Saturday, April 19, 2014

In the Ghetto

The question, as I can see it, is not so much about whether or not you will die, for everyone does, but whether or not your life will have an impact.

71 years ago today, on the eve of Passover, German troops entered the Warsaw Ghetto to complete the elimination of the Jewish population there.

The leering Germans and Polish Collaborators pushed into the ghetto, determined that the angel of death would not "passover" this time.

The resistance lasted for a little less than a month and led to the death of most of the residents and the systematic destruction of the area. But, the battle did help inspire the country, including a 4 day period when the Polish Flag and the Zionist flag flew over the besieged neighborhood in direct defiance of the Nazi plague.

A little over a year later, the rest of Warsaw fought the Germans, partly inspired by the Ghetto Uprising.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


In December of 2012, I ran that half marathon with a buddy of mine. 2:05 is not too fast of a time, but I was in the best running shape I have ever been in. I was able to keep that condition for a few months, until one day in February.

I was hiking with Ethan and Emily and wore some shoes that I probably shouldn't have, with too high of soles and no ankle support. I carelessly landed my foot wrong at a spot about a mile up the trail and my ankle twisted like a pretzel. At least it felt that way.

My foot immediately went completely numb, like it had been squashed under my body in some weird fashion for hours, and my ankle exploded with pain all the way around. When I tried to put weight on it, it seemed more like a dead fish on the end of my leg than my foot.

Ethan immediately began to loudly brainstorm ways that his mom or Grandpa could come save us. And he kept going and going, until his sister and I finally asked him, less than politely, to refrain from speaking.

All I knew was that I was not going to call 911 for help, regardless of the injury, since they would send our Departments Search and Rescue Unit out after me. I would rather crawl down the hill than have to face them on Monday after they had dragged me off the mountain, thank you.

Fortunately, I had my "Israeli" bandage (pictured above) in my water pack. You can cinch that thing up pretty good and, doing that, I was able to hobble the rest of the way back down to the parking area.

I took a few days off work, then headed back in with my boots laced extra tight. But, it took several months before I was able to start running much any again. And even then, my right ankle was so much weaker and prone to turning than my left.

The good news is, after more than a year, they finally feel about the same and I am working on my running a little again.

The bad news is that five miles, as I rediscovered today, feels a lot different than it did in December of 2012.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Forever Young and an old memory

In 1984, Alphaville released the song "Forever Young".

According to Wikipedia, that font of all information, -  "Forever Young" has become something of a pop culture standard. It has been performed by numerous musical groups and in different versions and has appeared in television series, movies, and advertisements. The song plays during scenes in the television series Passions, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (episode 103: "Underage Drinking: A National Concern"), the North American version of Queer as Folk (season 1, episode 18), One Tree Hill (season 4, episode 16), 30 Rock (season 4, episode 10), Greek (Cover version by the Youth Group in the Series finale) and Big Love. It also plays in the movie Listen to Me and during the school dance scene of the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite. In 2006 and 2007 the song was used in advertisements for the Scandinavian banks SEB in Estonia and Sweden, and Nordea in Denmark. It also appeared in prom-themed advertisements for Saturn Ion automobiles.

I had never heard of this song, until I was in 11th Grade Science Class with my friend, Craig Allerheiligen. I don't remember exactly what they taught us in this class, except for I think we cut up a frog. I do remember the teacher being constantly unhappy with Craig and I, because we always enjoyed talking with each other, instead of listening to whatever lesson was being presented.

Craig and I had been friends for a few years. I had been out on the sailboat with him and watched as his dad tried to haul him up the mast to undo some knots. That did not turn out well.
 I had hung out with him at the library during endless sessions trying to do "research" for some report or the other.
 I had spent the night at his house watching dumb shows on cable tv until late into the night.
 I had hung out with him during parties he had at his house and ran down to the haunted house with him a block away where we would talk about the people that had died there and what went on inside of it.
We spent time together in youth group and choir class talking about God, girls and whatever else came to mind.
I even remember running back and forth to Derek's house across the street with him and Jody's house next door.

But most of all, I remember him singing "Forever Young" in the middle of science class in the 1lth Grade.

It was maybe a year after that when Craig was in a motorcycle accident that led to his death.

And now, whenever I hear that song, I think of Craig. He will be, to me, Forever Young.

Here's an article about the latest recipient of the scholarship named for him.

Here is the song, Forever Young. If you knew Craig, think of him while you give it a listen.