Day 84 – August 22, 2014
Theresa wanted to make sure I left town with a full stomach before we traveled to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She took me to a restaurant known for dishing out extra large portions. She has really done a great job of making sure I eat well during my time with her. After a gigantic veggie omelet, with potatoes and toast, I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
There was an antique auto show going on in the parking lot as we ate. We checked out a couple of the classics. Most of them were from the 1940’s. That is, the cars were from the 1940s.
I’ll sure miss the sound of Theresa’s laughter, her high energy ,her cooking, and those delicious smoothies.
On the way to Eau Claire, Theresa was taking sales calls as she drove; rattling off item numbers like an auctioneer. It’s fascinating to watch a sales pro in action.
Theresa drove me all the way to the Trinity Lutheran church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. When we got there, Pastor Jim Page and Pat Toutant were waiting.
Pastor Jim, is of course one of the pastors of the Trinity Lutheran church. Pat Toutant is a local businessman and the director of the Eau Claire marathon, which is held in May of each year. Both men are runners.
All I gotta say is, Holy moly Theresa really hit gold finding these two. After a few minutes of introduction, Theresa and I said our goodbyes and she headed back to Minnesota.
We put my bags in Pastor Jim’s vehicle, and started on the route that Pat had mapped out for us. It was a five mile loop with on some paved trails that went through a couple of parks. Along the trail we came across a statue of Paul Bunyan and his Ox, Blue. But, don’t tell anyone from Minnesota about this. As the story goes, the ten thousand lakes are the result of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox walking around the state of Minnesota.
As we ran, we came across some young college girls that were preparing to go tubing down one of the two rivers in Eau Claire. Pat called out to them and told them about my run and why I was doing it. Then he asked if we could get a picture of me with them.
“Sure,” they said.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out some of my “Its all I can do,” business cards to offer to them.
Then I thought, if they are going tubing then they are probably in bathing suits and would not have any pockets to put the cards in.
After we took a few pics, Pat and I were on our way running again. After traveliing about a hundred yards Pat said, “You know, when you and I were young, bikinis covered up something.” “Not any longer,” he said.
“Bikinis?” I asked. “They were wearing bikinis?”
“Yes,” he said.
“All of them,” I asked.
“Yep,” he said. “It’s become a trend among the college students her in Eau Claire.
“And those bikinis reveal more than when you and I were younger?”
“Yes,” he answered.
(Blink, blink) Now, where am I and what was I doing again? Oh yeah, running. And, with a little more pep in my step.
We cruised on into a local watering hole named the Court House for a couple of cold cups of water. In the humidity and heat, and the humidity and sun, and humidity and humidity, it was one of the best cups of ice cold water I have had in this life time.
When we got back to Pat’s vehicle, he made a phone call and got me hooked up with a motel stay. Then he called Pastor Jim to tell him where he could take my bags. A few minutes after Pat got me checked in, Pastor Jim showed up with my bags and brought them to my room where I was cooling down.
Pastor Jim placed my bags on one of the beds, then said, “Here is a bottle of shampoo and a soap container, as he handed them to me.” (They were together in a plastic bag. The way I packed them.) Then he said, “And here’s, … .”
All I could think of was, “What happened?” “Did one of my bags break open?”
Nope, Pastor Jim is just one heck of a nice guy and thought He’d help me unpack. But, I quickly told him the reality of my unsighted world. “I have to unpack, that’s the only way I’ll know where anything is.”
A bit later, Pat showed up to take me back to the park where I met Matt and Jessica for a run. Pat explained the route he and I took, and suggested they run the same route, which we did.
Jessica is a math professor at the university and teaches statistics. A woman after my own heart.
One of the many blessings in losing my eyesight, was that I got to go to college later in life. I loved math and was a math tutor for algebra, trigonometry, calculus and statistics. (Now you know how boring and weird I can be.)
I had a number of math professors tell me that I should consider going on for a PhD in math. I had to use a fairly strong magnifying lens to see the math problems in the books, and used felt tipped pens to work them out on paper. Eventually, I knew that I would no longer be able to see any of this. Working through a math problem in Braille could not possibly be the same as seeing a nice juicy, complicated problem unfold into its result before my very eyes. Weird, huh?
Then I told Jessica this true story.
I was tutoring a blind female friend at Northern Illinois University in statistics. Her professor, who I thought the world of, wanted my student to understand the shape of a bell curve, and what it would look like if skewed left and skewed right. I bought some clay and formed the three curves and “showed” them to her. But, she wasn’t able to grasp the concepts. So I created the three curves out of cardboard, then popsicle sticks then string. Still didn’t work.
I talked with her prof, but she still wanted our mutual student to understand what the bell curves “looked” like.
Out of desperation, I told my student this:
“As a female of the species, when you are standing and you are naked, you have two objects on your body that as you look down at them, they are bell curved. When you are laying on your right side, they are skewed left. When you are laying on your left side, they are skewed right.”
“Gotta it,” she said very convincingly. Then she reached over and touched the clay models I had made and demonstrated her new enlightment. Yep, she understood.
Anyway, back to the run.
Jessica was guiding me. Matt stayed on my right side and came up with a title for his position as we ran. “Human guard rail.” I like it!!
When we wrapped it up, Matt and I went to a Subway so I could stock up on sandwiches. No matter how much I eat for dinner, I still get hungry through the night and need something to hold me over till the mornings.
I got to my hotel and, I definitely needed to shower before dinner.
We had dinner at the restaurant attached to the hotel, and there was quite a crowd.
Being a Pastor is most definitely a 24/7 profession. A woman introduced herself to me and then spoke to Pastor Jim about someone who is struggling in life. Later on in the meal, Pastor Jim excused himself as he saw someone else who he needed to check in with who was also having difficulties.
It was obvious that Pastor Jim is perfectly suited for his chosen calling. He’s the real deal.
1509.75 total miles run
$6,055.65 total funds raised