Happy Memorial Day! / Autism 5k / Run Through the Jungle

28 May, 2017            Happy Memorial Day! / Autism 5k / Run Through the Jungle 

Big, tough guys on Harleys – the nicest bunch of guys I can remember meeting recently

Some friends and I (some strangers too) did the 2017 Autism Society of Central Virginia 5K Run/Walk yesterday at Innsbrook in Glen Allen, VA. It was the high point of a great week. Of course, this morning’s hike at Pony Pasture with five dogs was also a high point, just in a different way. That hike had me thinking about the 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) song Run Through the Jungle:

Does that look jungle-like to you? It sure felt jungle-like, but not very hot.

Regarding the 5k, my friend Skye and I did the inaugural event in 2003. Long before I was a blogger. It was on Sunday, May 24, 2003 at Dorey Park in eastern Henrico. Those guys on the motorcycles up there at the top? I wish I’d taken pictures of a few of them. They were these big, intimidating looking guys with leather jackets with cut off sleeves and embroidered nicknames and loud Harleys and they were so nice! They were warm and friendly and outgoing and helpful and cheerful and upbeat and well-organized and effective and totally at odds with what you might – might – have expected. They looked rough and tough and I don’t doubt they were rough and tough, but they were just the best group of people you could hope to have there. It’s odd – to me – but I found it heartwarming. That to me is what really makes America great.  

A few other pictures from this week first, though. Not a huge week for me picture-wise. I did get one I liked – this seems unusual too – from the parking lot at Kroger on Ridge Road. It’s called “Ridge” road because it’s up high; there are often pretty sunsets there. A local Red-tail too, of course. But here’s the sunset picture I took Monday:

Sunset from the Kroger parking lot. It looks like a glamorous tropical beach except for the lights.

Thursday at the river just before noon, really close to the parking lot – just behind Half Moon Beach – we saw a doe lying in the grass. I never got a picture I loved, but you can see her here: 

Whitetail lying down for a rest in deep brush.

Anyway, a few dog pictures from Pony Pasture this morning – it’s very jungly. It’s always jungly in May, and when you add a lot of rain and low gray sky, it feels especially jungle-like. So a few more pictures from this morning. Plenty of water: 

This trail is normally dry. Today we had to reroute.

Fortunately the path through the wetlands was high and dry: 

Thank goodness for elevated walkways! Great job volunteers!

Here’s a picture of the pack just when we arrived at the eastern boat launching ramp. The river was at 10.5′ this morning, descending from a crest of 14.3′ about twenty-four hours earlier: 

Dogs on the river bank. The river was high but it had already gone down four feet since yesterday.

I did the 5k with another friend of mine named David and a friend took a picture but they haven’t sent it yet! Maybe next week. We did meet our friend Sam at the race. His mother took this picture of us. Sam’s mother wrote on Facebook that Sam and I are “excellent at long walks and talks!” which sums it up perfectly. I’m not good at a lot of things, but boy can I ever walk and talk – sometimes even at the same time! Great job yesterday Sam, and thanks for all the excellent training walks: 

Sam and me, pre- (or was it post-?) walk. We walked a lot of miles preparing for this. 


Speaking of Run Through the Jungle, it didn’t occur to me until I looked at some of the pictures from today – there’s an even better CCR song – Green River

Anyway, more next week. And have a great week! 


Son of Big Mike

I dropped the ball on this week’s “Son of Big Mike” post. I began the draft early in the week but it was such a struggle I chose to postpone it. I won’t postpone it long – the idea is clamoring in my mind – but I’m not there yet.

“Son of Big Mike” (in this case, me) doesn’t exist in a vacuum – I’m the oldest son of three, and I have an older sister and a younger sister. We don’t live close together, but we’ve always been emotionally close, and when Mom died unexpectedly in January, we became a bit closer.

Dad died in November of 2012; I included his obituary in this blog post on November 24, 2012: Good man. If you read the obit you’ll come to this section: “…his six children Katie Phalen (Jim), Ann Michele, Jay McLaughlin, Sheila Wiese (Greg), Kevin McLaughlin (Jenny Campbell), Shane McLaughlin…

Mom’s obituary was in this blog too on January 15, 2017. Some people may recall the blog post that included her obituary: Jet boat in Hells Canyon.  Mom’s obituary made mention of “…her six children Katie Phalen (Jim), Ann Michele, Jay McLaughlin, Sheila Wiese (Greg), Kevin McLaughlin (Jenny Campbell), Shane McLaughlin (Kristin Janney)…” 

Close readers will notice in this blog post I mention mom and dad’s two daughters and three sons. You will also notice both my parent’s obituaries list three daughters and three sons. My sister Ann Michelle was born in September of 1960 but died less than a week later. She would also have been my older sister – I was born in August of 1961. My parents didn’t keep her a secret from us, but we didn’t talk about her much either. I’ve never had children. But two of my closest friends have each lost a child to miscarriage and shared with me their devastation. I was at the hospital when one of the babies was delivered. He was a little boy and when I walked into the dark, quiet hospital room, his grandmother – a friend of mine for over forty years – handed me a small basket with his squirrel-sized corpse. I have never been less prepared for anything in my life. That was in 1999, nearly twenty years ago. If I live to be 120, I will never – I will not ever –  forget that moment. Although my parents didn’t talk about Ann Michelle, I know the pain was crushing for them. And, my parents being my parents, their response was to fill their home with as much life and love as they could pack in. And I am one of the five grateful recipients of that life and love.


So anyway. Hopefully I’ll flesh things out more in future blog posts. Not to mention get better pictures!

Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day (if you live in the United States) and have a great week. And come back next week! All best,


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in disability, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, James River, People, Pony Pasture, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), sunsets, whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Happy Memorial Day! / Autism 5k / Run Through the Jungle

  1. Pingback: People who put the “sweet” in “bittersweet” | NEWFAZE

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