race

Josh track 2014 2As my grandchildren get closer to graduation from high school, I am beginning to realize just how much I am going to miss all their activities. As little ones, there were the school plays, awards ceremonies, and track day, and they might also play basketball or soccer. Then in summer they might play baseball or some other sport. By the time they were in middle school, the plays were gone, but there was still the occasional concert, basketball, track, and summer baseball. I began to realize that we were at the end of that era after Josh graduated to middle school. Things were very different now. By this time, all three of the other grandchildren had decided that they didn’t want to be in sports in school anymore, although, Chris and Caalab like to play softball on their team from work in the summer, and that is fun to watch too. Still, mostly they were busy with their jobs, studies, and plans for their futures.

I realize that if I want to see much of the school activities anymore, I will need to attend as many of Josh’s track meets as I can. I always liked to go to them, but this years has been more difficult. There were more of them that were during the day and during the work week. Nevertheless, I have been able to make a couple of them. I think it is sad that the closer I get to having no more of these activities, the fewer I am able to get to. I know that I will miss these when they are over.

Today was one of the times I was able to get to Josh’s meet. I really love to watch Josh run. He does best at the long races, and I think that those kids who do the 800 meter and 1600 meter races are to be commended. I like the 400 meter too with Josh. He just seems to be Josh track 2014able to bring it on as the race progresses. That is so not like his grandmother. Running is not my thing. I can walk for two hours or more, but running…less that 5 minutes. Josh is my hero in the running arena. This year has been a bit of a transition for Josh, and that has been a little hard. Before, he raced against his own age group, but in high school they all race together. Some of those seniors are quite a bit stronger than Josh. Nevertheless, Josh stood his ground against kids who are bigger, older, and stronger than he is. I know that as he grows, he will be the one who is bigger, older, and stronger, and then he will be in charge. I can’t wait for that day, but in the meantime, I enjoy watching the journey he is on.

Ruth on a horseAnytime you read through a well written family history book, you are bound to find things out about your family members that you never knew…even if you knew them all your life. The big thing is, I guess, that sometimes when things are in the past, they are viewed as ancient history. We all do things when we are young that we don’t continue into adulthood. I knew many things about my Aunt Ruth through the years. She loved animals, gardening, and the mountains of Washington. She was an artist both in paintings and music. She painted a picture of herself that I would have thought was painted by a professional artist…along with other paintings. She could play any instrument that she picked up, as if she had been playing it all her life. She knew things about the weather that surprised me as a child…like the time they were at our house. Aunt Ruth suddenly jumped up and looked out the window. She said there is a tornado somewhere. I thought she saw something, but it was the way the wind suddenly stopped where we were that caused her to think that. I heard later that a small twister was reported on Casper Mountain. I never forgot that she had somehow known.

As I said, I knew Aunt Ruth loved animals, and I had seen pictures of her with several horses. I could tell that she was a pretty good horsewoman. I never had very much to do with horses, so seeing her seated firmly on her horse as he reared up, struck me as an amazing feat. And I knew that the family owned horses, and all the kids, my Aunt Laura, my Uncle Bill, my dad, and Aunt Ruth, road regularly, but never was there any mention of racing except in what I read today. Uncle Bill was describing the scene of one of the pictures he had put in the book, and he said that the horse was Aunt Ruth’s race horse, which she did ride in some races. He doesn’t specify how she did in the races she ran, but if it is like pretty much anything else Aunt Ruth and her race horseAunt Ruth did, she was probably pretty good at it.

I had to wonder why I had never heard about her racing before, and if I was the only one in the family who didn’t know about it? Why was it that Aunt Ruth never talked about racing? I also wondered if it was something that she thought about doing professionally as a young girl, or if it was always just something she did to pass the time and to test her horse. If no one else in the family knew about her racing either, I suppose that it is something that will drift into the unknown past…except for that one little mention of it in Uncle Bill’s family history books.

