Monday, June 4, 2012


Once upon a time in a land far away (not really far away - in fact, the land is right here where I'm sitting) there lived a little girl named Lari who had some really great besties. There was Laura, Jennifer, Nichole and Heather. They were really good little friends, particularly me with Laura and Jennifer, and we had all kinds of little girl fun playing and riding our bikes up and down Luck Drive back in the day when only one or two cars came down the road during the daytime hours. We walked all over the town - downtown to Norton's grocery store for a soda or down to the old Sno Shak that used to be by Purple Turtle, or down to Purple Turtle for some gems. We always walked when we went that far, I think because it was just too much work to ride the bikes uphill back home. We walked to the pool and stayed for hours. When we were older we would go down to University Mall, where we somehow managed so waste an entire Saturday on only $5 in cash.

In high school, we skipped far too many classes and ran out of gas enough times on long lunches off campus that you would think we would learn our lesson (in our defense, the gas gauge in Jennifer's old Mercury didn't work).

During those idyllic years of growing up, we all agreed that we would all get married and have kids at the same times so our kids could grow up together, and we would all live on the same street so we could have Sunday afternoon BBQs together. You know, literal BFFs and all that.

But we didn't get married close to the same time. And we didn't live by each other. And I'm pretty sure we don't have kids the same ages. We don't even talk all that often. It is the sad part of growing up . . . and growing apart.

But life has a funny way about it. Who knew 20 years ago when I married Lane that I would end up right back on Luck Drive? And yet here I am. And while Jennifer doesn't live in her house at the other end of Luck Drive, she does live about 2 blocks away. And Nichole doesn't live very close by either, but she is in my ward and I see her nearly every Sunday.

There have been no Sunday BBQs, but we went on a cruise with Jennifer and her husband 2 years ago, and we go out to dinner once in a while. I text Heather every now and then and we usually get together for lunch every year - although this year hasn't happened yet. Totally my fault. I'm being difficult.

Anyway, all this has been on my mind as I head out every day for my evening walk. My return route brings me past Jennifer's new house (and her old house) and some other houses that weren't there back in the day. And I think of all the people who maybe didn't grow up on Luck Drive specifically, but in the old Pleasant Grove 13th Ward, and how many of them have returned to the old neighborhood. Not only are Jennifer and I here, but so are several of the Weights, among others.

And if I close my eyes for just a minute (which I can do and still safely arrive at home, having walked these streets so much over the last 42 years), I can still see 3 little girls on bikes, going up and down Luck Drive. Crashing sometimes. Happy always.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'll do almost anything for ice cream

Jack is always willing to do a 5k with me. Always. I don't know what's wrong with that boy, but he is always my best exercise buddy. When I say, "Who wants to go out for a walk?" I hear 3 grumbling voices full of random and implausible excuses, and 1 lone, strangely deep voice which replies, "I'll go!" This is good for me because not only do I have someone to go with, I also have a bug-killer, someone to make me laugh, and a source for all the goings-on at the junior high. This, of course, provides tremendous entertainment. Let's face facts: Junior High age kids are funny. Not so much funny-haha, but funny in more of a "What the crap?!?" sort of a way. Since I don't know some of the kids who have come in from different feeder elementary schools, we have assigned nicknames to them so I can keep them straight. One of them is called The Whiner. Sadly, Jack didn't have any classes with The Whiner in the second half of the school year, but for the first 4 and a half months, much of our dinner entertainment came to us courtesy of The Whiner. And we thank him. And we hope for another class with The Whiner in 8th grade.

But I digress.

So when I called out for volunteers for the Running with Angels 5k at Thanksgiving Point on May 19, I was met with stony silence except for again, the lone, strangely deep voice, which responded "I'll go!" Thank goodness. I hate doing things alone.

I didn't know before we got to the race that morning that it raised funds for the Angel Watch program. For a small extra fee, you could purchase an "In Loving Memory" bib. I have a friend who sadly had need for the Angel Watch program recently, and I would have loved to wear a bib in memory of her loved one. I guess I'll save that for next year. Yes, I said next year.

At the starting line, while we were waiting to begin, Jack alternated back and forth like this: "Mom, I'll stay with you for the race. I like to talk to you. . . No, I'll run ahead. I want to see how fast I can finish. . . No, I'll stay with you. I don't want you to be alone . . . No, I really want to see how fast I can go . . . No I'll stay . . . No, I'll go ahead . . . No, I'll stay . . ." Then the starting pistol sounded, and that's the last I saw of him until I passed him on a loop going the other way.

Despite what the picture looks like, I was running. Sadly, my run is so slow it is barely distinguishable from my walk. I made it through the first mile running, then alternated walking and running the rest. I promised myself I would run all the uphills, which I am proud to say I did. I also ran all the downhills, which somehow there were less of than the uphills. Shouldn't they balance out? I saved my walking for the level parts.

From the brochure: "There is a good sized slope in the upward direction that we have strategically placed just before the finish line. Atually, it's rise of about 40 feet over a distance of about 75 yards located 100 yards before the finish line. . . .I am hoping you will view it as a life lesson. Just when you think you have gone far enough, and want to cross that line and be finished, there it is -- another hill to climb. And there is really no other way around it but simply to face it head on and conquer."

Awww . . . so inspiring. I kept that passage in my head as I ran/walked along. I knew the hill was coming. I tried to picture the angle of that hill on a graph - 40 feet over 75 yards. Well, yards are 3 times longer than feet . . . and 40 is about half of 75 . . . so how bad can it be?

Oh. My. Goodness. It was worse than I thought.

Finally, the gorgeous run through the Thanksgiving Poing Gardens winds around enough times, and you can see where the runners ahead of you are going, and you can see the hill they are running up. And that hill didn't look ANYTHING like the graph I had drawn in my head.

I wasn't running when I saw It. And I wasn't sure I wanted to. But somehow I dug down deep enough and found the strength to run up that hill. Not only did I run up the hill, but I also smiled doing it. Because spray painted on the ground were the words: YOU CAN DO THIS. I remembered what was written in the brochure and I knew I could do it. I made it up the hill. And at the top of the hill waiting for me was Jack.

"Come on Mom! You can do it Mom!"

No, son. I cannot do it. Just leave me here. Bring the car around. Let's go to McDonalds.

Ok, I didn't really say that, but I thought it.

"Come on Mom! You don't want to walk across the finish line! Come on Mom!" (He's my best cheerleader)

I walked at least half of that final 100 yards. But then again, somthing down deep in my soul rose up and I did cross the finish line running (or as it is more aptly called, shuffling).

Jack's time was just over 31 minutes

Here I come . . . the home stretch.
(Disregard the time on the clock - it was chip timed and I was at the back of the pack)
Finishing time - 44:04
That's under 45 minutes
I'm so ready to do this one again next year. It was a beautiful morning, the gardens were . . . well, it's Thanksgiving Point. 'Nuf said.
And did I mention they had ice cream bars at the finish line? I mean really. Let's focus on what's really important.