Thursday, August 4, 2011

Building in Confidence

August 1: I began the day by losing my other Croc, or so I learned later. The first disappeared shortly after I left Sweetser in mid-July. I had continued carrying the other as a reminder to myself that I am a moron. I'll probably forget I am a moron now, which should do loads of good for my self-confidence.
Rides on the L and Metra took me back to Matteson, where I resumed work following the weekend's birthday celebrations. I hit the Old Plank Road again and passed thru a series of Chicago's outer suburbs: Matteson, Frankfort, Mokena, and New Lenox.
The journey was surprisingly serene for all the nearby suburban madness. I first visited the Dewey Helmick Nature Preserve, a wetland densely populated with water fowl of various types. Frankfort boasted their own Prairie Preserve, a small but impressive re-creation of what was once the Midwest's dominant habitat. The occasional J.C. Penney's completed the schizophrenic nature of the surroundings.
I finished up my fifteen mile return to the grind in New Lenox where I was set to meet up with my friend Heather Anton Vitell. Due to a prior commitment, Heather, who lives in Lagrange, sent her father Ralph to extract me.
We had arranged a rendezvous at the library, which, the Old Plank website assured me, was next to the Lion's Den Rec Park. I settled in at the Lion's Den and laid down on a bench, exhausted from the day's labor. It turns out the "adjacent" library is half a mile away, something we both discovered when Ralph arrived and could not find me. We eventually realized the snafu and I was able to track him down and escape the trail for the day.
When we reached Heather's home in Lagrange three ninjas came somersalting over the rug towards me. Charla, Jax, and Jed proved harmless and so did Midas, a dog who lacked the bite to back up his vicious bark.
Ralph and his wife Gail cleared our path of children by taking them out to McDonald's. I was left to enjoy a quiet repast with Heather and her husband Joe at Thippi Thai. The meal was extraordinarily good, proving my theory once again that only Asians or those who submit to the Asian way of cooking (tongue fu) can properly execute the cooking of vegetables.
Heather and Joe were perfect hosts, providing stimulating conversations and rescuing me from the maelstrom three children can create, allowing me to relax. I was able to get a comfortable night's slumber indoors in preparation for a week of camping, where anything can happen and often does. Consider yourselves foreshadowed.

15 miles/1160 total miles

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