It's All I Can Do

Friday, October 24, 2014

GO REDMEN!

It was a much earlier start today than yesterday. We began the day with a trip through a McDonald’s drive through for my breakfast burrito meal and egg and bacon biscuit. As John and I drove up to the Carthage College track, I received a phone call. It was a reporter from the Kenosha News – Kevin.

To get a feel for what I was doing, he asked a few questions over the phone. One of my answers, which many who have run with me have heard was, “There are perks to losing my eyesight.” I had to list a few of them before he realized I wasn’t on drugs, alcohol, or simply off my rocker. I also told him, “I wouldn’t mind having my sight back.” Losing my sight is far from a death sentence. There are, no doubt, those whose struggles are much more difficult than mine.

I told him about a few of my accomplishments since losing my sight, including rebuilding our front porch and two car detached garage. That’s right, little ol’ me did that by myself. I cannot take credit for the original thought that I could do this. I get a lot of ideas and motivation from reading books about other people who have accomplished some amazing things despite the odds.

One book I read featured several people with disabilities who have accomplished the impossible, or so I thought, before reading the book and their stories. One man in the state of Michigan, who is blind, also remodels commercial bars. How does he do this? One of the tools that he uses is called a “click rule” to measure with. Brailled tape measures are useless for most measuring tasks, as they only have brailled numbers on each foot and half foot, but a click rule can measure within 1/16 of an inch.

I am simply going to have to bring one of my click rules with me to show people along the way (on the rest of this run) how easily and precisely this tool works.

The other unique tool that I used was a beeping level. It beeps when level and when plumb. I am going to have to have some pictures taken of the porch, garage, click rule, level and how I measure and cut lumber. It’s pretty cool stuff, and I owe it mostly to the blind man in Michigan and to my wife, who tolerated my frustrations, as I had to so often “re-invent” the wheel, that is, get creative in my own adaptations in using standard tools.

Kevin came out to the Carthage track within maybe fifteen minutes. I was hoping he would include John in the interview, but he didn’t. I feel the articles are much more interesting if someone else is included in them, especially people with cystic fibrosis connections, but even those without that connection add value to an article.

John and Kevin left, and there was nothing to do but whip around the track. Today there were people in the center of the track, on the football field, working. At one point as I cruised around the track, I collided with a cart that had large containers for water or other such liquids (Gator-aide or the like) on it. On the next lap I continually swung my white cane, searching for anything in my path on lane one, but the cart was gone.

Then, on the next lap, I noticed that several metal benches had been moved onto lane two, which was a little too close for my liking, so I moved them on to lane three. That’s when someone walked past me and I asked what was going on. “We’re setting up for football practice”, they said. These two young men were equipment managers for the Carthage College ‘Redmen’ football team. They sure had a lot of energy around their team. It was fun to connect with that energy.

The field then came alive with coaches, players, and managers. Coaches were barking out orders, young men in their deep voices were yelling out in unison, whistles were blowing, and people along the side lines near lane one talking intensely.

At one point I noticed someone walking next to me, and I asked what was going on, as if I didn’t already know. She told me it was football practice. I asked her if she could get some pictures and send them to our email address and I handed her a card. At first she said she didn’t have a cell phone with her to take pictures with, then rethought it and realized that she did. She said she would take some pictures and send them, no problem.

Later, as I walked around the track (there was too much activity for me to feel safe running) I heard an adult male voice. I had a better idea. After explaining what I was doing and handing him a card, I asked him if I could get some pictures of me with some of the football players. He said it would be okay, and suggested that I talk to a couple of players sitting on one of the benches in lane three. He said they were kickers and had nothing else to do but sit anyway.

“Great,” I said, “Do you have a cell phone and can you take the pictures?”

“No,” he said, “No one has a cell phone out here, at least, they shouldn’t,” he said.

Mine has accessibility features on it, which makes it difficult for others to use it. I’m not too swift in using it either. There goes that idea, and I sure didn’t say anything about the young lady saying she had one.

I got so caught up with all the young, fun, and intense energy that I didn’t call John to pick me up until my Garmin buzzed to indicate that I had done 22 miles.

Total for the day, 22.05 in Kenosha, WI

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