I love friends with a good sense of humor. Neal Jamison is
one such friend.
Neal is one of several ultra runners from Roanoke who
responded enthusiastically last year to our request on the internet ultra list
for information about living and running in this area. They wrote volumes about
why they love living here.
The folks you see in this photo (and some others who
weren't present that evening) are one of the reasons Jim and I decided to move
Not only does the area have most of the natural, cultural,
historical, and economic amenities we were seeking in a retirement haven, but it
also boasts some of the nicest, most generous people that we’ve ever met in our
travels across the country.
Since our core group of four couples hadn’t dined together
for several months, Neal and his gracious wife Suzanne decided it would be
fitting to have a send-off party before Jim and I started our long odyssey
northward. Finding one date to suit eight busy people is never an easy thing to
do, but a date, location, and theme were finally chosen: last night, at
the Jamison’s house, with pizza delivered to the door and Suzanne’s yummy
home-prepared salad and desserts.
Jim and I were the first to arrive. As we were talking with
Suzanne in the kitchen, we immediately ruined two of the Jamison’s surprises.
First, as Suzanne was taking some hot baked goods from the
oven I innocently asked if they were muffins or cupcakes. Turns out they were
“my” harvest muffins (see
Prep17). Suzanne wanted to surprise us with warm
muffins and brownies a la mode for dessert.
Shortly thereafter, Jim zeroed in on Neal’s brand new book,
“The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of My Feet,” which was lying on the
counter right under his nose. Flipping through the book, he joked, “Is this for
Turns out, it was! Double oops.
But the Jamisons are cool and took it all in stride. In
fact, they got us back later when they presented us with a going-away package
designed for an Intrepid Trail Trekker. That part really was a surprise.
After dessert, Neal ceremoniously brought to the table two
yellow plastic draw-string bags from races that bore items that will surely be
needed along the way:
* A roll of duct tape, about all any self-respecting ultra
runner needs to fix anything
* A large tube of ultra-strength muscle rub to soothe my
* Two 500-ml soft containers of fine chardonnay and
cabernet sauvignon, an even more pleasant way to soothe those aching muscles (or
make me not much care about them!)
* All the ingredients to make my favorite pumpkin soup
TWICE (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, chicken broth, and peanut butter (also described
* And a bottle of Geritol.
Wait – isn’t that for OLD people???
Thanks, Neal. I like your sense of humor.
And thanks to Dru for a large gift bag full of little
packets of M&M’s. Dru is a woman after my own heart who knows chocolate is
surely one of the basic food groups!
(You can find Neal's new book at
Amazon.com along with his
first book, "Running Through the Wall - Personal Encounters With the