Rather obnoxiously, I enter each bedroom, loudly singing my version of Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving song. “Turkey for you, and Tofu for me….” I’ve done my 10-mile warm up and it’s time to wake ‘Team Basehart’ for the 116th Annual Turkey Trot. It is an understatement to say they do not share my enthusiasm this morning.
For the past several years, “Team Basehart” has consisted of me, my son Noah, my brother-in-law Mike, and his son Alec. (There is a Diane Basehart who runs, but she’s adjunct to the core team.) This year, as per my birthday request, Mark has begrudgingly joined the team. I remind him of his commitment as he lies in bed. He grumbles something about skipping it and buying me a sweater.
After all are awake, I face another protest. No one will dress up with me. Even my ever-obliging son refuses to wear the turkey hat. Um, hello-----Turkey Trot---, time to let your freak flag fly…. This is NOT how I envisioned this at all.
Having free will, I put on my ‘vixen’ t-shirt, my red and green ribbon jingle bell skirt and topped off the outfit with a pink sequin Santa hat. I know I can’t pull off “hot”, but with a bit of time and concerted effort, I can still knock out “cute”. Game on!
We pick up the rest of the team. And we’re off. Mike and Alec wont dress up either. Exactly what is this world coming to?
The start is packed and alive with this great energy. We huddle somewhere in the middle. As always, one of my favorite things happens. Someone in the sea of humanity recognizes one of us and yells “Basehart”. I always feel like so close to my family when all five of us turn.
Once the race is off, it’s time to watch the show. Snowmen, reindeer, Santa and his helpers, gingerbread men, and a varied flock of turkeys surround us. The boys seem to latch on to some cute little elves whom they enjoy running behind. Note to self, talk to the boys about objectifying women.
That leaves us old-timers. I look at Mark and ask if he hates me. “Yes” is prompt reply, accompanied by a wink. He then runs a few paces ahead. That leaves multiple- marathoner Mike and I. We people watch, and in Mike’s case, dog watch. Mike is so much like Mark it is eerie. They even made similar comments to the Occupy Buffalo people. "Hey, you workin' today?" and "Why don't you occupy a desk?". Good heavens---must I be the only token democrat in this family?
This race is like a moving reunion. Mike could be the mayor of the Turkey Trot. He knows everyone. I’ve yet to figure out how he runs with a coffee in one hand and shaking hands with the other. I see past and present students, co-workers, running friends and even my gyn (doubt that he recognized my FACE)! One well-placed gust of wind landed my Santa hat right in front of Kris and Denise, whom I’ve termed the ‘Ultra Angels’, as they’ve helped me pick up my dragging butt in a previous race or two. What a great day!
Mark continued to run strong. Mike and I stayed with him and gave him encouragement he did not want. The old guy ran every step, and didn’t complain in spite of it being hard for him. When we got towards the end, I asked him if he had enough for a sprint. The devil glare told me to stop asking obvious questions.
We held hands as we finished. He was smiling and proud of himself. When I next looked at him, I fell a bit deeper in love. He came out and did this for me, even though it was very hard for him. Dang! I’m a lucky woman.
On the ride home, all the four of them could talk about is how next year we should wear matching t-shirts and dress up. Sigh….