Under the Tennis Ball by John L. Neel

Kady and I had been dating a few months when she and I planned to meet at my parents' house in Huffman.  She would arrive before I got there from work and Mom and Dad would not be home, so she needed a key.  I only had my key and we figured I only had to hide it outside, but I didn't want to do an obvious, under-the-door- mat kind of place; Huffman was not what it used to be when I was in High School.

This  was during the between times, after the first four years in the Army, after the divorce, during the lean year of no money, struggling to make ends meet, hating my job at Motion Industries, moving back in with the parents, and feeling like a complete failure.  Kady brought fun back to my life.

From the first day we met, we were a couple and saw each other every day.  We had precious little time alone, usually spending time with friends.  This day would be different.

But, where to hide the key?

I looked out front and behind the house and there was no place that looked good.  I checked the garage hoping for an idea, something she would spot easily. I noticed my brother's huge basket of old tennis balls over in the corner.  That's It!  I'll hide the key under a tennis ball.  I set the basket by the front door to block my exit the next morning so I wouldn't forget, called Kady and told her, the Key would be "under the Tennis Ball in the front yard."

When Kady arrived that evening, there were about forty tennis balls in the front yard.

To her credit, she searched until she found the key and was still there when I got home from work.