Last Friday night, my wife and I, Catholics both, sought out a fish fry. We remembered a good one from the time when we were first getting to know each other. Little did we know that meatless Fridays did not necessarily mean card-less Fridays.
With no parking lot to speak of, I found a spot for the car just up the block from this establishment. The weather was nicer than usual, so we didn't mind the short trek. Not too far from the rear of the restaurant, something caught my eye. I broke stride, bent down, and picked up this...
1995-96 Fleer Ultra Extra #204 Ted Donato
With the backside of this hockey card facing up, it would have been easy for the lay person to miss. Days, months, years of exposure had dulled the once-glossy UV-coated surface, providing camouflage for this tortured cardboard. But I was no ordinary schmoe.
Flipping the card over, I started to recognize the name from the countless hours I used to play NHL '96 on Sega Genesis. Ted Donato was an ever-present member of the Boston Bruins team that for some reason I used for full season mode at least three times. Donato, Ray Bourque, John Gruden, Don Sweeney, Adam Oates, and occasionally Joe Juneau (who would enter the game whenever Oates would get big penalty minutes for fighting) were my dream team, points leaders for every position and winners of all major individual trophies. At last, as a non-hockey collector, I have a face to put with one of those names, dirt-streaked and all.
Next time you're on a walk, keep your head down and your eyes open. You never know what you'll find.