Vignette: Red-Headed, Strange(r)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hello all, and a Happy Saturday to you from steamy Boston. Once again, this is NOT one of the posts I've mentioned I'm working on... well, for a while now. :c) Instead, this is another one-off about a funny incident that happened Thursday evening. Follow along below the jump for the details. :c)

Over the past two years I've become addicted to running. It's terrific exercise, it's relaxing, and it gives me time to think about things, much like walking does. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I've started to work on moving up to 10K (6.1 miles). (I currently run 5K/3.1 miles.)

Anyway, I run at different times, depending on the day of the week and the weather. It's been an unusually hot and humid summer here this year, which means I tend to run more early in the morning or at dusk, the sun is going down.

I do run immediately after work on occasion, but I don't really like doing so. While I work at a pleasant facility with a quite reasonable commute (about 20-25 minutes, typically), it's less than ideal for running. It's an industrial area, with a number of office parks and a great deal of traffic, particularly in the evening when I'm usually running. It's difficult to maintain a consistent pace, as you can probably imagine.

So, I tend to do most of my running near my apartment. It's familiar, I have several established routes I now use, and there's much less traffic to worry about (I live in a small town outside of Boston).

When you run at the same times, you tend to see certain faces as you make your rounds, both runners and non-runners. One day I had a pleasant  encounter with a particularly friendly police officer. I was running by a local hospital; he'd pulled across the sidewalk, waiting for several cars to pass so he could pull into the opposite lane.

When he noticed me approaching, he kindly pulled back, clearing the sidewalk so that I wouldn't have to run into the street. As I passed by I caught his eye, smiled, and gave him a crisp salute. He laughed and returned it. We now repeat this ritual every time we see each other. :c)

As it turns out, not only do you see people when you run at particular times; some of them see you as well. And that brings us to Thursday evening.

In this case I had *not* run that day. I'd run four of the past five days, in large measure due to Miss J, whose magic touch once again worked wonders on my balky right hip last weekend (thank you again, sweetie; you're the best!). I went for a walk after work instead. In addition, once again it was very hot and humid, so this was for the best anyway.

Afterwards, I cooled off back in the office, which also let the last of the rush hour traffic dissipate. I changed out of my sweaty workout gear (see above - notice the Toronto Blue Jays cap, Alice!) back into the outfit I'd worn to work. I don't bother with a shower until I'm home.

(An aside: I had a chat recently with TDMM (a/k/a The Divine Miss M) about, well, sweating, of all things.)

( I'd just returned from a post-work run, and M was getting ready to leave. M is also a runner - we ran the Color 5K last fall, as a matter of fact, although we spent most of the race attempting to dump as much colored powder as possible on each other. lol))

  She asked if I'd noticed any differences about exercising since I'd transitioned. I thought about it for  moment, then replied that I had, as a matter of fact. I not only perspire less (although still quite a bit compared to other women, I suspect), it has a different odor and texture. It's... well, not sweeter, but it's no longer sticky, and there's no odor to it. So thank you, TDMM, for helping me unearth that little factoid! :-p)

Anyway, back to Thursday evening. I stopped off for my post-workout iced coffee, picked up a prescription, and went grocery shopping.

After pulling into my driveway, I was unloading the groceries from the backseat. It was dusk, and the streetlights hadn't yet come on. I'd removed my contacts after my run, but wasn't wearing my glasses, so I was effectively blind.

However, out of the corner of my eye I was able to make out what looked like two of my neighbors at the end of the next block, sitting outside chatting. I've never met them, but often see them outside playing with their young children.

It was 8:00, and there was no street traffic of any kind; no cars, no pedestrians, nothing. That explains why I was able to hear the following conversation from a block away as I was fumbling with my keys on the way to my back door:

"Hey - there she is!"

"Sorry - there who is?"

"The redhead!"

"The runner?!? Where?!?"


I managed to stifle a laugh until I managed to get the door open and stumble up the stairs with the shopping bags. Then I laughed out loud!

