Sunday, March 2, 2008

Party for One

Danny my youngest had a birthday last week. The last time I had a communication from him was last summer when he sent me a one-paragraph letter after he graduated from high school asking me to arrange for paying for his full four years of college tuition. That missive was addressed "Dear Peter." I sent it back saying I was his father not his street corner buddy. The same letter came back a month later addressed "Dear Father," so I arranged full payment for his four years of college tuition. I haven't heard a word from him since.

(Left: A portrait of Danny from about 7 years ago.) Last I spoke with him was a year ago. Last I saw him was five years ago. So anyway, I called last week and left a message asking him to call me. When I didn't hear back from him, I took his birthday off from work. That morning I called and left a message telling him that I'd love to buy him a birthday lunch at a specific nearby restaurant and that I would be there at noon with a table reserved.

There's a happy ending to this tale . . . in fairy tales. Here's the party. Pretty festive, eh? That was enough pizza for me for lunch, dinner that night and breakfast on another day. (Right: A party at the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington!)

Finishing off the cold pizza on the morning of Leap Year Day was a mistake. There was a special Leap Year running of the free monthly noontime Tidal Basin 3K, the 409 1/2th consecutive running of it. Do the math and the race goes back to April 1974.

These races always have a theme. This running was in honor of The Awakening statue, the earthbound giant struggling to arise from the ground for many years at nearby Haines Point. It was sold, and shipped off to PG County on the very day we were running February's normal version of the Tidal Basin 3K (February 20th, the third Wednesday of the month). It's gone forever, folks. The statue, not the race.

Fueled (or weighted down) by pizza I struggled to finish in 13:44 (7:22). My doppelganger Peter returned the favor from the race a week earlier and beat me this time. (Left: The 3K race staging area. This month I got a 2-fer for free noontime 3K races in downtown DC.)


Anonymous said...

That was very nice of you on your son's birthday. I'm so sorry it didn't have a happy ending. I really hope things can work out with you and him.

Here's the message I got today from my dad on my birthday...(please know I love him very much, this just made me laugh)..."Hello Cindy. Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Sorry your card is late, well, actually I didn't get one in the mail yet. I've been having diarrhea the past couple of days. Well, Hun, hope you have a good birthday."

Hope that wasn't TMI, but it just struck me as quite an original b-day wish!

Good job on the race even though you struggled with it. That is still fast to me!!

Sunshine said...

"The Awakening".. what a comment for those estranged from family.
Happy birthday to your Sons.. and sorry you ate so much pizza by yourself. That stuff really hurts.
(Yes, I know.)

Oh Chicago.. Well, there really was no water or Gatorade .. and water hoses only by spectators.. (I'm not an obnoxious merry sunshine everything-has-a-bright-side kind of person.) But it was a blast to me to be a part of such an epic disaster.

And I am so sympathetic with runners who had hopes of making a good record for themselves. (Both You and my husband included.)

Hey, good job on the 12K today. Sweet Pea and I ran 10K today on the indoor track.. so single file and no visiting.
Wishing you some good occasions with interesting runners to share the run with.

skoshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skoshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Hope you get a happy ending sometime soon.

I have a strained relationship with both of my parents, but I think if either of them did that for me (arrange a b'day lunch) I would have showed up. Well, I would today. Maybe not back when I was in college though.

Rainmaker said...

WTF!?! The statue's gone? Only in DC could a statue on National Park Property be sold and sent down river.

Jade Lady said...

I'm sorry that he didn't show up - people can be so self-absorbed when they are young. Perspectives do change, but sometimes, it takes time. I hope one day Danny will realize and appreciate you and what you've done for him.

I love reading your posts - I used to live in DC metro area, but never ran many races there. Even with pizza, you are really swift!

Susan said...

I'm sorry, Peter. Really sorry. I completely sympathize.

jeanne said...

That is a sad story, and you're a good dad, cuz you never give up.

The last time I got a note, call, or any kind of communication from my father, i think I was 20. 31 years is a long time, but he's italian and knows how to hold a grudge.

nice, passing a biker. I bet that felt good!

Lelani said...

I came across your blog on the Complete Running Network listings; so here I am: reading. This post broke my heart. On the upside, I was a little frosty toward my family for a number of years...(thought I was born again and was cautious about mixing with the unwashed), but they never gave up on me. I came around and home (prodigal daughter) in time to hammer things out (though persistent in their love, they hadn't exactly been angels) and enjoyed 10 great years-- before they were called away. I treasure those years and I miss them greatly and mostly just remember the good stuff. Here's hoping that you and your son work it out. It just may happen because of your persistence.

Happy Running!