A few semi random thoughts from the Thompson Family Vacation
Just off Exit 5 of the Mid Cape Highway, there’s several hundred acres of green space called The Trail of Tears. You pull into the parking lot and stretching away before you like a yellow snake is a sandy, rock pitted trail that curves its way over hills and under power lines. The sand is mostly loose and the hills, like most hills on the Cape don’t last that long but they’re sharp and if you stack enough of them up next to each other, they’ll take it out of your legs. It’s a pretty miserable looking trail but as a two mile warm-up, straight out, it’s a good way to get the heart pumping. And if you do get to the end of that two miles and bang a sharp left into the woods beside it, you’re treated to a spider web of single track, threaded through fresh smelling pine forest. The footing is sure back here, roots non-existent and if you’d like, you can go for hours. Of all the hotspots on the Cape, this is my favorite.
On July 4th, Team Thompson celebrated by running a road race. Just over two miles, the Hyannisport Civic Association course started uphill, ran out along the ocean and then ended up where it started in front of the Post Office. The entry fee was two bucks per person, there were no t-shirts, no loudspeakers, no huge, inflatable cans of sports drink to run through when you finished. Simple and fun, I ran with Drew, Lulu ran with Fiona. As a newly minted six years old, my daughter didn’t have much competition but she hammered home with a serious game face, not breaking a smile ‘til she came across the line. Her mother told me Fi had run the whole way and for her effort, she clocked a highly respectable sub 19. With me, Drew worked very hard, suffered a stitch at the end of the first mile but recovered sufficiently to reel in several adults before the finish line. Coming in 32nd in a field of just about 200, his best moment was with a 100 meters to go. We saw a fading 30something up ahead of us and I suggested to Drew that he could “Beat that guy.” Drew man took off like he’d been shot out of a cannon . At the line, he caught a very surprised runner.
No family summer vacation would be complete without a trip to an amusement park. We hit Water Wizz in Wareham. With several excellent slides including a sixty foot plunge in total darkness and some serious speed on just about every option, we had a spectacular morning. The park was only about 20% full and there wasn’t a single line we had to wait in. As much fun as we were having, the warm temps brought out plenty of pasty flesh and it was hard not to think about just how obese we’ve become as a society. Everywhere you turned, there were parents and children with heartbreaking amounts of fat spilling out and over their suits. With national health care reform on everyone’s mind, wouldn’t it be nice if we sought some simple solutions to getting costs in line. For starters, real leadership at the Federal level would encourage America to get in shape. The medical cost of obesity is exhaustive. It contributes to everything from asthma to cancer to joint replacement and yet we seem to hardly take it seriously as an issue. Every time I hear our president talk about how “complicated” health care reform will be, I wonder if it really needs to be so. Before we start paying for everyone’s medical costs, let’s make sure (as best we can) that everyone’s taking a modicum of responsibility for their health.
Out of nine days on the Cape, it rained for seven. There was a time when conditions like these would have sunk me in a hole of self-pity: “why does this happen to me… my one week off… etc etc.” I didn’t go down that road once. As a family, we made the best of it. We played tennis between the rain drops, found things to dig up and collect on the beach, made up “workout” games with a deck of cards, held Wi sports tournaments, read and sometimes turned on the TV to watch Wimbledon. My wife didn’t know Michael Jackson had died til three days after he was gone. And you know what? She was okay with that.
It’s good to get away sometimes, to get away from everything.