Unborn Child Gets Jump On Me

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 08:57 AM.

            “Daddy, we’re going to run in the 5 K race on St. George Island. How about running with us?”

            I declined as politely as I could. Jess and his wife have taken up running. And they are pretty serious about it. I just run enough to be able to eat anything I want to.

            “Come’on, dad, you’ve never entered a race. You’ll like it. Everyone is so friendly—”

            Never entered a race! Is he kidding me? He should have been out there at the end of Stonewall Street in 1959 when me and Terry Kennon dug our toes into the gravel and raced from the mailbox down to the telephone pole where the Como Road turned toward Archie Moore’s house. He should have come out at recess when I was in elementary school. It was a race every day to keep Vicki Fields from chasing you down and laying the “caught by a girl” stigma on you. Jess had no way of knowing every time I sneaked a drink of Leon’s Coca-Cola and he caught me, the race was on!

            Bobby Brewer and I would race to the picture show for the Saturday matinee. We both wanted that front row, center seat to see Lash LaRue chase down the cattle rustlers. The winner of that race won the “Bloody Eyes-Stiff Neck Award” from looking straight up, without blinking, through a cartoon, the Movietone Newsreel, previews of coming attractions and the double feature.

            Shoot, the Stonewall Street gang would race home after school “just because”. We’d run against each other across the swimming pool parking lot for “bragging rights”. Me and Larry Ridinger would race to Pat Houston’s Grocery when we got word the new baseball cards had arrived. Millicent Blackburn tried to beat me to the front of the lunchroom line every day in the seventh grade.

            Coach Scott honed our running skills in high school whether we wanted them enhanced or not! He ran us at football practice until my head began to swim, lights glimmered from distant places, visions of arid desert regions stretched before me and my heart was pounding “Wipeout” against my ribcage. He’d make us race somebody after calisthenics, before the tackling drills, after the last scrimmage and during study hall if he could catch Mrs. Ingram not looking.

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