It is interesting to see what I recall from my childhood. What things impacted me and stand out from my past?
The first time I saw anyone run was my dad in Charleston when I was really young. In the early 70′s when he began running is when people looked at you like you were an alien because you were running. I guess that was the first impact of running on me. I also would run with my mom when I was a little older. Or at least try to run circles around her. Only now it might me safe to admit that I knew it drove her nuts which is why I did it.
Last night I went to visit my Grandmother in the hospital (please say a little prayer) and I saw my Grandfather (Pop). I had great times with Pop growing up. Things I remember with Pop are the road trips where we would just hop in the car and drive around the state of Texas when I lived in Houston. Of course he tried to roast me to death in the hot car and I had to beg for some air conditioning. I remember his stories of living in Mobile Alabama as we would always get off the interstate and let him relive his past when we passed through town. I remember spending summer times at their house and playing volleyball in the back yard. I remember him performing near surgery on a toenail that was virtually ripped out. (See I have always had ugly feet!) I remember his gardens and the taste of the fresh tomotoes and fried ocra and riding on that old tractor.
I remember the movies he took me to, and even the ones he drug me out of because of the language, ugh! I remember playing tennis with him and also my strategy for victory. I would make him run side to side determined to wear him out. I know that was wrong but still solid strategy! And yes I remember the runs with Pop!
Pop was a runner and more than anything that we did together that always stood out to me. Running down Klondike Rd and Union Church Rd in Conyers Ga with Pop. I don’t know why I wanted to run but it just seemed to feel like the right thing to do. It just seemed to make sense even for a 12 year old. He could not have picked anything else I would have enjoyed more. From that time til now when life gets tough or stress hits hard when I go for a run is when things seem to clear up and life begins to make sense again.
It was small things that I remember the most that had such an impact on me. Most of the running I did at a young age involved being with some family member and creating a memory which is why today running is so important to me because of the great memories it brings up. Running to me is associated with family and good times, not just sweat and pain.
I try to remember this with my two boys. I started growing closer to my dad on afternoon runs on back roads in Lithonia together as I got older. We saw some interested things on the road together as we ran past the dump. Not sure why we chose to run by a dump everyday. I remember those little things. I try to remember to give my boys those moments to remember. I can’t make that memory happen but I can create the opportunity for them to make a memory to be impacted with the rest of their lives. It is just the little things.