Well we did it. Last Saturday Loretta and I joined about 25 other members of Team TKO and well over a thousand other people to participate in the annual Step Out Walk To Stop Diabetes in the backwoods at Keeneland Race Track.
The walking trail was purportedly split in two sections; the first being one mile long and the second, two and a half miles long.
Loretta, Mr. Parkinson and I thought we followed the signs for the one mile trail but — three days after the fact as I sit here reminiscing the event — I still have my doubts. If, in fact, the trail we followed, was only one mile long, I promise you faithfully that it is easily the longest mile in Kentucky.
Tyler and the rest of our team had finished the walk before Loretta and I topped the first hill. In fact, I’m told Tyler wanted to start over and come back looking for us. The truth of the matter is that if there hadn’t been some rock walls along the way for me to stop and rest on I probably would not have made it. Mr. Parkinson was doing all he could to hold me down. As it was, I spent a lot of the way leaning on Loretta’s shoulder.
I know for sure that I have never before seen so many day-glo orange and chartreuse running shorts in one gathering nor so many dogs mingled with an otherwise ordinary crowd. There must be something magical about the mutual attraction between dogs and diabetics. One that I will forever remember was a big dog with a lab-like profile except he had a Churchill bulldog head and he was on a long leash being led by a slender young woman who was maybe 20 something. She had a bag full of 16 ounce bottles of water and every few hundred yards the dog would gulp down a whole bottle.
I kept wondering when he’d have to stop and pee. He never did. And I’m still wondering where he put it.
We have a “measured mile” beginning at the end of my driveway, going out the end of Charlie Brown Road, Up Old Rail to a designated turnabout, then back down down Old Railroad to the other end of Charlie Brown and Back to the end of my driveway. Four different cars, my pickup and two bicycle odometers show the distance to be exactly one mile. One of the cars was a BMW owned by an arrogant numb-skull who believes nothing is as accurate as German engineering.
When the weather and Mr. Parkinson permit, I am fond of walking my measured mile and photographing wildflowers in the weeds and gardens along the way. I can tell you, for sure, that the Keeneland mile was much longer than mine, plus a lot of it was up hill.
Of course I tell my grandchildren that I had to walk over a mile to school on Blair Branch and it was all up hill. — both ways. Actually I did walk a measured mile and one tenth to Blair Branch Grade School. The distance was measured at one time or another by practically every car on the holler. I can tell you, for sure, that the Step Out Mile, outdistanced my trek to and from school.
One time when I was in eighth grade and brother Keeter was in sixth, we were in the same room and had the same teacher. An out of state guest was passing through and visiting our school for some reason. Our teacher, Monroe Caudill, was explaining that we had no school bus. To impress his guest, he pointed to me and then to Keeter and said, “Ike and Keith Adams walk a mile each way.” Ketter stuck his hand up real high and Mr, Caudill said, “Yes Keith.”
Keeter stood up and said, “Make that exactly a mile and a tenth.” and sat back down.
Mr. Caudill said, “Duly noted Keith. I stand corrected.”
Keeter said, “Well I just think a man ought to get things exactly right.”
Mr. Caudill just sort of sternly nodded his head but the more I think about it the more I think I’ve finally figured out why Ketter was not valedictorian of his senior class.
Meanwhile back to Diabetes. I noticed, Monday morning, that daughter Jennifer Ochs, the official captain of Team TKO and mother of our little champ Tyler Kane who has type 1 diabetes and for whom our team is named, had posted on her Facebook page that we had booked a total $4,890 at that writing.
Readers, you either donated online or mailed just over half that to either Loretta or me and it’s almost double what we did last year. To say that we are humbled is a huge understatement. We hope that you will keep on praying for a cure for this horrible disease that saddles kids like our little Tyler with a terrible burden they’ll have to bear for the rest of their lives unless a cure is found.