Well it took me years to get those souvenirs
And I don't know how they slipped away from me. - "Souvenirs" by John Prine
It's been decades since I ran with my father. The last time we were together, we went for a run. Well, the last time we were together and he wasn't in a bed in a burn ward.
Sorry for that juxtaposition, folks, but it's the one that gets stuck in my head every Memorial Day. My dad was the active one. He's the one who talked me into running my first race: The Bolder Boulder. I still have the shirt from that one. It was the fanciest shirt I ever got from a race: all maroon nylon on top and a white mesh on the lower half. It's not one that I wear much since it seems every bit as dated as those short-shorts I used to wear back in the day. But it's still in the drawer because it reminds me of that time and place.
I carry a picture in my wallet of my father and I crossing the finish line together. We ran that race for a lot of years, but only once did we manage to finish at the same time. It was so long ago that when we received the proof for the photo, it wasn't a digital thumbnail attached to an e-mail. It was a wallet-sized real-life picture that wasn't suitable for framing, but was completely acceptable for carrying around in a wallet. For a few decades. For a few hundred miles. I've worn out more shoes than I can count. I've retired a good many shirts, but I've got that one in reserve.
All that running made it hard to look at my father, or the shell that had been my father, lying in that hospital bed. It's not that all of the memories of I have of my father are him in motion. He was a champion sleeper. But he snored like a buzzsaw. My father could be still, but he really couldn't be quiet. On Memorial Day, I think about all the running and snoring and how I miss them. Sometimes I snore now, just to keep up.
I still go running with my dad. These days we almost always cross the finish line together.