Travel Series: Why I Carry a Ping-pong Ball

This past Sunday, I found a ping-pong ball machine in our community center.  On a whim, I forked over $0.50 for two balls.  I grabbed a Sharpie marker and drew a face on each ball – one boy and one girl.  Then I chased down my kids and gave them each a ball. 

You would have thought I gave my kids an expensive toy or something.  They played with them all day.

After a minutes my daughter tugged my sleave, “Daddy, can I have a quarter?”

“Why do you need a quarter?”

She looked up at me.  “I want to make you a ball?”

I handed her the quarter and a Sharpie.  A few minutes later she brought me a ball with a face.  Even better were the words written in a shaky six-year-old hand, “I love you, Daddy.”

I carry that ball with me now, even in Finland.  Traveling is often a lonely business and I carry small things with me to remind me of my family’s love.  They also make great conversation starters.  

What do you carry with you as you travel?

1 Comment

  1. Scott Purcell says:

    Why I carry balloons (the long skinny “entertainer” kind). I don’t think of it ahead of time as often as I should, but when I expect to be somewhere that kids are stuck waiting around with their parents (for doctor’s appointments, hair cuts, car repairs, airport travel, etc.) I try to have a balloons in a pocket. The smiles elicited by a small poodle, teddy bear, or flower are to die for — usually coming from the parents as well as the kids.

    Fun to brighten someone’s day unexpectedly 🙂

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