Page 8 - Boca ViewPointe - May '22
P. 8

Page 8, Viewpointe                                                    May 2022

      Pretend I’m A Truck!

      By Robert W. Goldfarb                                 That changed when my daughter Shanna called to say she      Running through Boca Pointe might not be a memory
                                                         and her husband-to-be decided they would honeymoon in   woven into our family tapestry, but it is a delightful prelude
         Six days a week I run or walk a four-mile loop through   Athens. Sensing an opportunity, Muriel asked “What if Dad   to where I will next run. Every summer for the past 60 years,
      Boca Pointe. That I’ve been doing this for 25 years could make   and I hosted you in Paris before you flew to Athens?” Shanna   I’ve run along Southampton’s bay and ocean beaches. It’s
      the journey seem like a conveyor belt carrying me in tedious   quickly explained they had chosen Athens as a couple, and   not palms, banyans and golf courses that surround me, but a
      circles. But the scenery I pass is in constant state of change;   Jeff would certainly not want in-laws on his honeymoon. But   limitless glow that makes me almost drunk with joy.
      ponds green on Monday surprise me with their cobalt sparkle   she would ask him. Seconds later the phone rang with Shanna      My family and I rejoice that running through splendor
      on Tuesday. The occasional banyan, ominous at dusk, opens   exclaiming “Mom, Jeff said yes! We’re coming to Paris!”  lightens my 92-yer-old soul. I suspect there are others who are
      its arms the next morning to wave me forward.         What happened next is part of family lore. Marathoners   pleased I’m still running. Somewhere out there are paratrooper
         And there’s the green sweep of the golf course, sometimes   carbo-load the evening before the big run, lean runners   sergeants exclaiming, “Look, Goldfarb is still running!” I’m
      echoing with the crack of a driven ball, moments later with   devouring yards of spaghetti. As we entered a neighborhood   certain one of them will add, “Of course he’s still running;
      birdsong or the barely audible whir of wings. The mind I carry   bistro, I noticed three runners wearing Paris Marathon t-shirts.   he’s one of us.” 
      with me also doesn’t tolerate repetition. It’s a theater alive with   In my best high-school
      articles I’m writing, plans I’m making and my determination   French, I asked which pasta
      to find purpose in my journey deeper into old age.  they recommended. All three
         Every run or walk also takes me along surfaces where   quickly snapped, “Pasta, non!
      nothing grows, the concrete slabs where cars seem to stalk   Vin rouge, oui!” They handed
      me, often coming close enough to sense if I’m suitable prey.   me a freshly-opened bottle of
      They come so near, I want to shout “You wouldn’t get this   Saint-Emilion and said “Now,
      close to a car or truck. Pretend I’m a truck!” But that sounds   you’ll run like a Frenchman!”
      combative and running for me is meditative, a journey paced      On my 90th birthday, all
      by quietness, not by the competitiveness that fueled my career   my children and grandchildren
      or the early races I entered.                      gathered, each presenting me
         I’ve learned where it’s safe to be meditative and where   with a letter they had written
      I must be alert. There are several risky crossings in Boca   to me. Shanna’s was a drawing
      Pointe. One is along the stretch between the fitness center and   she made of tipsy runners,
      the clubhouse. Drivers turning into the gym are focused on   wearing t-shirts reading,
      a parking spot, not on whatever is on the sidewalk alongside   “Pata, non! Saint-Emilion,
      them.                                              oui!”
         Two of the riskiest crossings are the 18th street entrances      Another joyous memory
      onto both Boca Pointe Drive and Promenade Drive. Some cars   was born at one of the New
      turning west onto 18th Street approach the right lanes with the   York Marathons I ran. Our
      impatience of a dog straining at its leash. I step back, grateful   family gathered on 82nd
      cars don’t have the retractable leashes some dogs wear. With   Street, not far from where
      a respectful wave of my hand I signal, “You go first.”  the torrent of runners poured
         I’m especially cautious when I approach the Promenade   into Manhattan from  the
      Drive entrance into Imperial Royale. The building’s name   Queensborough Bridge. When
      is so aristocratic it seems to give residents license to regard   I reached them, my daughter
      passersby as intruders on their estate. Just last week, after a   Leda put her ten-month-old
      close call, I fantasized a passenger saying to a resident as they   son into my arms.
      drove from the building, “I think that bump we just felt was      Together, we headed to
      a peasant you ran over.” The driver, I imagined, would reply,   83rd Street where his father
      “If there’s a collection, I’ll send my valet with a shilling or   was waiting (I hoped!). I
      two.” (That’s what I meant by the theater of my mind.)  kissed my first grandchild,
         I’m a bit more meditative while running along Boca Pointe   and, before passing him to
      Drive from El Dorado to Southwinds. Cars turning in or out   my son-in-law, whispered
      of those communities are somewhat less likely to come close.  “Jesse, welcome to your first
         Of course, running wasn’t always meditative. At 18,   marathon. Let’s run others.”
      running in boots, hunched under an M-1 rifle and heavy back   My now 36-year-old grandson
      pack, I labored through southern Army camps in heat so   and I never did run a marathon,
      intense my helmet became an oven. And running wasn’t quiet.   but he, his younger sister, all
      Paratrooper sergeants ran beside me, shouting “Goldfarb,   their cousins and I have run
      go faster or I’ll expletive your expletive expletive! Do you   many shorter races together.
      expletive understand me?” I didn’t, but was gasping too hard
      to speak, which made them bellow even louder.
         Our sergeants also insisted on following what they called
      water discipline. Drenched in sweat, they would empty                                                           Norbert Graber, R. Ph.
      their canteens onto the ground and order us to do the same.                                                    and Lynn Graber, R. Ph.
      “Paratroopers drink beer, not water!” they would shout. Instead
      of wondering why young troopers–all dehydrated sinew and
      muscle–were falling face-first onto bubbling blacktop, they
      muttered “This bunch wouldn’t have survived Normandy!”
         I began running again early in the jogging boom of the
      sixties, this time wearing New Balance running shoes, not
      jump boots. Over the years, we lived in apartments on both
      the east and west sides of Manhattan. My favorite runs were
      along the great rivers that patrol Manhattan’s borders.
         Running along the East River has parallels to today’s
      partisan politics. I suspect extremists on both the left and
      right would run with their eyes fixed on FDR drive which
      sizzles with road rage and exhaust fumes. Right wingers
      would celebrate the fossil fuels that make rush hour possible.
      Progressives would run with T-shirts reading “Global Warming
         Moderates, I believe, would stare straight ahead, neutrally
      appraising both the road and the river. Neither party would                                                                     FREE
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      joy of them, the memories they wove into our family tapestry.
         My wife and I had booked a trip to France where I planned                       561-391-6336
      to run the Paris Marathon. Muriel had been surrounded by
      family during other marathons I had run, everyone assuring                      22191 Powerline Road • Boca Raton
      her I would be fine. But, in Paris, she would be alone, hoping     SW Corner of Palmetto & Powerline • Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm • Sat 9am to 3pm • Closed Sun
      I would stop running these 26-mile things that were more                       
      wearing on her than on me.
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