“Dodgertown” in Vero Beach was closed and extensive renovations are being done by MLB, so the closed I could get was the front iron gates. Our friend grew up there, her dad a pitcher for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers. He set a rookie record for 27 strike outs in two successive games before an injury ended his career. The park’s historical significance also reflects the 1947 signing of Jackie Robinson. Corona also affected visits this year to Cubs/White Sox Spring training in Phoenix and a Cardinals/Rangers exhibition game at the new Globe Life Park in Arlington.
I found myself in front of the TV again last night with the Chiefs and Buccaneers headed to the Super Bowl. I also monitored another IU Basketball loss, this time to Rutgers after the surprising Iowa victory. The game against Michigan State this weekend has already been stomped out by the pandemic, so we’ll have to live with this disappointment for at least a full week before Illinois comes to town. That game will then likely lead to further despair, as tourney chances once again have been sadly derailed.
We returned our rental car to the airport last night only to find a dent in the hood. I remember parking at a Cracker Barrell restaurant the other day under the shade of a coconut tree. Could one have fallen and caused this costly damage or was it like that when we picked it up? It’s just another hassle we’ll have to deal with on this journey. I’ve run the beach path and street in front of our hotel the past two mornings past all the Art Deco hotels in our area. The once heavily congested Ocean Avenue has been shut down to traffic, so the restaurants have all expanded into the streets. It’s now a much more pleasant atmosphere on the beach front if there’s such a thing as a plus-side to the Coronavirus outbreak. Running near the water and in the sun is always a nice distraction from the dreary streets of downtown Portland.
I came in from my run this morning looking like a drowned rat. The rain was coming down and the wind was blowing in my face. I tried to dodge the puddles but the passing cars sprayed me with muddy water. It was day #4398 of The Streak and I’m glad to now be sitting in warmth. Next week I’ll be complaining about the Florida heat. Our schnauzer Tally was not happy about the rain either and stalled before getting out of bed. She ran away from me as soon as I tried to put on her coat and took the shortest route possible to do her business. The only thing tolerable about wet weather for her is to be thoroughly toweled-off afterwards.
I got two new tires yesterday as further preparation for our upcoming cross-country drive to our new house. There was a slow leak in the front right that was easily patched, but I decided to look out for our overall safety. The back two tires were previously replaced, so only and an oil change/tune-up remains to be done before March. That’s when we expect Florida construction to be completed. We’re all looking forward to getting out of this rain when we go down to check on it next week. It will be two much anticipated weeks of sun and surf.
We caught up on the latest episodes of Your Honor and Shameless yesterday. and I watched The Tide Roll over the Buckeyes for the National Title. My entire focus will now be on basketball starting with the Indiana vs. Purdue match-up Thursday night. Tomorrow evening we agreed to go to a friend’s house for dinner. It’s the first time we’ve dined out for months and the first time in ten months that we’ve broken bread with anyone other than family. Once we get to Florida, the restaurants will be open and we’ll not be cooking. It’s my turn to prepare tonight’s meal. Hopefully, I will have dried out by then with only faint memories of the splash I made this morning, running like a drowned rat!
I’m pretty sure I set a Guinness Book of World Records mark this morning. It was for spotting the most blinking dashboard security lights during the course of a 3.1 mile run after an ongoing streak of 4,392 consecutive days. This is how absurd some of these records get, especially when undocumented. The blinking light game has become a regular distraction from the boredom of taking step-after-step-day-after-day. Most mornings, I’m lucky to find ten blinkers, but today it was twenty-three – the first time I’ve ever even broken twenty. On one occasion, I didn’t see a single one. Today, I was so focused on this game that I forgot about the stretch of Bs from Beauty to Bantam or the A to Z challenge. This is what happens when you’re forced to run the same route every day and need to fight off the monotony. At least, it wasn’t raining this morning, just puddles to avoid.
Some days, I actually do constructive things with my mind when I run, like make-up stories or write poems. If I’m lucky, I get distracted with a problem that needs to be solved or hear a familiar song and struggle for some time to recall the artist. Dodging leaves, traffic, puddles, potholes, and cracks also keep my mind engaged. On a good day, I even come home with an idea about what to write about in this blog. With little on the calendar these days, however, it’s too often freestyle ramblings that land on these pages. Despite the aches and pains, the run always gets my blood flowing and makes me feel better, especially after a restless night.
Once I get out of bed every morning, the first constructive steps are always stretching, sit-ups, and push-ups. This is followed by a short dog walk and final preparations for facing the elements. It’s always a relief to get all these responsibilities out of the way so I can simply put one step in front of the other for forty minutes plus. It’s a routine that doesn’t change much from day to day, except what I wear and where the street and sidewalk detours sometimes take me. By this time next year in Florida, it will certainly be dryer and warmer conditions with less traffic. I’ll come back drenched in sweat rather than soaked with rain, and maybe go for a dip in the pool? There will not be the homeless camps, street cars, busses, noise, and trash of downtown Portland. I’ll be playing different mind games without the blinking lights, shops, underpasses, and traffic signs that currently mark my way every day.
I concluded my run this morning with dry shoes, after lugging along some pretty healthy servings of beef tenderloin. It was consecutive day number 4,376, as I rapidly approach the 12th anniversary of its beginning back in 2012. Many things have happened in that span of time, including four moves, two more grandchildren, retirement, and dozens of running shoes. I’ve also now gone over three full months without dropping below 3.1 daily miles. This usually happens only when I’m in a morning time crunch because of an early morning flight. That has happened since early September.
Twenty-six days until our next flight and hopefully some sunny Florida weather. However, that’s nearly another month of sitting around watching television, starting with another episode of Shameless this morning. I currently have no plans to even leave the neighborhood for the rest of the year. There are at least two family Zoom calls planned, so we won’t be totally out of touch with the world. Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be very uneventful this year, but hopefully we can both continue to stay healthy.
The Last Days of John Lennon book has generated some good childhood memories. I’m trying to incorporate these in the novel I am writing. I also need a new movie plan now that my James Bond-athon has concluded. I’ll start with some Christmas flicks to get into the holiday spirit. The Christmas Story, Die Hard, and Christmas Vacation come to mind. In addition, I’ll do some additional Beatles research and spend some time on the Jerry Banister Family Tree, since we don’t have a Christmas Tree again this year. Happy Holidays.