34 Cents, Biscuits, and Golf Balls

“The top of the engine ain’t talking to the bottom of the engine.”  That’s what the mechanic working on my 21-year-old Jeep told me yesterday. For 4 days, I was stuck in Wichita Falls. Yesterday, I borrowed one of my sister’s cars and came home. A Mazda Miata. I looked like a gorilla on a tricycle. But hey, it got me home and it’s kind of fun to drive. The Jeep? Well, it’s still in the shop. People tell me to quit being cheap and go buy another car. It doesn’t have anything to do with being cheap. It’s the memories.

 On my last morning in The Falls, Wednesday, I went out to get some miles in. I needed some exercise. My sister feeds me well. I did about 6. A few things happened on that run. I’ll share that story with you now.

 I always find stuff on the road when I’m doing my miles. You’d be surprised at what people throw out of their cars. I always find money. This morning, I found a total of thirty-four cents. I guess the saying, “If you want to find new money you need to cover new territory.” There’s no sense in fishin’ behind the boat. True that.

Toward the end of my run, I ran alongside the country club golf course on Midwestern Parkway. That’s where all the rich folks play. I figured I’d find some balls in the median of the roadway, and I did. A total of four almost new Titleist Pro V1’s. Pro V’s run about $5 each. I knew my path getting back home would take me up Lake Park Drive beside the city’s municipal golf course. That’s where the regular folks play. As I passed the course, I saw a guy pushing a cart on 17’s fairway. I whistled.  He looked.  I tossed him those four balls. I could tell by his smile when he saw they were new Pro V’s. He smiled, gave me a big wave, and said thanks. I grew up playing that municipal golf course. Back then it was called Weeks Park Golf. My folks didn’t have a lot of money. Golf balls were expensive. I used to fish balls out of the ponds on that course. I’d strip down, jump in the water, and pick up the balls with my toes. Thinking about those days made me smile. Good memories.

 This week in Wichita Falls is the big Rider versus Coyote football game. This is the big cross-town rivalry. Thinking of that game made me think about my buddies who I went to school with. We all still talk and hang out from time to time. Well, except for Walter. He died a few years ago. Good memories.

While I was out on my run, I stopped at Hwy. Cafe on Jacksboro Highway for coffee and a biscuit. I needed a mid-run snack. While I was in there, lots of folks had on t-shirts showing their team spirit. They started calling the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes, Yotes. I’m not a fan of that. As for the Rider High School Raiders, they still use the word ROHO. I was listening in on a couple of guys behind me discussing the game. They also talked about one of the schools closing at the end of the year. Typical small-town talk. When I was in my 30’s and early 40’s, a scene like this would have made me think, “Look at these people. Still stuck here in their little town because unlike me, they never had the courage to leave.” On this particular day, and also since I’m now in my fifties, I saw things differently. It was not about them lacking the courage to leave. It was about me lacking the courage to stay. I wonder how things would have turned out if I had stayed in my hometown. Hmmmmm. Guess I’ll never know. Regardless, good memories.

 Okay. That’s enough reminiscing for the day. I hope they get my Jeep fixed soon. I’ve got a big week planned for next week. I’m going to northern Idaho. I’m taking Jamie, my sister, and my son Walter who still lives in southern Idaho. I’ve rented a fire lookout that we will sleep in one night. It sits on top of a mountain. It has a 360-degree view. On another day, we are all going to bike the Hiawatha Trail. You should look it up. It’s incredibly scenic. This is my kind of vacation. Simple. As a bonus, I’ll be clearing three things off of The List. I wonder what I’ll replace those three with……

As always, I hope you Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life. And by the way, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

 PS-In case you’re wondering. The answer is yes. I did name my son Walter after my buddy who died; Walter Brady. He was a special friend.

PPS-This weekend will be exactly one year since I completed the Hotter N Hell 100 Quadzilla. I wrote a big story about this multi-day test of endurance. I never shared it. I think now would be a good time to share it. It’s a long story. I think I’ll share it a little at a time. Man, that was a real test.