Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Virginia Beach: Part Three

So, the last day at Virginia Beach (Sunday) was the day of some sort of Virgina Beach/St. Patricks Day marathon, officially named the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon.  I got the Shamrock part, but couldn't figure out what the "Yuengling" was all about.  I thought maybe the Chinese and the Irish get together once a year to race and drink.   I figured we'd fit in since Sharon is Chinese and Will walks like a drunken sailor.  I know, it's prejudice to assume that all Irish are drunks, but I found out when we got home that Yuengling is some sort of brewery.  I wasn't all that off.

So, yeah.  We fit in well with the beer drinkers at least, but we kind of stood out from the athletes.  I don't know how I always end up at sporting events, but if this trend doesn't end soon, I'm either going to start wearing a burka or stop eating all together.

Luckily, most of the attention was on Ruslan.  You will remember that this was our first day with a fully functional walker.  We both just loved it.  Ruslan, because he could walk on his own and ME, because I didn't have to carry him everywhere.

What I didn't realize was how much attention that boy would draw in his walker.  He's small, he's cute and he's very, VERY loud.  The walker sort of clanks when he lifts it.  He tends to veer left (his right side is stronger) so every few steps he lifts it to get straight again and there is a little "clank" as it hits the floor. Then there is the squealing.

He and Will have this habit of squealing in delight.  All weekend long, they would squeal whenever any aspect of their view changed.  Walk in the door?  Squeal.  Turn a corner?  Squeal.  Enter the elevator?  Squeal.  Exit the elevator?  Squeal.  Squeals carry well in cement buildings.  Outside was no better.  Virginia Beach is made of cement.  The boardwalk is cement and there's a huge line of hotels made of cement with very little space between them.  If you stand on the boardwalk facing the hotels and talk, the sound comes right back at you.  If you stand on the boardwalk, facing the hotels next to a shrieking child, the shrieks come right back at you.

To make matters worse, we had all recently seen the play "Annie" in live theater near our house.  It was extremely well done and Ruslan loved it. He loved the theater, the story, the sets and the songs, which he memorized. Once that boy gets a song in his head, it's coming out for at least a week, no matter what. 

So, believe it or not, all weekend long, Ruslan was schlepping along in his walker clanking every few steps and singing, "TOMORROW, TOMORROW, I LOVE YA, TOMORROW!  YOU'RE ONLY A DAY AWAY"  in between squeals of delight.  It was like being a ring leader for my own little traveling circus with Ruslan in the center ring.  Will was always right next to him, tottering like a drunk and trying to keep within touching distance.  The rest of the kids were lined up somewhere between me at the rear of the line and our next destination, weighted down like pack mules with bags, blankets, snacks and the large tent, since the circus train had obviously broken down. 

Everyone stared. 

All day Saturday the runners were arriving.  Saturday evening there was some sort of "carb loading" dinner so the lobby was packed.  Sunday morning was full of runners at breakfast and as we went out to the beach, I realized it was going to be a day long event.  I found out later that there were 24,000 participants.  (  It took forever to cross the boardwalk to get to the beach and even longer to get back across.

I got a few photos as we were waiting for a break in the stream of sweating humanity. 
I keep thinking there's a fundraiser lurking in here somewhere, if only I could figure out how to exploit it.
On the way back to our car, Ruslan decided he wanted to "run" along with the runners.  You can't see it, but the words, "TOMORROW, TOMORROW..." are banging off the sides of those buildings, coming back across the runners and smacking everyone in the face. 

I'm used to getting stared at.  Surprisingly, this is NOT because of my striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie, but rather because of my resemblance to Betty Crocker.  The Crocker Co. made her out of a composite of average female facial features and they re-paint her every few years.  Apparently, God made me using the same formula.   When I venture into public, people frequently see me, pause, take a second glance and then the more outgoing ones ask if they know me from somewhere.  In that one weekend alone I was  asked if I attend -- -- church, if I went to such and such high school, if I was a "Deane,"  and if I was a member of a certain singing group out of Culpepper.   I've learned to just say, "No, but don't try to figure it out.  I have a generic face. Everyone thinks they know me."

I thought that was an unusual weekend, but now that I have Ruslan and the walker with me, it might be the beginning of a trend.  On Saturday in the grocery store parking lot, after explaining (again) what church I attend, someone gave $5 to Ruslan for "working so hard" in his walker.   I told him "no" twice, but he finally just handed the $$ to Ruslan who had NO IDEA what it was and walked away.

If this keeps up, I  may just go with it.  We're poor, disabled relations.   You can leave donations on the windshield.


  1. You do have a familiar face actually. It is not because you look like Betty Crocker or because you look generic though. You look good, silly! Maybe God made you approachable for a reason. You never know what sort of impact you have on a stranger.

  2. Isabel is quite fond of shrieking, too, especially in any place where it can echo. Happy shrieks, but shrieks nonetheless. At least it's not like the angry shrieks from when we first brought her home. We referenced the shrieking eels from The Princess Bride quite often.

  3. I'm squeling with delight right along with your shriekers!It's amazing what stamina Ruslan had with the walker considering he spent most of time prone! All of our TOMORROWS should be as exciting as his TOMORROWS!

  4. we prayed for walking, he walks, now God said SEE THEM RUN!!!