The night before Easter

There are numerous personality typing systems, from Myers-Briggs to Keirsey Temperament. Most of them offer so many possible types for each individual that they render themselves ineffective by the sheer number of possibilities. Fifteen years or so ago, two women in Vancouver, B.C. created a system that placed each person in one of two categories. I never met the women or attended one of their seminars, and now it isn’t a possibility since they never published their work, dissolved their partnership, and went their separate ways. I heard about their work from my wife and instantly found it captivating, as has everyone she has shared it with. I quickly determined which of the two types I am when Christina told me that morning people belonged to one type and night people to the other. I’m a night person, and that’s why I have this story to tell you. By the way, that’s the last time I’ll mention the typing system.

I’m a runner, a nighttime runner. I began running in 1979 when I was 37 years old. My first run started at 10 PM, July 2nd and ended very shortly after it began – running wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be. However, I’m persistent, and I was blessed with a friend, an ultra-marathoner, who kept me going when I probably would have quit. Now I’m well into my 30th year of running.

I’d guess that I’ve logged over 30,000 miles, from one side of the country to the other and in a half dozen countries, running. I’ve run in all kind of weather, and often when I wasn’t up for it – even running when I was in body cast from an auto accident. I’ve seen a lot in those years and miles. Some of it was memorable. The events I’m going to tell you about are among the most memorable…

It started in 2002, Saturday night, March 30, the night before Easter, to be exact. I was running my normal six mile loop, from our home in Huntsville, Alabama, through Five Points, then downtown, around Big Spring Park, up Lowe, Franklin, Echols, and then left on White. It was a quiet spring evening with little traffic downtown or on any of the streets I had traveled. I was running easy down the long incline before my right turn on Randolph when I saw a movement in the yard of a two story, pre-civil war house at the corner of White and Randolph. I slowed and looked closer just as a figure rose up from behind the low hedge that fronted the house. It was a man with an Easter basket, so intent on hiding eggs that he had not noticed my approach. His dog, puppy actually, had noticed, however. The brown ball of fur barked, took two quick steps in my direction and stumbled over his own feet. The man laughed, I stopped running, and we laughed together.

“A little late for a run isn’t it?” he asked.

“No, it’s never too late for run; however, it’s often too early.”

We laughed together again, and I turned back to my run, “Have a good Easter,” I called over my shoulder.

“Thanks, you too… and be careful out there in traffic.”

I forgot the incident, or at least I thought I’d forgotten it, until Easter eve the following year. I recalled it as I put on my running shoes, stretched, ran through five points, around Big Spring, and up the hill on Echols, the one that gets steeper each year. As I ran down the hill on White, a block from the Easter egg house, I realized that I was going faster than I’d gone in years. I made myself slow down a bit. Then I heard a bark and saw the puppy, now almost full grown, rear up on the fence, his tail wagging. A voice called, “It’s alright Sandy, it’s our running friend.”

I stopped at the gate and said, “It’s good to know that some things don’t change.”

He smiled and said, “Yes, that is good.”

“Have a great Easter,” I said.

“You too,” he called after me, “and be careful out there in traffic.”

The next year, 2004, I thought of little else but the man and his dog the whole day before it was time to run. Blocks before I got to his house I thought, this is stupid. Twice, yes, but three years in a row, no way. That didn’t stop me from picking up speed blocks before the house and focusing on the yard from the moment it came into view. A half block away I heard the bark and saw the now, very big Sandy, hanging over the front gate. His master was waiting in the spot I’d last seen him the year before.

“It’s good to see you,” I said.

“You too,” he said, absently scratching the big dog’s head.

“Have you got all the eggs hidden?”

He glanced at the hedge, “Yep, just finished when I heard you coming.”

I started to move away, “Have a very good Easter.”

“You too… and be careful out there in traffic.”

2005, 2006, and 2007 were carbon copies of our first three meetings, then last year, I had a revelation of sorts before I began my

Easter eve run. This would be our 7th night before Easter meeting – did his kid’s still hunt Easter eggs?

There was no bark when I approached the house. I was concerned until I saw Sandy sitting beside the gate. Too old, for the usual show I thought and quickly amended the thought by adding, but he’s there, waiting for me. My Easter friend approached the gate when I stopped running. “Mind if I ask you a question?” I said.

He grinned, “Ask away.”

“Are you really still hiding Easter eggs after all these years?”

He laughed, “You caught me,” he said. “Sandy and I were just waiting for you.”

“I was hoping you would be,” I said. “Have a great Easter.”

“You too… and be careful out there in traffic.”

Last night, he and Sandy were in the yard just as they have been for the past seven years. “It’s good to see you,” I said.

“It’s good to be here,” he said, and I heard volumes that remained unsaid.

“Have a great Easter, and I’ll see you next year.”

Sandy barked as he said, “You too… and be careful out there in traffic.”

************

I posted this blog on Easter, 2009, three years ago today. I did run last night and though I haven’t seen my friend on Easter eve in three years now, I always slow down and look. Neither he nor Sandy was in the yard last night. I do see Sandy occasionally, but I haven’t seen the kids or my friend in a long time. Things change. People get older and most of them stop hunting Easter eggs. Me? Well I’m definitely older but for some illogical reason I’m faster, in better shape than I have been in years, and yes, I still hunt Easter eggs.

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4 Responses to The night before Easter

  1. I loved this story, it left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside LOL!

  2. Caleb Pirtle
    Twitter:
    says:

    It is amazing the friends we have and often don’t know their names, see them once, and spend the rest of our lives wondering about them. There is an instant connection between some people, and neither time nor space ever separate them. The friends may no longer exist in our lives, but memories are forever.

  3. Jack Durish
    Twitter:
    says:

    I don’t know about you guys running in the dark. When I came to California with my two children in tow and my wife still in Colorado jumping from one man’s bed to another, I took a walk. Walking, rowing, any physical activity is my method of relieving stress and tension. I got the kids to bed at my brother’s home in Thousand Oaks and took a walk in the dark. The street lamps were far apart and I found myself midway between two in an utter void of darkness, when I heard the padding of a runner approaching from behind. I stepped to the curb to prevent him or her from running into me. I have often thought myself “blessed” with excellent night vision. I don’t know if it was a blessing that night. The runner was naked. Totally naked. I’m not sure he even saw me as he passed. He certainly didn’t acknowledge me, and I waited until he was out of earshot before I began chuckling. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “this is California.”

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