Why I do the Bolder Boulder …

24 05 2009

Ok – The Bolder Boulder is an annual race in Boulder, Colorado for Memorial Day.

My grandfather, Robinson Shepard, was in World War I. He and his favorite cousin, Warren Robinson, enlisted. Although I believe Grandpa was in New Hampshire by this time, these two Maine boys were best friends, cousins and the like. They did go different directions, however. Grandpa was in the first Radio Corps. Friends say that’s where I get my tinkering from. Warren became a Medic – Ambulance Corps. Together, in their own way, they tried to do what they thought was right: Grandpa – getting messages around and through and Warren – ministering to the injured and dying. Dangerous duty for both of them. Grandpa was Mustard Gassed and Warren was just behind those front lines dealing with bodies.

When the armistice was to go in to effect 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the news didn’t get around all that fast. This 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was the cease fire for The Western Front and not everywhere. As Grandpa was able to celebrate with his friends, he waited to hear from his beloved cousin …word which never came. My grandfather was never the same after hearing his beloved cousin was shot through the Red Cross emblem … the emblem of hope, safety and care … on his helmet.

I race for these two Shepards … and all my friends who have served in all the wars we’ve had since. Most interesting, to me, is walking for my dad’s cousin Petey’s husband who was in Korea … and they’re still wondering why they were sent there!

Before I leave for the Bolder Boulder, I look at my wall where I’ve got the few mementos given to me by Grandpa: His diploma from taking courses in France (“We were a little silly there, but I always love learning, so I took some classes with my chums.”) and the medal given to New Hampshire sons who fought in the War To End All Wars. “I guess, Lizzy, we were wrong, eh?” he breathed heavily – I believe he had emphysema from being mustard gassed. This year, I’ll be taking a bus up … listening to a cd of music to get me juiced (go ahead and try to guess!) … and staring out the window telling Warren Robinson that he doesn’t need to come out and take care of me on the route … I’m not going to injure myself!

I really miss you Grandpa. I really do. But I know you, your cousin and friends are all watching me race thinking “What silliness is your Grand-Daughter doing, Robinson?” His answer, might be, “You know, I’m not exactly sure. Something she’s having fun with. She is from California, after all.”

I’d really love it if my nephews born this year never have to deal with war.

Yes, Spartans, freedom isn’t free, however if the “leaders” could acutally lead and work together … Memorial Day would just be a memorial … and that would be nice, eh?

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