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Carole’s 70 and Beth’s a slug

I went to a party last night as an imposter. A catered affair held in an upstairs room at the Y, it was the 70th birthday party of Carole, my runfit instructor, combined with her 25th wedding anniversary. Though there was lots of family from both sides, there were also many Y members, including some who used to come to Carole’s class years ago and whom I have not seen in a long time.

And this is the thing: I’ve been doing Carole’s class since about 1993 and am still at the end of the line, but all around me were serious athletes. A 70-ish couple at my table had cycled 100 kilometres that morning; others were competitive runners or even triathletes. Carole herself ran 50 marathons, announced that was enough, and then changed her mind last year and ran one more, finishing just a few minutes off the qualifying time for the most prestigious of them all, Boston. She had a big job in tech along with her athletic career and decades of volunteering at the Y. This grandmother of three adults is as lithe as a teenager, a cheerful good person, a pleasure to know and an inspiration to all.

Her husband Brian was an athlete too – they met during a marathon – but, some years older than Carole, he is declining into dementia. The evening was especially moving because, with a video running in the background of their wedding in 1993, they renewed their vows. I felt privileged to be there, in a roomful of kind, wonderful people, like the old friend, recently retired, who’s now organizing volunteers to read to refugee children, to instil a love of books.

I was glad there wasn’t a fitness test to attend this event, because I would certainly have failed. Though Jim did remind me that one spring, he accompanied me doing an 8 k. in High Park. I did once do a 10 k. and several 5 k’s. But that was decades ago; now after 5 minutes I’m spent. Thank you for inviting me, Carole, for including me in this fleet group. I’ve said it before – I’ll up my fitness game. Just not quite sure when to fit that in.

Today, heaven – the Don Valley Parkway was closed for the Ride for Heart, and as I always do this particular Sunday, I went for a long peaceful ride down the trail beside it. So many birds, such lush greenery, such silence only a few blocks from my inner city home – made me very happy.

But – here’s the but – I need to confess. The family crisis on the weekend was caused by me; I accidentally sent a hurtful email, intended for someone else, to a vulnerable family member. As I was bitching about something to John yesterday, he said, “Beth, do you have anything cheerful to say?” Later, I was complaining to my daughter about “the nightmare of the renovation” coming up, and she said, “Well, Mum, if renovating your lovely house is your worst nightmare, you’re pretty lucky.”

Reality check: I can be careless and crabby and whiney. And I’m a slug. Good to confront one’s flaws every once in a while. But at least I’m a good niece, and I do keep my bird feeder filled. And a happy Sunday to you too.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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