Do you ever feel like you're at the right place at the right time?
I run pretty early in the morning. In the summer, the gang and I have been known to start before 5:00am. Wintertime runs are generally around 5:15. While we run about, before the sun rises, and most people are mulling about doing their this and that rituals, lots of strange things happen. For the night-owl-party-til-you-pass (out) crowd, 5:15 is prime party and/or come-down time. We've seen almost everything.
We've seen tweekers hollering at make-believe goblins in empty orchards, flashers on a dare, flashers NOT on a dare, and drunkards peeing off front porches. We've seen sneaky teenagers gathered around fires and rolling in hay-like grass. We've battled numerous paper-people, and run from our share of strangers huddled in the shadows of overpasses and bushes. We've seen almost everything.
On this last New Year's Eve, Hillene and I decided we wanted to pack our long run mileage into 2010. This meant that we'd do our normally scheduled Saturday run on a Friday. The reason for this is two fold. First, we wanted to sleep in on New Year's Day, and second, I wanted 2310 (miles) in 2010. We runners can be psychotic about numbers.
The two of us went back and forth over what time to start, and finally landed upon 6:00. Then we went back and forth over where to start, her house er mine. We finally decided we'd start from my house. After the menial logistics of when and where, we had to decide the where-to. Should we do the American Fork Canyon loop? Or head toward North Alpine via East Highland? We decided upon North Alpine.
Saturday was cold. Not as cold as today (thermometer says 1), but seriously cold. It was around 13 degrees and windy. We battled snow-drifts and consciously moved our face muscles so as to increase blood-flow and prevent frost-bite. It was not an enjoyable run. Both of us were thinking "let's call it quits" but neither of us had the guts to voice it. At around 6:30, we had covered about four miles, and were heading north in Highland.
We were running along, when we saw a dark figure laying in the snow on the other side of the street. He waved an arm, and yelled something at us. He sounded drunk. My first guess was that he had been out partying all night, and didn't make it home. He needed help.
So here's the trouble with living now: we women-folk can't just run up to just any supposed hurt-person and offer assistance. We've all heard enough horror stories to assume it's not safe. Hillene and I didn't immediately run over to whoever it was laying in the snow, on this windy, dark, and frigid 13 degree morning.
"We need to get some help!" I exclaimed! Yes, exclaimed. !. "Should we call the cops?" I questioned. Yes, questioned. ?. Neither of us were carrying a phone, so Hillene and I started looking around for a house in which to knock and use a phone. We were looking about frantically, when we heard someone three houses up start a snowblower. Aside here -- who on earth goes out to blow a driveway at 6:30am? We ran towards the snowblower.
Now, I don't know if it was the supervescent incandescent light from the driveway, or if the heavens had turned a flashlight on this man, but he was angelically illuminated. Seriously. And if the snowblower weren't so darned noisy, I'm sure we'd hear angles and harps.
"Come quick, sir!" I screamed. "Something's gone awry!" I cried. "There's a drunk or something laying in your neighbor's snow!" He looked at us like we were drunk -- what with us being all bundled up and running in the cold.
After Blowerman gave us his best you-girls-are-high expression, his face sort of fell a bit, and he somberly turned off the blower. "My neighbor's elderly. I wonder if he fell and can't get up." That's when we all ran back to the poor man laying in the snow. "Hal!? Is that you? We're coming for you Hal! Just stay there!"
Turns out Hal had gone out to fetch the paper and fell. "How long have you been laying there?" Blowerman asked. Hal replied with an exhausted, "Oh? Quite a while." Quite a while, indeed, for the footprints from his travels were covered up with wind-blown snow.
The three of us helped Hal back into the house, where every light was on, and a fire was waiting for a man and his paper. Hal's sweet little wife was still asleep. We asked Hal if he was in pain. He said, "Oh? Nothing more than usual."
Blowerman said he'd stay with Hal, so Hillene and I helped him in, handed him his paper, and ran off. Just as we left, Blowerman looked at us and said, "Sometimes you're in the right place at the right time, aren't ya?"
Hal is not this guy's real name. I couldn't tell you his real name because it's the same as Yahoo #1's. And for some reason, that's an important part of this story.
Happy New Year.