Not About Time – Running for Team Kim Ross


kimparadiseross

The picture on the back of our race shirts reads “I’m running in loving memory of my beautiful friend Kim Paradise Ross.” It is difficult for me to feel comfortable with calling myself a “friend” of Kim. Looking at one possible definition we find the meaning as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. In today’s virtual society the term has become so watered down that its value more closely resembles acquaintance, and it is there that my comfort level is found. Friend is a title to be earned, not assigned.

Kim succumbed to breast cancer July 8th of last year. My memories of her are primarily grounded in our teenage years. She and I attended Fort Caroline Middle School and Terry Parker High School. While we did not necessarily run in the same social circles Kim’s personality elevated her above the social cliques. It was not difficult to be drawn to her smile and undaunted optimism, things she shared with all who drifted into her path. After graduation she became nothing more than a yearbook photograph but one not forgotten.

Last year a mutual friend of ours, Amanda Farmer, asked me to participate in the Team Kim Ross relay for the 26.2 with Donna.  When Amanda gave me the back story it was impossible to say no. Kim had fought and overcome the cancer but was now in the throes of a second attack, one which would be described to me as virtually insurmountable. Both the pre and post race feasts were a mix of joy for the cause and sadness for the reality that this would probably be the last race Kim would run.

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The Santa Letter 2012


Last year the final flicker of childhood was smothered. My daughter, who for the previous two years had launched a vicious campaign in search of the truth behind Santa Claus, climbed onto the bed which my wife and I share all but demanding to hear from our mouths what she knew to be true. There was no actual Santa Claus.

The boy was easier. Fact is I cannot recall the moment in which the noble story became the noble lie. However the clarity came, my recollection was that it was without remark. The girl was the polar opposite. There was a quick exit when as soon as the words left my mouth. The word “Liar!” trailed behind her as she jetted from our room. My wife too became filled with sorrow, knowing our final child would cease to experience the excitement of Christmas Day with the idea of the bearded gentleman.

It is now a family fact that if you do not believe in Santa you do not get presents from Santa. The lie has become blackmail.

On the lighter side it is an element of family tradition. While what that tradition has to yet have a meaning beyond a form or greedy materialism (Santa’s sole purpose is mostly stockings, if anything), we still go through the motions of leaving out the milk and cookies. This year while my not-s0-little girl was baking sweets for the fat man I made it clear that Santa now prefers Almond Milk. What I was not expecting was a continued embrace of the whole drama from my son’s hand.

This requires some back story.

Amidst the aforementioned investigation by my daughter, a specific inquiry focused on Santa’s “Thank You Letter”. For every note that was left, I would pen a thank you while my wife would leave the reindeer food. Once the doubt crept in my youngest brought to my attention that Santa’s handwriting looked strangely like mine.

In steps my son.

Graciously accepting a position in the propaganda machine, Evan took pen in hand and in 2010 wrote the final thank you which served to selfishly extend Sara’s belief. It was with great joy that in waking up Christmas morning 2012 to find the following by an empty glass of milk and plate of chocolate cookies courtesy of my son.

Dear Sara,

I hope you enjoy this last cookie. I saved this milk for you as well. It was warm by the time I arrived, and I carry my own milk anyway.

I put the cookie in a plastic baggie so it would stay fresh for you.

I crocheted the bag out of reindeer drool and elvish mustache hair.

It is very transparent, yet it is strong and safe. Anywho, enjoy the cookie, I sprinkled some dwarf nose hairs to brighten up your day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

p.s. I’m Mormon

There is meaning here that I must find. All that is needed is a few months of over thinking it. For now it is the gift of family.

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