I stirred up some holiday spirit the other day by popping a beloved Christmas classic into my DVD player.
You know, the one where it finally dawns on a guy that his parents were burglars, and his childhood tradition of visiting neighbors’ houses to gleefully unwrap Cabbage Patch Kids, talking robots and other hot 80s toys was actually a criminal enterprise? And another guy realizes that the string of Santas who showed up at his door on Christmas morning, bearing such useful (and intoxicating) gifts as a jar of rubber cement, were really Johns looking for a “date” with his mom? 🤣
The wind always blows straight into your face on the far side of the track at Honesdale High School, and what I can best describe as unwelcome resistance on a warm day becomes, in the winter, a good reason to stay in bed.
When I pulled up to the snow-swept track on the morning after Christmas, the car’s built-in thermostat read 14 degrees.
I had driven up there reluctantly, and groggily, leaving my husband cozy and warm under the covers in the guest room of his parents’ house. It was nearly 8 AM, and the sun was up, making this an unusually late start for me; however, without my usual high-octane pre-workout drink (I forgot to pack it) and a belly that still felt full of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, apple pie and “moose tracks” ice cream (I took the holiday off from my gluten-free diet), it had taken quite a bit of self-coaxing — maybe more like self-flagellation — to get up, get bundled up, and get my ass out the door.
My preferred form of exercise these days is running, and although conditions never seem 100% ideal, and sometimes seem downright hostile, I’ve managed to make a habit of it.
“It” amounts to around 20-30 minutes of movement, three or four times a week, and if you asked me how far I go on a typical day, I could only venture a rough guess. It’s not quite enough to consider myself “a runner,” or to make a significant dent in my level of fitness, or even to burn off all the calories I’ve consumed over the course of this celebratory (read: incredibly lazy) month.
But “it” is something. And once I clear that initial motivational hurdle and start moving, it’s something I always enjoy. Fresh air is life-affirming, even when it’s so cold it numbs your face, and any time spent out in nature feels like sweet freedom, when you’ve spent the bulk of your year cooped up in the same eight-room townhouse.
I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving since I moved away, back in the year 2000, but on one relatively recent visit to my parents’ house in suburban Chicago, I snapped the above pic — of another pic that hangs in their basement with a bunch of framed sports memorabilia.
My high school softball glory days aren’t really relevant right now; I post this to call attention to my jersey number.
I always felt a special affinity for 17.
So, having made it through that many months of sobriety (510 days as of today), I’m struggling to come up with anything wise to say, because thinking about that number immediately sends my brain into a Mark Grace rabbit hole.
He was my favorite Cub growing up, which made me just like every other female in about three Midwestern states — and any females elsewhere whose homes got WGN — but the sex appeal wasn’t what really mattered to me. The important thing was that Mark Grace was a Gold Glove first baseman and a .300 hitter who was really cute, and he was basically the captain of my team throughout my teens. He inspired what we all know is a HUGE life decision for a young girl: what number to wear on her back during athletic endeavors.