July 4, 2012

This run dedicated to Dad

I've been thinking about my Dad a lot this week. More than usual, if that's possible.

I happened to drive by the funeral home Saturday, which I don't normally do. It was the last place I saw him, and it made me cry.

I had a programming question from work. In the past I would take that as a reason to call him, whether he could help me with it or not. 

He stole the 4th of July family party from me. At one time we had all the summer gatherings in my back yard. For some reason, my Dad decided one year he wanted the 4th. Even when it moved to Big Bro's house due to construction at his, the party belonged to my Dad. He grilled steaks, burgers, and chicken like it was his job. This year it's back at his house where it belongs, though it will never be the same without him. 

We have video he and my Mom took from their first few years of marriage. The only recent video we have of him is from last year's 4th. He was, as usual, telling a funny story. 

On yesterday's run, I inexplicably turned to run along the railroad tracks. It was not planned, as I don't plan any of my run routes right now. I think I heard the train, hit a red light, and went with it. 

Pictures through plastic on an iPhone = not the best
My Dad and trains are synonymous in my mind. I hear a train, I think of Dad. 

I thought about his home repair projects, including the one I recently completed.

I thought about his career.

I thought about his love of sports, his kids, and of course, trains.

All the while I ran along with this train, which moved slowly down the tracks. The train moved only slightly faster than I ran, almost as if it was leading me on. 

I ran out of my neighborhood. Out of my comfort zone. 

When the tracks veered away from the road I was on, I decided it was time to start heading toward home. Because I hadn't yet heard my "time to turn around" alarm, I instead made a left that would take me in the general vicinity of my neighborhood.

Shortly thereafter, I crossed these:

The train was nowhere to be seen. Gone. Destination unknown.

When I pulled out my phone to take this picture, I realized I missed my alarm. Car and train traffic had apparently drown it out. I don't know when it sounded, but it was certainly before I finished running with the train. Had I heard it, it would have interrupted my memories and brought me out of my reverie.

Standing on those train tracks seemed the perfect circumstance, that I had arrived in that place at that time. That image was exactly what I needed at that moment. I had greeted and embraced the memory of my Dad as I ran with the train. Looking down the empty tracks, I was able to let a little more of him go. 

Instead of turning around, I opted to continue the way I was going and complete a loop to get back home. In the end, I ran a total of 6.4 miles. I'd only planned to run somewhere near 5.

My Dad still influences me. His memory drives me to reach for goals, to succeed, and even to surpass his own accomplishments. He never would have run a single step, not to mention 6+ miles. However, he was indescribably proud that I do. It won't make my decisions for me, but the knowledge that my Dad would be proud will influence me for the rest of my life.

As it should.

1 comment:

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Nice post today. Hugs.