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8.11.2011

THE WALK OF CELEBRATION

Typically I run most every day, barring a few here and there.  I live in a neighborhood where there are tons of walkers, runners, and bikers.  You kind of get accustomed to seeing the same people out doing their routine.  In fact, if you don't see someone for a day or two you start to wonder about them - even though you don't personally really know them!  Last summer I started seeing this 30-something year old woman out, usually at dusk with her German Shepherd, barely jogging.  She was a very large woman.  I wasn't  sure if she was out at the time of the day for the coolness that it brings or, to gingerly jog maybe not wanting to bring attention to her size.  I watched her form, her size and applauded inside when I saw that she was working at it.  I can't say that a year later she has disappeared or wilted down to a svelte, lean running body.  But, several weeks ago on a sweltering day I went out for a run.  Typically I don't run that time of day - way too hot.  The heat had been unrelenting for a week or more and there was no real "cool down" period of the day.  Nearing my street on the my return home, I stopped to walk the block home.  There that lady stood with her husband in the shade at the edge of the road getting ready to run.  I stopped to converse, commenting that they like me, had waited too late in the day and got caught in the heat.  I mentioned to her that I had watched her jog at night by my house and that I could tell she had lost some weight.  "60 pounds," she replied.  She told me that they had a contest at work and then she just decided that she wanted to run a mile.  That mile led to eventually another, and so forth.  But, she mentioned that she just couldn't break the 3-4 mile barrier and her time was about 9:30 or 10:00 minute miles.  Even after a 60 pound loss she was still a big girl.  Several nights ago my husband and I went for our nightly walk.  As we left the driveway for the street there she was, dripping wet with sweat, wearing what are typically not running clothes (due to her size), and sort of yelling something at us, "Hey you guys!!  I just ran my first straight 6 miles!!"  We got so excited for her that we clapped and screamed and hollered and I ran to the stop sign jumping up and down for her.  What a treat to celebrate the final 2 blocks of her personal victory with her.  Walking a few blocks further there was a man at the end of his driveway unloading a large white 5-gallon pail from his truck.  "Do you want to see my large blue catfish I just caught?" he said with eagerness to show off his prize.  We headed across the street to his driveway where, with pride, he reached into the pail and holding it by the mouth, pulled out a 8-9 pound catfish.  I asked him about the fight to catch it and the thrill.  Soon another walker saw the commotion and joined us in looking at this total stranger's fish.  We walked away and I wondered what it was about that night that made relative total strangers invite us to celebrate their personal joys.  I felt kind of privileged.  It reminded and reassured me that there are still wonderful things in humanity - that people are mostly good and decent.  That everyone, once in awhile, needs a pat on the back.

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