Prompt for December 1: Humble Beginnings!

I love a good challenge.  Especially when it comes to writing.  So when I heard that Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and DailyAngst were hosting Reverb11, a series of prompts on 2011, I of course, realized that there was no way I had enough time to participate.   That being said, here I go:

Prompt for December 1:  Humble beginnings:  where did 2011 begin for you?  Describe where you were – be it physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

Click here to enter your link and become a part of our Reverb11 Journey…

“All the years combine.   They melt into a dream a broken angel sings on a guitar”
~ Stella Blue by The Grateful Dead

January?   That was a lifetime ago.  This reflection required a little clarification from Daddy’s little helper, also known as my Day-Timer.

According to the Daily Mile, in 2010, I ran for a grand total of 55 miles. In January 2011, I logged 58 miles. Looking back, I realize that the commitment to run a half marathon in June motivated me to consistently run between 10 to 12 miles each week during the 5 weeks of January.  Now that I have signed up for my first full marathon, I am hitting record mileage again, this time with more hills.

January also included a visit to the town where I grew up, Las Vegas.  That city and I are effectively divorced; I only go there for the sake of The Child.   A National cheer event in town during January marked the end of dear daughter’s 5 years in Pop Warner Cheer.

Day-Timer suggests we left for Vegas about 6am.  We drove straight to the McDonald at Barstow Station.  As I saw that old place, I realized that during the previous 35 years, I have been in that parking lot with most of the important people in my life.  I’ve been there with both parents, my step-father, 3 of my great Aunts, my wife and daughter, girlfriends, friends and dear friends from high school and college.  I recall stopping there on a bus when my high school Varsity Quiz team traveled to California as well as with the Sunrise Hospital Junior Volunteers. Several times, I was even in my beloved 1965 Ford Mustang.

When I took the picture below, I tagged it with nearly a dozen friends from Face Book that I had been there with.   I thought it wonderful that Facebook has loosely kept me in touch with these people and prevented them from becoming ghosts. Ghosts are people and places that I still carry with me.  Specifically they are those certain gray memory, ones that I know are real, but they could just have easily been a dream.

Reflection of Barstow Station

Most of my good memories in Las Vegas have been dynamited.  At 16, I used to work at the tennis shop at the Sands hotel; blown up.   My 16th birthday was at the Dunes; blown up.   Buffet dinners with my mom at the Landmark, breakfast at the Thunderbird, step-father working at the Stardust … all imploded with nothing remaining but ghosts.  Vegas hosts most of my ghosts, that’s why we got divorced.

The day of cheer competition was clearly laid out in my Day-Timer.  The Child’s team competed at 11:22 and 2:25. Sunrise at 6:43am marked the time to start my 10 mile run.   I started down Tropicana and made a left at the Strip.   I waved at the space where the Dunes hotel used to be. The words “Look What They Done to My Song, Ma” came to my head.  I sang the words out loud, because I could.

Back in 1974 early one morning, my mother and I walked down the Las Vegas strip. We started up by the Aladdin and worked our way back down towards downtown. I retraced many of those steps that morning.  I proceeded past hotels that aren’t there anymore and the memories flooded over me.   When I reached the Sahara, I made a right turn.  My journey back to my hotel would take me down down streets with much less famous names like Joe W. Brown Drive, Swenson, and Koval Lane. It would also take me back to Thanksgivings and summers from the 70’s and 80’s. I remember vividly changing my mom’s flat tire one of those street one day and having the car fall off the jack. She yelled at me that I had broken the axle. I didn’t.

During my run I was most looking forward to seeing an old 7-11 I used to stop at.  I had this amazing memory of being there one summer and relating to the song “Old Hippie” by the Bellamy Brothers.   I have that song on my running music today. As I came to where the 7-11 used to be, I was disappointed to see it was gone.  I stopped in the same spot and enjoyed the old Hippie song with that 30 year old ghost.

The rest of the run back to the hotel was filled with long-forgotten memories.  When I finally hit Tropicana, I made my right turn and ran back to the Strip.  I walked the last mile back to the hotel in order cool down.  I was going to be doing a lot of sitting the rest of the day and night.

During my walk, I thought of the people who worked in the restaurants and hotels in Vegas, much like I had done as a teen and as my mother and step-father did. Gratitude for all I have and am filled me up along with a good full Irish breakfast.  It felt decadent to start the day with two black and tans, but you know what I say, “what happens in Vegas, may not have a remedy.

The Child and her National Championship Cheer Squad

I left Vegas for good at age 19.   My daughter is now 14. We’ve had very different expeiences of the town. She’s gone horseback riding, been indoor skydiving, up to Mt.Charleston and won a national cheer championship there.  I’ve realized that we can’t control what our children remember about their childhood, but we certainly can put them in an environments and in situations that are more likely to create good memories.

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Prompt for December 1: Humble Beginnings!

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