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I’m still in Grand Island,

9/20/09 — I’m still in Grand Island, Nebraska, with the weekend off before two more days of school visits. Early this morning I went for an 8-mile run on a nearby bike path. Very few people were out and about. The rhythm of my feet on the pavement and a few birds singing was the only soundtrack. Corn fields and a wide Nebraska sky added a sense of vastness that made me feel as if I could run straight and steady for just about forever.

Then, at mile four, the path forked and, on the spur of the moment, I took a left. The next thing I knew I was in a large cemetery, padding alongside row after row of headstones.

For me, running is more than just exercise; it’s a barometer of my health, and consequently the guage by which I measure the quality of my life. (Win the lottery and I’d still be impoverished without good health.) At 58 I count myself very lucky to still be putting one foot in front of the other, especially in a cemetery surrounded by those who can no longer do the same.

My father died in 1974 at the age of 54. In his healthy days, before the cancer took over, he was a runner. This morning, far from his resting place in Danville, Kentucky, I remembered him, and would like to think that I maybe even felt his presence, running beside me at exactly the same pace, our hearts beating in time.

9/16/09 — Three days of author visits under my belt here in Grand Island, Nebraska. Great kids and teachers. A real joy.

Tried to get some writing done after I got back to the hotel, but not much accomplished. Sometimes the will is there but the mind is not. Hopefully, a good night’s sleep will remedy my brainlessness.