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Psychic or not, come to t-ball

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I ran into a couple of t-ball players Saturday at Docton’s Animal Clinic in Xenia, when I was picking up medicine for our new, 8-week-old puppy, Cody. Olivia Ling, 4, marched in the front door with her fabulous sister Eliana, 6, their mom Audrey, and their guinea pig in a box.

“You have a dog,” Olivia said in a way that was as much a statement as a question.

“Yes,” I said, “I do. And two cats.”

She slid up on the white church-pew-like bench one seat over from me. She was not interested in my cats.

“I knew you’d be here,” she said, surprising me. She was in dead earnest.
I smiled, charmed by her bravado. Of course you did, I didn’t say.

But then I thought about it, how serious she was, and about a book I’d read years ago, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. The author had traveled to the then-Soviet Union where such phenomena were taken more seriously than they are back here in the West.

But why would they take such things more seriously there?

Because they’d had no scientific revolution, no Industrial Revolution like we had had in the West, the writer John Cheever said in an interview about a trip to Russia. A culture that hadn’t gone through a scientific revolution or a renaissance wouldn’t value the scientific method, nor would it canonize logic and reason as we do in the West. And they’d be more open to things decidedly illogical like psychic phenomena.

And apparently they are, for the book Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain told a ton of stories about people with extra sensory perception (ESP), people who could read minds, people who could predict the future, and people with psychic powers and abilities in general. The book’s basic thesis was that psychic powers were innate, that all human beings have them. And like any other human characteristic or trait, such as an ability to do math, or to run, jump, and handle a ball, or to draw, or to make music, or an ability to design things, to investigate things, to build things up, etc., some people are gifted at it, most of us are average at it, and a few are profoundly deficient in it.

So we can all read minds. Do mental telepathy. Predict the future. Some of us better, more easily than others. Like four-year-old Olivia Ling who “knew” I’d be at Docton’s when she got there.

I told her mom, Audrey, what Olivia had said. And that after I’d thought about it a bit, I believed her — I believed she meant it and I believed that she probably did “know” I was going to be there.

Audrey laughed and said, sort of jokingly, sort of not, “Yes, she’s our psychic daughter.” Then a few minutes later, when their guinea pig was in an examining room with the vet, and the girls were in there, too, Audrey took me aside and told me she was actually serious. That Olivia did seem to have psychic powers. Like friends would come over and Olivia would ask about Fred, “How was Fred?” — and Fred, who Olivia had never met, was a beloved pet that the couple had just euthanized. Or other friends would stop by and Olivia would call one of them by a nickname, a nickname she’d never heard before.

I told Audrey I believed it, that I’d read about it, that it was often obvious in children, that many people who worked with children had reported on it, on children’s many psychic and spiritual gifts — but I also understood how our culture didn’t value such “nonsense.” And just as Picasso once said about art — “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up” — we might say about these curious psychic powers: Every child, including you and I when we were children, is a psychic. The problem is how to remain one when we grow up.

And that’s what’s happening in the Perry League, Yellow Spring’s t-ball program for all our community’s children ages 2-9, regardless of race, color, creed, or psychic abilities. We’ll be out there at Gaunt Park, 6:30-8:00, for two more Friday nights, this Friday, August 1 and next Friday, August 8, our final potluck wiener roast trophy night. Remember, children can begin play at any time, up to and including that last potluck trophy night, and there’s no requirement to play every week. Nor do you need to be psychic or even believe any of this. It’s just another fascinating thing about these remarkable children and their remarkable parents. So give into that urge and come on out, and when you do, ask around. You’re likely to find a kid who already knew you were coming.


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