 current subscribers. Those interested may obtain a free subscription by going to


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