Saturday, May 11, 2024

Wanna make my wife laugh? Tell her my plans

LOL MEET ASL: Happy marathoners
Rachel and Ewa are both American Sign
Language interpreters
One week ago tomorrow, our daughter Ewa Frances ran the Vancouver Marathon. There is not enough room on the Internet for me to describe how proud of her I am.

Instead I'll tell you about how complicated it is to watch your son or daughter run a marathon. It's no mean feat.. ha. 

But first, a point of privilege. 

I every single day of my life wake up in awe at the fact that I am fortunate enough to be in a position where my wife of 37-odd years Helena and I can actually board an Air Canada jet and travel clear  across North America from our Toronto home to witness such an event. More important, we are mom and dad to three beautiful, healthy and bursting- with-love children. Plus I was born in Canada. Meet me: Winner of life's lottery. 

Meantime, a problem. Marathons go on for hours. In Vancouver, Ewa was only one of more than 23,000 runners. (She finished about 5,000th. Until just now, I didn't even think you could make 5,000 into a "th" number.)

Standing in one spot sure wouldn't cut it.

That might be okay for the first hundred or so runners, but it'd quickly devolve into one of those piano recital experiences; you know, the ones where you sat through other people's kids' performances.  Imagine 22,999 renditions of that old recital favourite  Mouse in the Coalbin
 (A Kawasaki Versys.
Get it?) 

We could copy our good friends Trevor and Liz MacIntyre, whose marvelous daughter Allie recently completed the Toronto Marathon. Trevor and Liz tracked Allie with a special marathon app and moved from one vantage point to another throughout the race. . 

That made sense to us. Except we didn't have an app. And we were in Vancouver.

Enter Peter's excellent marathon-tracking device: Ewa Frances' dark green 2017 Kawasaki 650 Versys motorbike. 

So what if I don't know my way around Canada's eighth largest city? We had a map. What could go wrong? 

And who knew that a lot of the streets near the marathon route would be cordoned off? So that, at one point early in the day, Helena and I would be stopped, bestraddling an idling Kawie and squinting at a distant intersection three blocks south, where a teeny parade of runners loped past, and us having just learned that we weren't allowed to drive any closer. 
Don't leave home
with it.  

Or that we would be driving hopefully (a word I employ correctly here) along a several-kilometre stretch of Granville Street without seeing a trace of the race? While precious minutes passed?

Adding to the fun? If  Helena and I cared to further discuss--or maybe revise--this Einsteinesqe scheme of mine, we--aboard a moving motorcycle with the wind roaring through our full-face helmets--had only one mode of communicating, and that was yelling. With no runners in sight. As half hours passed.
You're jealous, I can tell.

I'll skip a lot of details and cut to the chase* in a moment. Just know this: Helena and I've been married since 1986 and our marriage has survived lots bigger challenges. Many of them a result of my navigational plans.
After about two hours of buzzing around the city, we located a spot we knew we'd see Ewa from. 

Bike parked trackside, we proceeded to cheer ourselves hoarse as hundreds of other people's kids trotted by. 

What's really great was, they were all wearing name tags so I could scream out, "You got this Ashley!!" and Ashley--or Joel or Vinesh--100 per cent of the time grinned and sometimes waved back.
RODE SIGNS. All over Vancouver, we rode. 
With these signs.

We even managed to catch sight of and cheer on Ewa's good friend (and fellow American Sign Language interpreter) Rachel, who was followed a few minutes later, by the star of our show, Ewa. 

And thus wound up that part of the recital, I mean marathon.

After Ewa, we climbed aboard the bike and headed for the finish line. 

And that was the first time all day--some might say in my whole life--I knew where I was headed. 

And once again, getting there was more than half the fun.
* Cut to the chase? Get it?  Pete's Blog&Grille has been a thing for more than 12 years, and there are days I think the only reason I do this is to come up with lines like cut to the chase.