When I got out of bed this morning I decided that I would not go running. Three steps later, I was reminding myself that the weather was quite pleasant and it was nearly light out. Still, I wasn’t going to run. Yet, five steps later, I reminded myself that I had wanted to keep running out doors until I absolutely could not stand to take another barefoot step outside. Still, I wasn’t going to run. Two steps later, I was listening to the backyard gate creak as I stepped out onto the sidewalk. I wasn’t going to run but there I was running.
Even though a yellow tint barely shone on the horizon, the available time to run was passing. I would have to keep the run short. My starter route through the circle neighborhood would give me just over 1 mile. However, when I reached the turn into town, I discarded the short run idea. I had time and I was having fun. It’s a combination that always results in abandoning short runs. I could stretch the run to 1.6 miles if I ran down the hill to the bridge and back.
I was gleefully running down the street dodging rocks despite not having a revealing light source. I was mildly stunned when I reached the crest of the small hill and saw a man standing at the bottom. Sometimes, I see people walking their dogs early in the morning on this street. This man had no dog and was staring up the hill. I swayed to the left to pick my way through a patch of stones to avert the man. The man was old but seemed friendly, perhaps he was looking for a dog as he was saying something I couldn’t hear. I said hello as I passed.
I stopped two steps later because I finally understood what he had been saying.
“Is this the right way? I’m lost.”
As I walked over to him, I had a mixed flash in my head of Kate Winslet helping the old man in The Holiday swirled with the victim from Silence Of The Lambs who was hit on the head trying to help the guy with the ‘broken’ arm. (What can I say? It’s my break-of-dawn phobia. Yes, I know he was an old man…. )
When I asked where he was headed he told me that he was looking for 29th street. He’d been at his sister’s on 19th street and was headed to 29th street. His sister is married to Jake who owns tavern. His parents are from Poland. He’d been walking for an hour. He had a bum leg and falls down a lot so it was taking him a long time to get anywhere. His name was Mitchell. ( I paraphrased)
Not every run turns into a fun run or a challenge run. Some runs end up being a sad run. As soon as Mitchell said he was looking for 29th street, I knew there was a problem. Our town doesn’t have a 29th street or a 19th street. This man wasn’t just lost, he was confused. I pulled out my iPhone and searched for our nonemergency police number.
How wonderful smart phones are…until you really need something and can’t find it. I googled Wilmington, IL police and got every number but the police department. Eye roll. How could the internet fail me when I needed it!
Sometimes it’s not what you know but who. The owner of Jaszy’s Java , Darla, is also an alderman. She opens before I have the nerve to get out of bed. Turns out my neighborhood alderman, John, was also at Jaszy’s having coffee. Darla gave me the number of the police (which is now stored in my contacts) and sent John out to my aid.
Within 5 minutes, my alderman and a policeman arrived to take Mitchell to his home. We were fortunate that the policeman knew exactly who he was and where he lived which was just up the hill and around the corner from where I had come. I turned heel letting John and policemen escort the gentleman home.
Along my way home, I thought about how I wasn’t going to run but I did. I wasn’t going to run down that road but I did. I wasn’t going to stop to talk to the man but I did.
Sometimes we do things without knowing why we do them. Sometimes we find out later why we did them and sometimes we don’t.
I’m glad I went for a run even if Ididn’t come home with the runner’s high I normally get.