Monday, February 15, 2010

What's it all about, Fred?

I had several very serious thoughts on my mind this morning when I woke up. Then I looked out the window at the snow, thought about more snow being on the way, and gave serious a quick boot in favor of thinking about Fred Morrison, who died last week at the age of 90. 

I doubt if anyone's life has been more broadly, if briefly, celebrated in WMRA Land than Mr. Morrison's. Or, indeed, celebrated in any land that believes in celebrating. Did any of us, when we heard about his death (and realized who he was and what he'd given the world), not stop for just a moment to think, thanks, Fred, for living; thanks, Fred, for inventing the Frisbee.

The Washington Post had quite a lengthy obituary/celebration of Mr. Morrison, which included a history of his invention. The Frisbee, it seems, was appropriately discovered in someone's back yard on a national holiday.
 . . .Inspiration for Mr. Morrison's flying-saucer toy came in 1937 at a Thanksgiving feast in Southern California. He and his girlfriend, Lucile "Lu" Nay, entertained themselves by tossing a popcorn-tin lid in the backyard. The lid eventually became dented, ruining its aerodynamic potential, and the resourceful couple snatched a cake pan from Mr. Morrison's mother's kitchen.
Cake pans, it turned out, were sturdier and flew better -- so much so that one day, when the two were flinging a pan back and forth on the beach, an impressed passerby offered to buy it. The pan had originally cost a nickel, the stranger offered a quarter -- and that exchange was enough to whet Mr. Morrison's entrepreneurial appetite. . .
If you haven't yet thought about Fred and his invention, think about them now, as you slog through yet another sunless, sub-freezing day, taking care where you step in snow that's measured in feet, not inches. It's thanks in part to Mr. Morrison's invention that, no matter how old we are, how dreary the weather and cold the temperatures, how many responsibilities we have and tasks we must accomplish, that inside us still lurks a  carefree Dudette or Dude who's capable -- hallelujah! -- of goofing off.

frisbeen drawing

Don't know what I'm talking about? Well then, just go to your closet or down to your basement, root around amongst your summer stuff, find your dusty Frisbee, hold it in both hands, close your eyes and feel yourself magically beamed up to Playland, that inner place where you and I stay, as Bob Dylan put it, Forever Young.

Any Frisbee thoughts, memories, pictures you'd like to post?

Play on, Macduff;
And damned be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

1 comment:

  1. My brother and I would make up silly games, throwing the Frisbee back and forth in the front yard. One was that the person throwing got points if the person catching didn't have to take more than one step to get to it. Helped my accuracy a lot!

    Then there was the time that a group of us were taking turns throwing the length of the yard, trying to get one into the door of the dog house. [Don't worry - no dog was inside at the time!] My sister stepped up and made it on the first throw. We were shocked and said she couldn't do it again... but she did!

    Now I enjoy disc golf - played like regular golf but with discs (Frisbee is the Wham-O trade mark name, but most of the discs for the game are made by other companies). I'm not very good, but it sure is a fun way to spend an afternoon in the park.