this is the story of the special project that i have been working on as a surprise gift to dad!
to begin, we must go back to june, 1990 – yes, almost 22 years ago!
at this time, i was just starting to dabble in running. semi-regularly, i would invite myself out to run with dad [dad's been a dedicated runner since the '70's, during the running boom of that era]. we’d go maybe 30 minutes or so around our chicopee neighbourhood. i only ever ran with dad, and right from day one, we’d have the best talks during our outings.
i don’t remember how the decision was made, but somehow i ended up on the start line, with dad, of the waterloo 10k classic road race, held on father’s day. i had never run that distance before! the furthest i had gone was maybe 5-6k?? but when you’re young
and foolish and don’t know any better, you don’t set limits on yourself! [sidenote: dad and i last participated in this very same race on father's day, 2010. that race recap is here!].
anyway, all was well and good in that very first race experience until just after the 9k mark. at that point, i kinda hit the wall. i was tired and did not want to run anymore! (locals: we were on seagram drive, by the railway track, nearing the stadium – all we had to do was continue a few hundred metres up the road, go around the seagram track, and cross the finish line)!
as i was saying i thought i needed to walk, dad grabbed my hand and kindly yet firmly guided me to keep running. we ran a few steps hand-in-hand, and my urge to walk disappeared. i finished my first 10k with zero walk breaks (back in 1990, race participants were pretty hardcore; the run/walk method of running was unheard of). that race and dad’s encouragement to keep running was a defining life moment, and cemented my lifelong attitude towards running: you are stronger than you think you are. don’t give up when the going gets tough.
now: unbeknownst to dad and i, during the few steps that we held hands and kept on running at that 9 k mark, someone snapped our photo!
[apart from the race circumstances, you know why i cherish this photo? 1) the expressions on our faces - we are not posed and smiling; you can see effort and concentration! 2) notice how our legs and feet are in symmetry! we were running as a partnership! 3) my shoes: that was my first pair of "real running shoes" - they were the adidas peachtree model, purchased at webco sports, and i loved them for years. 4) look at what we're wearing: cotton tshirts! '80's styling! and those shorts were my mom's! 5) how serendipitous that the photographer happened to be at the right place at the right moment - pretty amazing timing. add up all of these elements, and this is one precious photograph].
so, that is part one of our story.
part two: dad and i were frequent participants over the next several years in many of race director lloyd s.’s runwaterloo races – we ran the father’s day classic every year, and also enjoyed the oktoberfest 10k, the fridgee 8er, etc. at each of these races, lloyd would put out a photo display – and every year he included that photo of dad and me. i would be so embarrassed! dad and i always searched out our photo, though, and enjoyed a good chuckle, esp as our times got faster, and we improved as competitive runners. what a benchmark of how far we had progressed.
fast forward to about a year ago or so. one day, the idea popped into my head that it would be a great father’s day gift to get a copy of the “holding hands” photo and give it to dad as a surprise. i’ve gotten to know lloyd quite well over the years…
…so, i emailed him and asked if i could borrow the photo to copy. lloyd replied that he would dig out the photo and let me know when it was available.
well, i didn’t hear back from lloyd! and i kind of forgot about my request!
now, let’s jump ahead to the beginning of february/last month – out of the blue, i got an email from lloyd stating that he had found the photo i was looking for as he was prepping for the fridgee 8er. he’d leave it at runner’s choice [ooo, i had to go into our competitor's store!] and i could make a copy and return it at my leisure. let me tell you, i was on cloud nine the rest of the day! what a fun surprise to arrange for dad!
i debated organizing the reprint now, but waiting til father’s day to give the photo to dad…but, i was too impatient and excited to wait that long! i decided to give dad the reprint as a just because random giftie!
first, it took lloyd’s original photo to black’s photography at fairview park mall (theOTHERstore is just down the street, so i went over one day after work) and had two copies made (i wanted one, too!). now, look what i found on the back of the original photo:
the reprints turned out so well – i am super impressed with photo technology nowadays. no film negative, remember!
i got a frame at michael’s and wrapped up dad’s surprise:
last eve, i went over to mom and dad’s for dinner. time to present dad with the surprise!
dad was super-touched and pleased by the photo surprise! we reminisced for a bit about the fun races and places we have gone to, over the years.
note to self: frame and display MY copy!
please tell me about a photo that is very special to you! it is very cool that we have blogs, digital cameras, computer files for our photos in this day and age; however, there is something to be said about the sentimental factor of hardcopy prints. all of my photo albums are prized possessions.