April 30, 2012 11:48AM PDT
Paving the Future
By: Luke Bonner
We had a dirt driveway in the south end of Concord, NH. My father picked up as much overtime as he could with the post office and refereed basketball games every weekend. My mother started working summer school and tutoring programs in addition to her teaching gig at Conant Elementary School. They were doing their best to make some extra money to pave our driveway.
One day, my father was visiting with the local paver, interested in how much it would cost to pave our driveway. The two began talking, and had a few discussions about different hypothetical situations in which asphalt could be creatively used. Curiosity led my father to inquire about the pricing of the many different uses of the pavement.
Eventually, an agreement was made. My father would hire the paver, and the paver would allow my parents to pay for the driveway in installments throughout the year.
However, the hypothetical discussions created some confusion over what actually had been agreed upon.
A couple weeks later, the paver was scheduled to work on the driveway. My father returned home early from work that day to check it out.
However, upon arrival, he noticed that the driveway was still dirt. He was confused. Then, he looked to the side of the garage, and noticed four stakes in the ground with long tape marking off a sizable square in the middle of the back yard.
My father panicked as he approached the yellow tape. The lush yard was ruined. A large square of pavement laid smack in the heart of it. And, the driveway remained unpaved.
How would he ever explain this to my mother?
The young married couple would remain without a paved driveway, and be stuck paying all year for a gaudy slab of pavement in the backyard.
My father's heart sunk.
He remembered the conversation he had with the paver a few weeks earlier. He made a comment about how great it would be to have a basketball court in the backyard. Somewhere within their exchange, the paver must have misconstrued my father's wishes for a basketball court as a legitimate demand. He had accepted this outrageous aspiration as an order. (At least, if you ask my father, he maintains that this court was the result of a miscommunication.)
My mother nearly fainted when she returned home from school to see the paved half-court right in the middle of her beautiful green lawn. She feared what the neighborhood would think. How embarrassing to lack a driveway, but have a basketball court? Our family would for sure be the laughing stock of South Concord.
(Although, they may not have known at the time, but my parents would eventually get the last laugh.)
Since the pavement had already settled, my father went ahead and purchased a basketball hoop and thus completed the court.
From my youngest days, I remember pretending to shoot hoops on this court. My father would have his buddies over to play some pick up, and I would watch all of their games. They would finish games and barbecue right there in the yard.
The court became a centerpiece to my family. My brother, my sister, and I would fill up with excitement in the springtime. The snow would finally melt, and we would be able to clean off the court and shoot hoops without dealing with the stinging pain of frozen fingers.
My sister and I would battle our older brother in games of 2-on-1. Sometimes, I would even use a Wiffle ball bat on defense to help make the games more evenly matched.
Our childhood playtime was rooted in the game of basketball. And, we loved the game. Coincidentally, my brother grew to be 6'9, my sister 6'2, and I peaked at a little over 6'11.
My mother and father got to watch all three of us grow from the backyard court to Division I arenas to professional teams. Though, my brother was the only one of us to reach the NBA, all three of us have played professionally in Europe.
So, as I watch the San Antonio Spurs take the court in the NBA Playoffs this year, I swell with pride for my big brother. However, more so, I fill up with gratitude towards my parents for paving such bright futures for us.