23 August, 2015 Unavailable at Amazon
Today is my 54th birthday. Because I have priceless friends and relatives, all the gifts I get are priceless. Ev took me out for dinner last night:
My friend Ethan grew a butternut squash for me – and gave it to me on my birthday weekend. Think about the planning that took – he must have started this in May. Thoughtful and healthy and delicious and beautiful – look at this:
After Ev and Mackey and Turner and I returned from the river this morning, Mackey began barking – and it was our neighbor Hanna – who already brings us eggs from her chickens – delivering homemade chocolate chip scones! And look at this sign! An embarrassment of riches:
Plus how about that hand drawn sign? Everyone is so talented! Gardeners, cooks, signmakers, it’s amazing.
Yesterday on my birthday eve I was fortunate to participate in the Quantico Triathlon. It was held at the Marine Corps Base Quantico just an hour or two north of here on the banks of the Potomac River. Try to imagine a perfect course in perfect weather – it was just a tiny bit better than that. Here’s a picture Ev took of the swim start – I’m in there somewhere:
Here’s me at some point on the bike – I don’t recall if this was the beginning or the end:
Here’s one of me early on the run, crossing an overpass:
A few minutes later I was running across a field at about mile 0.7, heading into the woods and a Bald Eagle flew over my head!
Ev waited patiently (very patiently; I’m really slow) and caught me crossing the finish line:
While Pat and I were out on the course, Evelyn was hanging out with Pat’s wife Megan. All four of us met a guy named Adam the evening before at the swim start. Personable, handsome young guy with one leg just like the one most of us have and the other one missing from his hip down. He was in the US Air Force and he’d lost the leg seven years ago in Afghanistan. I said I’m a rehabilitation counselor, I work with people with disabilities, I like to learn how people accomplish different things. So I asked him how the heck he’s going to get out of that swim in the Potomac River and get up to his bike. He said, more or less “my running leg is going to be down here and I’m going to put it on and go up and put on my biking leg.” Race day morning Ev caught a picture of a guy bringing down prostheses for Adam and another guy:
Later in the day, Megan took a picture of Adam and another guy after the race:
That’s Adam with the red shirt and another guy missing a limb in front of him. If you can’t read Adam’s shirt it says “EOD Warriors” which stands for “Explosive Ordnance Disposal.” So I have no idea how he lost his leg, but it’s a good bet he was disarming an IED. Most fascinating to me was his attitude about it. He didn’t have an attitude about it. He gave the strong impression that he thinks as much about having one leg as you think about having two legs. I quote David Foster Wallace regarding that sort of attitude “People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being ‘well-adjusted’, which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.” If everybody was like Adam, it would put rehab counselors out of business. He might have needed help for the first year or so. It was a privilege to meet him.
Anyway, late in the race, it was so beautiful, I was slowing down just enjoying myself. I was joking with people that I was slowing down because I didn’t want it to end. I was having too much fun! Which is the way I feel about this blog post and my birthday. In a few hours I’ll get started on my next un-birthday. And I’ll end this post with what they handed me when I crossed the finish line. Nerdy triathletes like me refer to this as “bling.” See you next week!