I spent some time this morning just thinking and jotting notes. We were about 300 miles from Denver and Kathy was doing the anchor leg. We had gotten to mile 1500 leaving Jacksonville on early Sunday. Rather than doing our usual run for home we decided to stop in beautiful Hays, Kansas. We gained an hour in time zones, so we left in the dark at 5:45 AM.
A cup of coffee and some great music had me drifting off into reverie as the sun’s first rays were caught by the newly greened plains. I love this time of the morning and it was great to just let go. I thought of our trip and friends far and wide, new and old. I thought of places and scenes and conversations that I only wish I could put into words better.
There were a few that stood out. One was a friend whose husband had died four years earlier. We had lost track over the years, so there was no way I could have known of his passing but I couldn’t help but feel a deep pang of guilt. She was gracious and welcoming and we spoke of fun times as she took us through the house and we stopped at this picture or that. A wonderful afternoon.
Another was an evening we spent with a couple we hadn’t seen in thirty years. I called their number and when my buddy answered I pretended to be an insurance salesman. He hung up. Then as I kept calling, he kept hanging up. I used to sit next to him on Wall Street so I was having a good laugh as I knew each call would get him more and more pissed off. You see when you work on a trading desk the thing you can’t stand is a ringing phone.
When his wife finally answered I managed to blurt out my name before I was clicked into oblivion. We went out to dinner and wound up talking for three and a half hours. It was amazing that after so long we were able to melt away the years. We spoke of nothing but good times.
The most poignant meeting I had was brief but startling. I was over at the beach smoking my birthday cigar with a healthy vodka and diet tonic. I chatted briefly with a fellow who was taking a break from a long bike ride. Feeling a little self conscious about my stogie, I quickly pronounced the significance of the date and that I had run 5 miles that morning. He seemed nonplussed.
We were soon joined by a very attractive young woman. God is good sometimes to TTG. She was in beach togs and a ball cap pulled down low and had an infectious smile. She was from L.A. A graphic designer in movie land. She was staying in Ponte Vedra for a couple of months. As she was talking excitedly, she knocked her hat off. She was as bald as yours truly.
Mayo Clinic was nearby. She was undergoing chemo and radiation for breast cancer. I didn’t ask how advanced but I knew it was not a walk in the park. We spoke of my work in hospice in a very matter of fact way. She came down to the beach every day after treatment. It was her reward for getting through the day. This very cool lady had her stuff together….at least on the outside.
All of us shared something of ourselves. She finally asked me if I was a merry go round or a roller coaster. Stumped, I asked for clarification. She stated a merry go round is very happy to go in circles. The ups and downs are more than predictable and appear on cue. A roller coaster is full of wild turns casting one’s self and anyone in the car on a dizzying ride. Both fun but in different ways. You’ll never guess which one I picked?
We chatted a while longer and then I left. A short talk. A lifetime of lessons. I was definitely taken by the siren’s song. No, not the pretty woman but the life by the sea. A day filled with what time I would play golf or have cocktails on the beach does have its allure. Don’t worry Kath. It could be in Florida or Denver. That’s not the point. For all these miles I keep going over in my mind whether both rides can fit in the same amusement park. Will I ever know? Will you?
Ted The Great
People in Missouri and Kansas are separated by one river, the Missouri. But they really hate each other. I thought it was a joke until I started asking around.Florida and FSU is the same but they are in the same state
There was a flashing sign in Colby Kansas…pop 5,000. “Golf Cart Replacement Batteries are In”. What? We didn’t even see a golf course.
Signs on trucks: Jones Septic Repair and Removal “We Suck”
Ace Electric Company…”We Can’t Wait to Get Into Your Shorts”
Crop Duster at 4:00…not a bogie but the time they do their work. When the winds die down.
Going through Kansas and Colorado there were oil wells and huge wind farms. In Florida we never saw wind turbines or solar arrays….anywhere.
We went through seven states coming and going. Signs everywhere….Help Wanted ?????? Also we saw a never ending line of big ass pick up trucks. All cruising and burning high priced gas. Business must be good.