Close Encounters

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After several late nights due to a conference at church, Ruby came down with a cold. She lay on the couch like a lump.

“Can I stay in my pajamas today?” she asked, hope in her voice.

Yes, girlie. Somebody needed to get her strength back.  We included Zac in the home crew and he was jubilant.

“Finally!’ he fist pumped.  Home on a Sunday.  No church. He stopped just short of dancing a jig.

I felt kinda bad.  The service promised to be a good one. However, with the crick in my back and overall weariness myself from being at church for 4 consecutive days and singing onstage for 3 of them, I needed a rest, too. Back to work tomorrow.

I did manage to sneak out for a short run with Zac at the helm.

Like most runners, I find pounding the pavement creates clarity. I surely needed some today. Plus, running during daylight hours is always a plus.

I stuck to the flat parts of the city.  The dark day stayed cool, in the 40s. Rain threatened at any moment.  I slipped past the courthouse and down the main drag. I wove in and out of streets, a usual route creating a meditation of sorts. As I crossed over the creek again, I spied some kids in the next block.  Five or six were outside, playing. They seemed about elementary school age, maybe 7-9 years old, boys and girls.  A girl rode a skateboard, her long blonde hair flowing down her back.  I smiled at the sight.

As I turned the corner, a young man with reddish brown hair, beard and baseball cap was crossing the street.  He caught my smile and smiled back.

“Hey,” he said.

Uh oh.

“Hey,” I said, still smiling.  Might as well stay happy.

He started running alongside me.

“Sure,” I encouraged, “join me.”

I mean, he was already there, right?  And only a block from the police station.

He had some small talk to share.

“Out for a run, huh?”


“Yeah,” I said.

“Are you having a good day?” he asked.

Uh. Weird question.

“It’s getting better.  Running makes everything better,” I said.

True story.

“You’re setting a pretty good pace here,” he panted.

We’d almost reached the corner.

“I’m going this way,” I said and took off to the left.  He went straight ahead to get his car, I think.

“Have a good day!” he called.

“See ya,” I said, waving over my shoulder.

I looked at my Garmin.  Yeah, I was going fast. Oops. My bad.

Watch your back, Portland.  Shelton just got weirder.

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