Having already set out his box, tissue paper, wrapping paper, and bow, Daniel Duffy walked to his bedroom with quiet determination, a trait that forms the foundation for his demeanor in everything he does. He trained his eyes of his dresser, where he had last set his gift when he picked it up from Ned Yost's pottery studio on Monday. Sure as the sun rose in the East, it was there. Daniel, as his mother was wont to calling her son, gently picked up his creation and looked at it one more time with reserved admiration.
One could easily confuse this piece as having been done by a professional, but as this past year had shown Duffy's skills on the wheel and in the studio were becoming the stuff of legend. In the past months, he had begun taking requests from teammates whose skills lacked Duffy's artisanal polish and flair, and though they had offered countless times, Daniel would take no money for his apparently preternatural ability to form art from earthen clay.
Daniel held his piece in his hand, a small pot fashioned after a baseball glove, and the trace of a tear formed in the corner of his right eye. His mother had driven him to and fro across Santa Barbara County as he grew up tossing the ball across fields for teams representing the city of Lompoc, the unofficial flower seed capital of the world. In his pot, he had placed a few packets of flower seeds--purchased and shipped furtively by his father--from home just to reiterate how important family still was to him.
As he gently wrapped his pot in tissue paper and placed it in the box, he smiled. He attached the homemade card that he'd completed weeks ago telling his mother just how much her love and support meant to him, and headed to the stadium, where his mother and family would be.