This spring I’ve been helping my husband John Pitts, sports editor for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, cover local races. I think he mainly wants me involved so I’ll make sure he gets up and out to the starting line in time, since runners and sportswriters seem to have different interpretations of what “early in the morning” means. (One thinks 5 a.m. and the other thinks 10 a.m. You be the judge.) But I’ve honestly enjoyed the up-close-and-personal perspective I’ve gotten from helping cover both the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K and Tupelo’s Gum Tree 10K Run. I mean, I do not run. It hurts. It makes me cry. It’s painful. I do not understand why people do it. I remember somebody who ran explaining it to me once. She said, “You know that feeling when you can’t move your legs and you feel so sick and dizzy and you have to stop and throw up? I love that!” This is madness with a capital “C” for crazy, too. Because whenever I feel like that, I immediately go lie down. And perhaps call the doctor. I do not think, “Only four more miles to go!” That’s the difference, I guess, between those who run and those who buy a pair of Nikes maybe once every five years. Or the difference, perhaps, between those at the front of the race pack, poised to spring into record-breaking action as soon as the gun goes off, and those at the back, who are, like, “Has it started yet? Are we supposed to be moving?” As an experienced race reporter now, I can tell you that there’s quite a contrast between the intense anticipation at the front of the line and the relaxed gathering going on in the back. But that’s one of the most surprising things I learned: There’s room for all. Maybe even for folks who don’t even like to run.
This is the smile I cannot get enough of. Well, one of them, anyway. Almost 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable has a complete repertoire of smiles but I’m especially delighted with the one that says, “Okay, Kacky, it’s your turn to go down the slide now.” We were playing in his backyard on a recent warm and sunny day and, as usual, he was in charge of the schedule. First we do sand-box construction work, then run around the yard for a couple of laps, then fall on the grass laughing with Roxie the Dog, then try to climb up and over the 7-foot-high fence and then try to surreptitiously fill up water in the red plastic bucket and tote the water to the sandbox to turn the construction zone into waterfront property despite Mommy telling him not to do that. Again. Then we play some basketball (I’m great with the Thomas the Tank ball and 4-foot-high plastic goal) and check to see if the carrots Mommy and Daddy planted in the garden yesterday are growing yet. And then there’s the slide. Actually, he has two in the backyard. One is short and wide and adult-friendly. The other is long and narrow and built only for those who consistently fail the “you must be this tall to ride” test. The Captain’s preferred method of playing on the slides is to A) make Roxie the Dog slide down and B) figure out a way he can ride his dump truck down. Plus, we both love the game that I invented called “Sleep.” See, I sit on the bottom of the short-and-wide slide (because I can’t fit on the bottom of the long-and-narrow slide) and I lie down on my back with my feet on the ground and I start snoring and the Captain climbs to the top of the slide and then slides down, bumps into my head, leans over to gleefully ask “Kacky? You awake, Kacky?” and then laughs wildly as he jumps off the side of the slide to do it all again. This goes on for several minutes. If I’m lucky.
Is there anything better on a hot summer day than cooling off in your backyard pool? Especially when the pool is a family heirloom? My mom had this inflatable pool at her house more than 20 years ago for her granddaughters and now her great-grandson thinks it’s the best thing ever. Honestly, I didn’t remember the pool, but my mom kept saying, “I have the pool the girls played in and it would be perfect for Capt. Adorable.” And she was right! It fits just exactly on the patio, which is in the afternoon shade, and 17-months-old Capt. Adorable and his mommy get out and have fun in it almost every day (although that’s the Captain’s aunt in the photo). Say the word “pool” and the Captain’s at the patio door, ready to go. It took him awhile, but now he’s fully conversant in the arts of splashing, pouring and dumping cupfuls of water on anyone brave enough to get close.