Monthly Archives: December 2016

Winter Wonderland

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Winter brings to mind new beginnings — a time to shed the old, be surprised by what’s around the corner.

It signals the end of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere at least). Time to begin with a clean slate as snow melts away previous troubles, fears, mistakes and faults.

To those living in wintry places, no doubt winter brings to mind storms, gray skies, the uniformity after a blizzard, the biting cold. Snow and icicles.

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Winter also brings to mind cheer, the Christmas fairy lights and decorations, caroling and bells, trees and menorahs, family get-togethers, passing of traditions from generation to generation.

We don’t have real winters in Southern California, unless, of course, one drives up the mountain. Even then, winter doesn’t always show up when one decides to pop in for a visit.

But this year, it did.

When we drove up to Big Bear Lake (elevation 7000 feet) for Christmas, winter showed herself in all her snowy splendor.

We got two feet of snow. And yes, it was cold (10 degrees, the low), and wild, and we loved every moment of it, even when we got snowed in. With no way to make it to the village, an eight-minute walk from our rented cabin, we spent Saturday alternating between playing in the snow, running inside to warm up, then back outside where the snow kept on falling, quiet and cold and splendid.

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At night, inside the cabin, snuggled in blankets, we couldn’t get enough of the snowflakes falling outside the window, the gorgeous images as splendid as those long-ago childhood memories. A true winter wonderland, if I ever saw one; and growing up in Eastern Europe, I’ve seen plenty.

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our cozy cabin

Yet, clearly, I’m no longer a winter person. As much as I enjoyed our four days of winter, eventually we installed our tire chains and drove back down the mountain, admiring our winter wonderland as we went, forever thankful for the beauty of the season, the joy that lifted our spirits beyond anything I could’ve imagined. And all of it just a quick two-hour drive from home.

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So long for now

May the joy of the season bring you happiness, good health, and fill your heart with love. Happy New Year, dear blogging friend.

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All We Have …

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In 1967, at the age of 20, Kathrine Switzer was just a kid who wanted to run. Ambition and hard work were not enough, however, when the goal was as lofty as the Boston Marathon.

The Rules – Boston ’67

Women are not physically equipped to endure the rigors of long-distance running. The strain would cause women’s uteri to fall out; they would become musclebound and grow hair on their chests.

 The Bandit

Kathrine, a field hockey player at Lynchburg College in Virginia, had just transferred to Syracuse University where she started working out with the men’s cross-country team. Arnie Briggs, a running devotee, took her under his wing, and soon Kathrine was running upwards of 10 miles per training session.

She brought up Boston during a running session.

If any woman could do it, Briggs said, you could, but you would have to prove it to me. If you ran the distance in practice, I’d be the first to take you to Boston. 

Hot damn, Kathrine had a goal: the biggest race in the world. She worked herself up to 25-mile runs, and persuaded Briggs she was ready. Not trying to prove anything, only knowing I could do it.

Excitement gripped the Syracuse athletes. Kathrine’s boyfriend, a hammer thrower training for the ’68 Mexico City Olympics, and other runners, entered the race. The team was ready, and it included a runner registered under the gender-neutral K.V. Switzer.

Boston, 1967

On the morning of April 19, 1967, bitter temperatures greeted the runners. As the race got underway, Kathrine remained bundled up in grey sweats, her bib number pinned on her sweatshirt.  

It didn’t take long before word got out: a broad was running the all-male Boston. Oh, the indignation caused by such nerve. Soon, the organizers caught up with Kathrine. The director, an angry man, lunged at her, grabbing at her bib number. Pulling and screaming, Get the hell out of my race and give me that number.

Kathy Switzer, one of two women in the normally an-male Boston marathon in 1967, evades Marathon Director Bill Clooney (in dark suit), who attempted to stop her from running. Ms. Switzer is among the co-anchor persons of the WGBH production, THE BOSTON MARATHON, _ at _ on Channel _.

The Friends

What happened next changed everything. Kathrine’s coach, her boyfriend, and other runners pushed the director and his men out of the way as spectators cheered.

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LET HER RUN

Katherine Switzer of Syracuse, found herself about to be thrown out of the normally all-male Boston Marathon when a husky companion, Thomas Miller of Syracuse, threw a block that tossed a race official out of the running instead, April 19, 1967 in Hopkinton, Mass.(AP PHOTO)

LET HER RUN

Spectators and runners alike could see Katherine was a serious runner. She’d worked hard. They wanted her to do well. And she did not disappoint.

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A story of unity and determination. And the beauty of it is …

She didn’t do it alone.

While Kathrine put in the hard work, decent people — men, for whom the rules had been written — stood up and said:  No more.

A fitting story, perhaps, for our time: divisive and devoid of any sense of oneness.

A throw back to days when folks had each other’s back. When runners shoved officials out of the way and said: She worked hard. She deserves it. When the crowd stood with one woman and her friends for all the rest.

Today

Today, music and poetry do a good job telling us to come together. What a wonderfully utopian prospect: the whole of mankind holding hands and singing, we are the world, as one.

Except there’s no such thing. We engage in divisive disputes all over the place — from coffee shops, to dinner tables, to social media — disputes that change no one’s mind, only make us angrier.

Sure, debate is important. Necessary. But when debate turns into never-ending dispute, the division deepens. We look to officials for help, each tribe with its own superstar statesman. In the meantime, those dividing us continue to prosper at our expense.  

Briggs and the other men did not line up behind officials. They lined up behind Kathrine.  In doing so, they earned the sympathy of a crowd who realized, as Kathrine crossed the finish line, that the rules were one-sided and ignorant. That the value of inclusion is priceless.

Because in the end, all we have is one another.