Magic

...now browsing by category

 

The Minneapolis Miracle

Monday, January 15th, 2018

By now you’ve all seen it, right? Last night’s last ditch pass from Vikings quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, resulting in a game-winning touchdown in the last 10 seconds of the game.

Watch it here:

And again here:

And this one, for good measure:

They’re calling it historic, legendary, the Minneapolis Miracle. Things like this just don’t happen… until they do. And when they do, we all — sports fans or not — lose our minds. We scream. We jump up and down. Kids light up and grown men cry. We can’t believe it — but look around. Everyone else saw it, too! We confirm the good news to each other with grins and hugs and tears and cheers, and wake up the next morning shocked and hoarse and happy.

I’m not a very good sports fan. I love the Denver Broncos, but they had a disappointing year and I lost steam toward the end of this season. I like to go to baseball games, but mostly for the hot dogs and people watching. I couldn’t tell you anything about basketball except running and shooting and sometimes dunking (?). There’s no good reason I, Annie Parsons, should be thinking about sports today, except that it taps into something that I major in:

FEELINGS. (You knew it was coming.)

My favorite genre of film is the DISM: the Disney Inspirational Sports Movie (trademark: me). If you want to see me cry, turn on The Rookie or Miracle. If you want to see me bawl, it’s Remember the Titans. I even loved the one about cross country, for crying out loud (McFarland, USA). These stories are about the underdogs, the impossible dream, the ragtag group of far-shots that band together to do something bigger than any one of them could have done alone.

The very best part of every one of these movies is the montage. You know what I’m talking about — the two-minute compilation of short scenes spliced together in order to save time while still showing progress. There’s usually an up-tempo song playing in the background, advancing the story but sparing the viewer any quotidian details — because daily tasks, even the ones that ultimately lead to victory, tend to be unsexy.

Remind me of this tonight when I put in my nightguard.

Anyway, I think this is why I loved Michael Phelps’ commercial for Under Armour. It aired during the 2016 Olympics in the midst of him winning all of those gold medals, serving as a reminder that his glory was only a result of all of the hours of unseen work.

Listening to interviews with the Vikings after last night’s game, they confirmed that this was a play that they’ve run over and over in practice. They put in the work, not knowing when or where they might need it — but when that moment came, they were ready for it. To borrow from the Phelps commercial, it’s what they did in the dark that put them in the light — and whether or not we’re professional athletes (I’m basically positive that no one reading this is — no offense, dear reader), I’m pretty sure this is inspiration we could all apply to our lives in some way or another.

Twenty four hours later, my social media feeds are still all purple. I’m thrilled for my many longsuffering Minnesotan friends, and am pulling for the Vikings to be in the Super Bowl at home — something no team has ever accomplished — in just a few weeks.

Until then, you can find me here, hanging out on YouTube, still crying.

How a kitchen appliance reminded me of magic

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I find it harder and harder to believe in magic these days.

Life isn’t easy, you know.  It can be full of tough things.  We learn to suck it up, because no one is going to come along and fix it for us.  Right?  We’ve waited and waited, but with no imminent rescue, we eventually make up our minds to stop wishing, and just do what we have to do.  It’s a long and lonely road, but after some time, we learn to just walk forward – head down, no questions.

Do not want.  Do not need.  Do not wish.  Do not hope.

And this doesn’t leave room for much magic.

I have to tell you: lately, I’ve been living without hopes or expectations.  Time has taught me that expectations, however small, will eventually lead to disappointment – so instead of hoping for good things, it’s easier to just take whatever life deals you.

But my birthday brought me a little magic.

Beyond the fact that I saw a black bear, and climbed Mt. Princeton, and sat on a tailgate of an F-150 drinking PBR and talking about Rebecca Black and O.J. Simpson with a new friend, when I got home I had a huge package waiting for me that said it was from “Your Fan Club.”

My fan club.

And I opened the envelope, and realized who it was from: so many of YOU.  People who I know and have met only thanks to blogging.

And in the box was the hot rod of kitchen appliances: a bright red KitchenAid stand mixer.

I shrieked, and then bubbled over, gushing, saying things like, “AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO GET MARRIED.”  I have always wanted a KitchenAid mixer, but it’s one of those things seemingly reserved for the espoused – because who would ever be able to justify that kind of money on themselves?

