Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last Run in Salt Lake City

It is only fitting that the last run I do as a resident of Salt Lake City was at Liberty Park.  And it was by great fate that I happened to see Henry.  I cannot tell how much this made my day.  To tell you who Henry is, I am going to repost an article I wrote about Henry over a year ago, below:

When I first moved to Salt Lake City, I chose the place I wanted to live based on very little to do with the apartment itself. The reasoning behind why I rented this particular apartment (which I chose using Google maps – honestly) had much to do with its location–being right across the street from a park with a 1.5-mile running oval. I have sung the praises of Liberty Park’s ease of access and mostly traffic-free running trails to my friends and fellow runners all the time. It is simply wonderful.

When I had a more conventional 9-5 job, I would get up around 7am and go for a 3.75-mile run to wake myself up. I despise morning running. I have no idea how on race day I am even able to get up for the race itself. However, every morning I went for a run here at Liberty Park, I was almost always destined to be happy in some small way. I would get to see Henry.

Then, my life changed and my routine changed and I rarely run at that hour anymore. As such, it is times like today, when I randomly see Henry, that really make me happy.  I mentioned over three years ago in a blog posting how I wanted to get to know Henry more. Unfortunately, I have failed to do so. I did once stop and talk to him but I almost felt like I was bothering him, in spite of his genial nature. He was there to get in his exercise, not be hindered by some little whippersnapper. I do know Henry is every bit of 80-years-old and is exercising at Liberty Park, I am guessing, every single day. I once caught his last name (since forgotten) and a little of his story. But since we run (well, he does a fast walk, in all honesty) in different directions, I usually get nothing more than a big smile, a quick wave and both an ironic yet not at all self-aware comment about how he is glad to see I am still out here running. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this makes me chuckle.

I almost do not want to know more about Henry than I already do. I want to keep him as this icon of what I hope to be someday: happy, much older, and healthy. Will getting to know him better ruin the wonderful semi-relationship I have with Henry? Will that take away some of the allure? I guess I see in Henry what I wish my own father could have–namely, the ability to walk.  Unfortunately, that has been taken away from my own Dad. I wonder if seeing Henry as a symbol of someone else and not just himself is a little rude.

Chances are I will just observe Henry from afar hoping to see him as often as possible without interrupting his routine. On the other hand, I do feel we do not often enough tell those who make us happy that they do so. Small random compliments really do make the world go around. Perhaps then, if only to let him know he inspires me and that I hope to be as active as he is when I get a little older, I will stop and chat with him again. Learn his story. See what motivates him. Regardless, he surely is awesome.

Rock on, Henry.

These words still ring true today.  See you later, Salt Lake City.

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