What is going on hereSometimes, you come across a picture that looks simple enough at first. Then upon closer examination, you see that something seems to be wrong here. I have often wondered what was going on in this picture. Here you have 13 horses all tied to one rope, that is obviously not anchored in any way, because it takes 2 men and a boy to keep them in place. It seemed innocent enough to me at first, or maybe I just didn’t look at the picture closely enough. I guess that the 2 men and a boy didn’t exactly strike me as being an odd situation…until I looked closely at the 4 women and 2 girls standing off to the side. Their faces didn’t look right, even in a time when people rarely smiled in pictures.

While the wind is blowing some, it seems very clear to me that these women, my great grandmother and her girls, are concerned about what the men, my great grandfather and their two sons, are doing. The men also seem to feel like whatever they are doing, is possibly dangerous enough to warrant keeping the women back to a safe distance, and the need for 4 people to hold the horses in place. Of course, my curious mind has been going back and forth on this matter for days. I can’t decide if there is to be a race, which seems odd, because it would be impossible to release all of the horses at the same time, Why are these ladies worriedwhen they are all tied to the same rope. The horses don’t act wild, so it seems unlikely that they are concerned about anyone getting kicked or run over, especially considering the boy and the man that are in the midst of the horses.

It is obvious to me that they are not just watching the horses for someone else, because with the exception of the horse with the man observing at the end of the string of horses, none of the horses pictured have a saddle on. My guess is that they are at an auction, and they are selling the horses, but if that is the case, then, I can’t exactly figure out why the women look so concerned. My curious mind may never know the answer to that question, so all I can do is speculate.

My niece, Machelle was born almost 7 months after my youngest daughter, Amy, and a year and 5 months after my oldest daughter, Corrie. Nevertheless, due to the height of Machelle’s dad, at 6′ 6″ tall, it was doubtful that she would be shorter than my girls for very long. By the time the first stair step pictures were taken, Machelle had passed Amy up permanently. Amy would be the shortest of the grandchildren in the end.

Machelle and Corrie would go back and forth for a number of years, but by the time Corrie was 12, she was done growing, and Machelle would pass her up permanently too. Through the years, it was hard to tell which of the girls was the oldest, because people naturally expect the tallest child to be the oldest child. As the years have gone by only Eric, the youngest grandchild passed all the girls up, Barry is the same height as Machelle, and JD is shorter than she is. As to the girls, it’s pretty mixed up. Machelle finally lost out in the race to be the tallest, but it was to her own little sister, Susan. Corrie is taller than Amy, at 5’0″ to Amy’s 4’11”. Of course, now, it doesn’t really matter who is the tallest anyway.

Machelle may have lost the height race, but that doesn’t mean that she has lost out as a person. I love the person Machelle has turned into. She is sweet and loving, and very helpful. I can count on her to help out with anything I ask, whenever she is here. My only regret is that she lives in Powell, because I don’t get to see her and her family as much as I would like. All the years of competing to be the tallest are long past now, as are the little girls toys and games…and sometimes I wish they hadn’t gone by so fast. The kids were all so cute standing up straight and tall, hoping to have maybe…just maybe, passed the child who was taller than they were the last year. It was all so cute, and it was over too soon, and now it is Machelle’s birthday again, but the one thing we no longer ask…who’s the oldest, because really…you don’t ask a woman her age, you know. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!!

I am often amazed at how big my grandson, Josh has grown. Especially when I think about the early start he got. Josh was born 5 weeks early. His weight wasn’t too bad at 5 pounds 6.5 ounces, but his lungs were underdeveloped, so he went to Denver for 2 weeks to get stronger. Once he came home, he decided to catch up on his lost time. Josh began eating like a horse, and before long, his weight was up to normal, or even a little chunky for his age.

That didn’t last very long, because as soon as he started to grow, he was a little bean pole…so much so that his mom said he had bird legs. And hungry! That boy was always hungry,  especially for treats!! You would expect him to be fat, but he wasn’t and at 14, still isn’t.

As to those underdeveloped lungs…well, I think they are just fine. Josh likes track meets, and last year he took first in the 400 meter race, finishing in just 1.07 minutes. And he wasn’t even badly out of breath. He ran so fast that second place was about a fourth of the track length behind him. It was an amazing race.