I have burned through hand mixer after hand mixer, only to abandon them altogether and stir things by muscle.  And remember, this is fine – you learn to not wish or hope for anything better or easier than what you have.  “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit” is a popular motto these days.

But every now and then, people surprise you.  They pay attention, and take action, and bring you the happiest shock you can imagine.  They conspire behind your back to bombard you with love.  They choose red because they think you’re “a red hot siren” (OMG).  Their kind words are sprinkled like magic, and all of a sudden, a little bit of hope is renewed.

I am humbled and grateful – not only for the KitchenAid (although it is one of the kindest, most generous gifts I have ever been given), but for the reminder that magic is worth hoping for.

Thank you, friends – you know who you are – from the bottom of my hope-filled heart, and my cookie-filled tummy.

Home is wherever I’m with you

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I spent the weekend in Southern Colorado, just a stone’s throw away from New Mexico, at a cabin with family and friends and dogs and sangria.  The aspens were turning, giving the mountains blond patches in their otherwise dark beards.  We celebrated the wedding of Kyle and Emily amid golden leaves and vivid blue sky, and the entire event was magical.

This was Kyle and Emily skipping down the aisle while we (the band and the bridal party) played this song on guitars, banjos, tambourines, and kazoos.

Are they not the cutest?  I love them.  They are playful and joyful and uninhibited, full of love and life.  I am lucky to count Emily and her sister Hannah as the closest thing I have to sisters – you know, besides my own sisters.

The entire weekend was a joy.  I can’t wait to point you toward the official pictures, courtesy of (who else?) The Parsons Photographers… coming soon.

– – – – – – – –

Speaking of joy and magic and love, this was a conversation I had with my 6-year old nephew at the campfire on Friday night.

Annie: What are some animals that lay eggs?
Micah: Crocodiles, fish, turtles, stars…
Annie: Stars?
Micah: Yeah, stars.  All of the stars we see are star eggs – and when they hatch, it’s daylight.

I love this little boy more than life itself.

– – – – – – – –

After a long, long, many-months-long stretch of vagrant, vagabond living, I will now experience an unprecedented 27 nights in my own bed before it’s time to leave town again.

No one invite me anywhere.  No one get married.  This chicky needs to nest.

M is for Magic

Monday, October 20th, 2008

(A word of caution:
Prepare yourself not for art, or beauty, or wisdom, or humor, or insight…
but simply for an explosion of my heart.)

Remember this mysterious, ambiguous entry?

I received an email this morning:

Annie,
Congratulations! You’ve passed our audition process…

And on June 21, 2009, I’ll be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams and playing at the Bluebird Café.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!

I am completely speechless.

I wish I could say that I rocked my audition, but… I didn’t. No, really – I DIDN’T. I was certain – sure – POSITIVE – that I wasn’t going to make it. I have never felt nerves like I felt that day; I could barely play my guitar, which is bad since I can barely play my guitar ANYWAY. I messed up the words to my song. I was freezing cold. I was shaking so badly that I couldn’t think straight. I have been nervous before, but have always been able to reason myself out of it. This time, I was completely out of control – no amount of self-talk or deep breathing or sheer force of will could calm me down.

I never in a million years expected to have made the cut. To some one else, this might not feel like a big deal. To me, it’s an answer. It’s confirmation. It’s hope. It’s the entire world.

I cannot believe it.

Dream your dreams, kids.

Glow

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I have found my fair share of things to complain about here in Nashville. I’ve already talked about the heat – although I’m not sure that my words have conveyed the depth of my suffering. There are street corners that flagrantly (not fragrantly) reek of sewage – by the Wendy’s on West End, or across the street from P.M. on Belmont Blvd., for example. Smog is a recent development here in Music City, as is the discovery of RABID BATS raising hell in the Green Hills area.

But there is something that I haven’t mentioned yet. A very good thing. One of the very most magical things I have ever seen: fireflies.

I have never lived in a place with fireflies before, and before I saw them, I don’t know that I really believed that they existed. A firefly was an idea in my head, in the same category as the Eiffel Tower – a nice thought, but relatively meaningless since I had never seen it. Late this spring, when I finally did see the little lights glowing in the front yard at dusk, I was mesmerized.

I have no idea “how” a firefly works, and to be honest, I don’t want to know. In our world of knowledge and explanations, there are very few things left that literally enchant us. I could sit on the porch and watch the fireflies every night through the summer, and never tire of their simple brilliance.

Not that it’s bearable enough to sit outside or anything.