Monday, July 5, 2010


So I'm on vacation now officially. My toes have touched sand and my ass has been in the ocean.

After spending 2 days in the car driving across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, I decided that I should get a long run in as soon as possible to stave off atrophy in my legs.

I set out on a 12 mile run up the beach-side road at 6 AM while my kids were still asleep. It was quiet and lonely and lovely. A nice easy run that my legs were aching to do. They seemed to have a great desire for every step. So much better than sitting still for 10 hours a day. I didn't see many other runners at first so I had time to get my mind settled and make it concentrate on nothing but the task of putting one foot in front of the other.

Eventually I came upon a wonderful man who I ran with for a few miles. When I say ran with, what I really mean is that we ran beside each other. He with his headphones on and me with my mind clear and disinterested. After a few miles, I began to wonder about this man. I wondered what his story was. Was he a resident of this island or was he also a visitor? My mind eventually gave up the wondering and began to make up his story for him. His name was Henry and he was a Korean war veteran (didn't look old enough for WWII). He was here on vacation with his wife, Audrey. They had been high school sweethearts, been married forever and raised 4 kids. He worked as a pipeline repairman in the oil fields of Texas since he returned from the war. Retirement is looming and he was deep in thought about what he was going to do with the rest of his life and how he and Audrey were going to spend their golden years. His oldest boy, Lyle, ran his own business in Iowa and had invited Henry to come up and help him run the company. This appealed to Henry because he wasn't sure how long he could survive just sitting around East Texas with nothing to do. Iowa wasn't his first choice in retirement locations however and he was apprehensive about working so closely with his son. The weight of this decision and the weight of the years of hard work showed in his running style. Leaning slightly forward, looking almost bent over, he shuffled along at a good pace but it looked labored. He liked running for the feeling of accomplishment it gave him when a good run was finished. He got little satisfaction from his work lately and desperately sought that worthy feeling any way he could nowadays.

So I had this entire story written after only a few miles. I never spoke to this man. Mostly because I didn't want to bother him and partly because I didn't want to find out the truth about him and ruin my story.

On the way back, I noticed a street that ended at the ocean-front. The funny thing I noticed about this street was that it was named "West Summer". I'm at the Atlantic Ocean and this road ended at the ocean front. West Summer? Where the heck is East Summer, Africa? You can't more East in the United States than the Atlantic Ocean. I supposed there was someone running up the African coast by "East Summer" road and wondering the same thing.

I'll be at the beach for the next few days.

Thanks for listening


Terri said...

sounds like you are enjoying your time at the ocean. And Willie, you should not give up that dream of writing a book. You have a great imagination.

Aka Alice said...

I'm just checking in to shame you into writing more (Dude...July 5...really?) and tell you that it was really nice meeting you and even running (briefly) with you in SF.

Now start writing again...really! ;-))