From Here to the Grand Canyon and Back in Thirty Minutes.
The family that jogs together travels to more places than just the Riley trails.
It is an off-road family affair and tour for Bob, Chris and Boomer, the Chocolate Lab.
Three times a week, sometimes more, more often less, they drag their butts out of bed,
(Boomer, too, because sometimes more and not often less he is in bed with them. “Boomer, Move over will you PLEASE and give us some room?)
and put on their jogging clothes.
Boomer, the unintentional exhibitionist, watches very carefully. Lying down by the two closets his head goes back and forth from one to the other like he’s watching a tennis match.
He knows them by their clothes.
Bob thinks of the Kingston Trio version of “The Streets of Laredo”: “Get yourself an outfit and be a cowboy, too.” He sings it to Boomer who ignores the singing and watches for the outfit.
Shorts. Tail wags. Top. Tail wags harder. Bright, chartreuse compression sleeves. “What the heck are those, Bob?” Boomer asks momentarily halting the wag and shielding his eyes.
Athletic socks. Boomer turns in circles. Running shoes. He charges to find something to put in his mouth. Comes back; chews his rubber toy hard. “Okay, guys. I’ve brushed my teeth. Can we go now?”
“I’m Beggin’ Beggin’ Beggin’ to go Runnin’ Runnin’ Runnin’.”
Bob and Chris floss, brush, gargle. “Come on, you guys,” his eyes pleading.
In the car, out the drive, down the road to the trails. Howling blares from the back seat. They turn the corner at Riley and he knows for sure: “Bark, Bark, Bark, please, please, please, yes, yes, yes!”
Out of the car. Runners to your mark. Set your stopwatches. Go.
They start out slowly and then settle into a really slow pace. Two minutes in and Boomer hears nature’s call. He makes a run for the woods. He’s so considerate. No poop on the trail for the Boomer.
They stop the watches. For elite athletes, every step counts.
He’s back; they go. Chris in front, Boomer along-side and Bob bringing up the rear.
In his prime, Bob still ran in the back of the pack. It was always a great view. Still is.
Boomer starts to cough, wheeze and generally sound asthmatic.
He has a prolapsed bone in his throat. Not too bad for a ninety-five year old.
The sixty-six year old starts to cough, wheeze and generally sound asthmatic, because he is.
This is where the jogging to distant places begins.
It’s West Michigan, but Ferde Grofe appears and jogs along.
They are now in the Grand Canyon, making their way down the narrow trail: Hee Haw, Hee Haw, Hee Haw.
It’s the Donkey Serenade after daybreak. It sounds so suite except to Chris or anyone else in hearing range.
Bob grabs his inhaler and breathes deeply and exhales.
“Want some, Boom?” Not so funny, Bob.
They are transported back to West Michigan. Time’s up. Stop the watches. Thirty minutes.
“Yes, We won!”
Boomer lusts over the evaporating man-made pond.
“Okay, Boom. You can jump in that big, beautiful lake.”
It is still morning, awhile since sunrise, but Bob begins to hum “Canadian Sunset.”
“Everyone back in the car.”
“Okay. But wasn’t that a great trip? I can’t wait till tomorrow. Can it be today again? I only know now.”
“Oh, Boomer. Jump in the car.”