Buster

 I’m at a nudge over 30 miles into the run. There’s only one thing I’m absolutely certain of in life: I don’t want to do this anymore.

I’ve been out for most of the day seeing how many miles I can scrape together for the 24 Hours of Muskrat. It’s been a pretty good day, but I’m done. I’m old, my knees don’t work, I can’t run, there’s no point in being out here.

And then.

Up ahead of me, an old guy (meaning a guy my age?) pulls a wagon out of his pickup. Sort of a Radio Flyer on steroids. As I come up on it, I see it has a blanket and a pillow. What gives? I don’t see a kid.

And then.

He carries his dog out of the pickup. He’s old. Really old. The man sits him lovingly in the wagon. The dog leans his head over the edge. I am totally smitten.

I ask if I can take a photo. He says sure, but the dog buries his head in the blanket as I approach, in that “if I can’t see him he’s not there” sort of way. That’s a favorite of mine as well. I love this dog.

The man explains. The dog’s name is Buster. He has always loved to walk along the bayfront, but he’s too old these days. So the man pulls him in the wagon. My heart melts.

I look back a couple of times as I stroll ahead. Buster’s in fine form now, head propped up, observing the world from his perfect perch. It’s a sunny evening and there’s much to see. I bet he loves this time.

If it’s good enough for Buster, it’s good enough for me. I finish off another 5, bringing the total for the day to 35. It feels good. Mo hangs with me for the last couple. We have snow cones. I try to get her to pull me in a wagon. She declines.

I realize Buster and I aren’t that different. We’re both slowing down, but both lucky enough to still be out here doing what we love. Maybe not in quite the fashion we would have hoped for, but we’re still here nonetheless. Isn’t that all you can ask for?

Thanks for helping me remember, Buster. Long may you ride.

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About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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