I joked with Alice afterward that I wasn't sure whether I should be offended, flattered, or amused by their conversation. (After some discussion, we settled on "amused," with a dash of "flattered.") She also pointed out that if - OK, when, given my gender-neutral klutziness - I ever sprain my ankle while running, I can now rest assured that at least someone will probably notice! :D


On to the musical accompaniment for this post. Its title, as you likely surmised, is a play on the title of Willie Nelson's 1975 masterpiece, Red Headed Stranger, the crowning achievement in his run of classic albums in the 1970s, including Yesterday's Wine (1971),  Shotgun Willie (1973), and Phases and Stages (1974).

When he turned Red Headed Stranger in to his record label, they assumed he'd mistakenly submitted his demo tapes, given the record's spare arrangements and muted instrumentation (acoustic guitar, piano, and drums). When they balked at releasing it, he pointed out that he'd chosen to take significantly less money in exchange for complete creative control; he told them that this was the album he intended to make, and that there would be no changes, period.

The label reluctantly released it, certain they had a commercial disaster on their hands... only to see the album sell over two million copies, top the country charts, and eventually be considered one of the most important country records ever released. In 2009 it was added to the National Recording Registry, designed to recognize albums of significant artistic, cultural, and aesthetic import.

Ironically, given his stature as one of the all-time great country songwriters, RHS's most enduring track is a cover - "Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain." Here's Willie performing it in 1975. Don't miss his typically remarkable guitar work on Trigger (the only guitar he's played since 1969).

Here's the great Dwight Yoakam, a longtime favorite, performing a medley of "Blue Eyes" with "Hello Walls," Willie's first classic, and the song that put him on the map as a songwriter of the first rank back in 1961, when Faron Young recorded it and scored a Number One hit on the country charts. This is from the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors.

I was very excited to see that Mr. Yoakam's next album, due in September, will be a bluegrass album. That is going to be a treat. :c)

To wrap things up, here's Willie performing a great version of "The Maker," from his excellent 1998 album Teatro, with the song's author (and the producer of Teatro), Daniel Lanois:

Willie is now 83 years old and still going strong; I'd say it was clean living, but, well, this is Willie Nelson we're talking about. :D I think Bruce Robison may have figured it out, however:

Have a good week, everyone, and hope you remember to ask yourself this important question every day: WWWD? :-)


Stace on August 7, 2016 at 4:31 AM said...

I love running, though onky twice a week - during the week with a group learnng how to run properly for about 7 to 9km, and on Sunday by myself for 11 to 14 depending on how it goes :)

But 5km daily! How do your knees survive! Well done!

And, having people watch for if you go through your ankle can't be a bad thing, Safety first! :)


Halle on August 7, 2016 at 9:33 AM said...

Well now, if I ever do get there to visit and have trouble finding you, I know what to do! "Excuse me, can you tell me which house the red-headed runner lives in please?" Great post Hon.
Hugs, Deanna

Unknown on August 7, 2016 at 7:56 PM said...

Thanks for mentioning Willie. Don't forget the very cool movie from 1986 that put the songs on the album to film. Filmed on and around his ranch here in Texas, watch out for most of his band in supporting roles. It was so wonderful to see one of my favorite albums come to life on the screen. Thanks Cassisy, Julia

Cassidy on August 8, 2016 at 9:17 PM said...

@ Julia: You're very welcome. :D Incidentally, Willie wasn't the Texas songwriter I was referring to in my reply to your previous comment. That post is still to come, so stay tuned. :c) I'll try to track down the film; Willie is quite a good actor. Ever see Songwriter, with he and Kris Kristofferson, or Thief, Michael Mann's film? Both are terrific.

@ Halle: Yes, that would work. Alternately, you can just listen for the ambulance siren. ;-p (You know you're a klutz when you're on a first-name basis with the ER staff at the local hospital - and I only wish I was kidding...)

@ Stace: This post gives a distorted view of my usual running schedule, which is typically 3-4 times a week. In this case I ran more because a) I was making up for the runs I'd missed, and b) my hip felt 100% better, thanks to Miss J and her magic fingers. :D

I admire you being able to run those long distances, btw. Can't wait until I can do them too!

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