We’re in Texas for a family funeral this week. Exactly two years ago when I was training for my first 10K, I would get up as early as 5:00am to avoid running in the grueling Texas heat. I tend to run the same routes so I can compare my times thus each run took me by the same house where each morning I would see the same elderly couple. Texans of a certain age have a habit of sitting out in their garages or carports early in the morning before it gets too hot; drinking coffee, eating breakfast or simply taking the air. This tradition seems to be leftover from a time before central-air conditioning.
I started running again in February after a six month pregnancy/new baby leave, and Monday morning laced up my running shoes to do a 4-miler in my husband’s small Texas hometown. About three miles in I paused my podcast and my stopwatch, and walked up the driveway to say hello. His wife was inside cleaning up after breakfast, but the coffee carafe and two cups were still on the TV tray. Wearing new denim overalls and a short sleeve cotton tshirt, Mr. W and I exchanged greetings, notes on whom we were kin to and comments about the weather. He was one of those elderly men who seems to sweeten rather than sour with age. His short cropped hair was white and his soft plumpness was like Henry’s on the waning side of life. With his fingers laced over his stomach, he told me how he is living 6 miles from where he was born and how his wife almost died from a blood clot a few months ago.
“I’m 85 years old and it was the only time I’ve ever been scared in my life,” he told me solemnly.
This is one of the reason I love to run.