Josh continues to amaze us with everything he does, but lately I have been especially surprised by his height. It looks like he might be the tallest of my 4 grandchildren, and I expected him to be more like the shortest of the boys…until he was 3, that is, when his height indicated that he would be taller.

With him being as talk as he is and the youngest grandchild, I find myself a little sad. Those grandbaby years are over, as they are almost adults. It just doesn’t seem possible. They should all still be little. 

My grandson, Josh started out in this life as a preemie baby, being born 5 weeks early, and while his medical problems were minor…just underdeveloped lungs and his small size. After spending 2 weeks at Presbyterian St Luke’s Hospital in the neo-natal intensive care unit, Josh came home a healthy baby boy with no signs of the early birth he had experienced. He began the catch up process, and did a very good job of it. He quickly left behind that small size and weak lungs, and turned into a very healthy and strong runner.

Today, I had the privileged of attending Josh’s track meet in Douglas. Josh has always loved to run…even as a little boy, and he and his brother raced to school. Their dad tells me that they still race each other, and maybe that is why Josh is so good at racing…lots of practice. He started out trying to catch up to his brother, and then he started winning sometimes.

Josh did well in his races, but it was the 4 X 400 Meter Relay that was the most exciting…for many people. In the 4 X 400 Meter Relay, there are teams that race against each member of the team runs once around the track with a baton. After each runner runs their lap, the baton is handed off to the next runner. Josh was the second runner on his team. At the point the baton was handed off to Josh, his team was in dead last out of 6 or 7 teams. About a quarter of the way around the track Josh began his sprint. He passed the slowest runners easily, and then began the real catch up work. One by one Josh passed each other the other runners, until there was only one runner ahead of him. When Josh handed off the baton to the next runner, their team was in 2nd place, and there they stayed.

Josh had put his team back in the race. They were in last place…with little hope of changing their situation. It is very hard to picture any possibility of catching up. Then came Josh. He ran past each of the other racers as if they were standing still, and believe me, they were running hard. If there had been 100 more meters for Josh to run, he would have passed the first place team runner as well, but it didn’t matter, because they had been given hope again. And they weren’t in last place. Second place was a joyous position to be in.

After the race was over, and Josh returned to the bleachers where we were sitting near his school’s group. Josh was the talk of the crowd. All three coaches complimented him on a great run, as did all the students…and especially his teammates. The last runner on his team…usually the fastest runner, came up to Josh and said, “That’s it!! You are a permanent member of our relay team!!” It was a wonderful day for my grandson…and his parents and grandma too.

Today is the first track meet of the year for my grandson, Josh. He is the only one of my grandkids that really likes track. The others have done it a time or two, but Josh loves to run, and so the track part of the meet totally suits him. He has really been training for the track meets all of his life…even before he knew what a track meet was.

Josh and his big brother, Chris used to come to my house in the mornings and when it was time to go to school, they would walk the half block to their elementary school. I say that they walked, but that was rarely the case. Mostly they had a race to see who could get there first, and except for reminding them to look both ways for cars, I simply enjoyed watching the race to see who would win today.

When these races first started, Josh was pretty little…a Kindergarten, grade school newcomer. At that age, his strategy was…outsmart the big brother. So, he tried to distract his big brother so he could get the upper hand. They were supposed to go out to the sidewalk and start the race at the same time, but Josh always managed to figure out a way to get a head start. I know that he figured it was his only way to win, since his brother, Chris is 2 1/2 years older than he is. And at in those early years, Josh was probably right.

Then as Josh grew, things began to change. Josh worked so hard at beating his brother, that he grew stronger and quicker. He started winning a race or two…which was surprising to his brother. We had to start making Josh was until I said, “On your mark! Get set! Go!” Otherwise the races were no longer fair to Chris. Still, even with the new fair starts, Josh was winning more and more. Not always, but winning fair and square.

Those early races were not to practice for future track meets, but they did stimulate a love for running and racing that has carried Josh into this sport. He has tried the field events, but they don’t give him the excitement of the run, the wind in his face, and the thrill of the victory that racing gives. Running is where he shines, and I, for one, love to watch the race. Go get ‘em Champ!!