Bloggers’ Exchange: We Knew Them Way Back in the Day (by them)

We proposed a bloggers’ exchange with our friend in Brooklyn.  His quirky takes on the world are revealed regularly at What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me.

Here is Mike’s Post about us.  I have also posted our post about them which Mike will put up on his blog (or, at least he tells me so.  You never know with that guy).

One of the greatest experiences I ever had in my life was camping.  Not the competition for a Merit Badge stuff I was required to do with the Boy Scouts.  But a three night carry in / carry out trip I took with some of my college buddies just after graduation.

A couple of my friends did this stuff often and I was lucky enough to get invited to join them. Get a map, drive a few hundred miles, park, walk into the woods and come out a few days later.  This city boy was actually a little uncomfortable being so far from the subway, but I survived.

Survival was the key word.  There was a few close calls.  We had a map and were taking a trail that followed a stream.  I learned that beavers turn streams into lakes.  So our trail was not so much.  Huge detours.  One of them led to a bridge that was just a big straight tree that went over about 20 feet of 3 foot deep water.  Falling in meant getting soaking wet and getting all your gear waterlogged. Game over.  Walk back to the car. Ruin everyone’s good time.  The experienced campers went first.  They did not make it look easy.  They used branches to balance themselves like tightrope walkers.

I was really scared shitless.  I was gonna fall and ruin everything.  But suddenly I realized why they made it look so hard.  They were all doing it the had way.  There were billions of branches.  The water was only 3 feet deep and the tree we were walking on was only a foot above the water.  I took 2 branches and used them like long canes.  There was no way I was gonna fall.  I felt pretty good about myself, I did not just overcome my fear.  I found a way to do it less scary.

I also did not know how to pack for this trip.  I knew I had to bring and carry everything I would need for 3 days in the woods.  However, it did occur to me to bring water (heavy) or any kind of water purification device.  (That worked out fine, the other 3 guys brought water filters and 1 of them was still working after 3 days.)  But I did bring teabags.  I brought a little box of Celestial Seasonings.  The other camping novice on the trip thought the tea was a good idea.  The experienced dudes called us the Tea Drinkers.  (not to be confused with  Tea Baggers).

My college buddy The Major was the other Tea Drinker.  I was recently married, he was just married.  On day 2 of this 3 night adventure we reached out goal.  A campsite near a waterfall.  It was perfect.  The Major climbed to the top and waved back at us.  He promptly fell into the water.  He fell about 20 feet, into very deep water.  He was fully dressed and it was about 40 degrees.  The three of us got him out of the water and out of his wet clothes.  Thankfully, he was fine.  But we had to dry his clothes.  We build an extra big fire and promptly set his clothes on fire.  Lots of little fires.  His pants and shirt and shoes all had little singe marks on them.  We were happy he was not dead.  He was worried that his new bride would find out he fell.

I have to interrupt this narrative.  I wanted to check with The Major to see if he ever told his wife before I go ahead and put this on the world wide web.   So I so a facebook message

Did you ever tell Running Girl why your clothes were burnt on the camping trip we went on?

The Major February 27 at 9:38pm Report

She says, “Yes.”

Michael R February 27 at 9:45pm

how can we be 400 miles apart and yet the same couple.

The Major February 27 at 9:50pm Report

No shit.

So The Major joins the Army they move to Virginia.  My wife and I visit.  They move to Buffalo, have kids.  More visiting.  Something really neat happened when we went to visit The Major and Running Girl after they moved to Buffalo.

When we got to Buffalo, The Major was still at work.  Running Girl was home with the kids.  They are teenagers now, but back then “Subway Dude” was two or three and the “The Fashionista” was itty bitty.  Well, when The Major opened the front door Subway Dude was so happy he peed his pants.  I knew then that I wanted to be the kind of Dad that would make his kids so happy that they peed their pants when I got home.  My kids are 10 now, and I have not gotten them to pee themselves yet.  Just lots of farts.

We fade away, visits get fewer.  Holiday cards….But not so much contact..  We are far apart, fading away and BOOM.

Fast forward to the 2008 NYC Marathon. I am at like mile 17 and I hear my name called.  I barely know what is going on so I scream and yell back and for some reason took a photo.  20 feet up 1st Ave I am going to put the camera away but first I look at it. Holy Shit that’s The Major.  8 miles later I see him again.  This time I know who he is.  Running Girl actually finished that marathon in 5:11:40 and my time was 5:11:35.

We reunite.  But this time we don’t have to drive so much.  Yeah, they are in Buffalo and we are still in Brooklyn, but we got found each other on Facebook. They are adopting a baby. They visit Brooklyn and I get to take Running Girl on a running tour.

I stay connected and get to follow their amazing adventure. (It all turned out wonderfully; can we call it an amazing adventure now?).  Yeah, this adoption did not go as planned.  First, I don’t think the Nation of Haiti makes it easy. Second, Running Girl did it the Super Woman way and run the Disney Marathon on a Sunday and then flew to Port-au-Prince.  For me getting on an plane the day after a 26.2 mile run would be enough.  But then on Tuesday there was a GIANT EARTHQUAKE in Haiti.

Here is where the Internet actually improved my life.  (Yes, my friend was in an earthquake and it is about me.)  I was able to follow her on Facebook.  I did not have to bug The Major up in Buffalo to find out how is wife is.  I just checked his Facebook status updates.  Real drama in real time.  But the Internet did not only improve my life, it helped to inspire me to help others.  Being able to follow the heroic actions of the Kay Nou family got me to do something I never did before.  I ran a race for charity.  I raised almost a thousand dollars so the good people at World Vision could clothe and feed the people of Haiti.  I used to say that I did charitable works and raced and one does not have to have anything to do with the other.  Well, now they can go together.

Running Girl comes back and runs the 2010 NYC Marathon.  I happen to be coordinating bus transportation to the start from Brooklyn.  Running Girl happens to be staying in Brooklyn.  I get her on the bus.  The Major repays me by taking my picture at mile 7.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Why are we both up at 6 am


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