I have undergone a month of guests, and though they’re closely related, and thus conjure good feelings, I’ll be happy to have Mary all to myself again.
It is enough to be able to talk to her, about any old thing, though inevitably, because she’s more generous of herself than anyone I know, we’ve rarely had the time to “hang out,” as they say, in the past few weeks.
Which was why, I suppose, that, uncharacteristically, she said she wanted to come along with me to Ellen’s Run, the 5-kilometer road race in Southampton this past Sunday. I was more than happy that she accompany me, though I told her I’d be working, which is to say listening to others for the most part — something she’s not used to at home — and taking down as best I could what they said. And taking photos, of course. That’s always part of it.
She was quite happy there, in that crowd of 1,000 or more. Everyone’s in great spirits at these sporting events I write about (there were about the same number the day before at the Artists-Writers Game in East Hampton), which obviously is to my liking — I’ve only been on this beat for 34 years. You can have the contention and antipathy and the sour humor of board meetings and such. I don’t look for unanimity of thought at the races and games I cover, but for reasons to continue to be hopeful about humanity. And, to my delight, they’re always readily at hand.
At Ellen’s, Mary struck up a conversation with Cliff Clark, the South Ferry’s owner and running coach, who had brought three of his trainees with him — one of whom, as it turned out, won — and was impressed by his generous spirit, as she was by that of Julie Ratner, the race’s founder, the 44 breast cancer survivors who were competing, and by Bella, the Jack Russell, who ran all the way with Evie Purcell.
Her goal would be to do this race next year, she said as we began to leave, with her granddaughter, Ella, who, although only 4 now, can seemingly run forever.
Every now and then I become a bit exhausted on the leisure beat, especially near the end of the summer. But I never grow weary of the company I keep.