Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Memory//Always Kiss the Tiki Statue

Hi Friends!
My students are busy getting ready to write their first narrative paragraphs.  I'm teaching them about topic sentences and answering the 5Ws and the H.  For some, narrative writing comes easy;  they are natural storytellers.  For others, narrative writing is extremely difficult.  I often bring in writing samples for them to critique.  They like it best when I write something for them to comment on, so I wrote this paragraph last night for today's class.  Feel free to critique it in the comments.  : )

I am not a suspicious person by nature, but the next time I’m told to kiss the Tiki god statue, you better believe I’m going to do it. It was September 2006 and I was in Santa Cruz, California participating in The Big Kahuna Half Ironman. I had successfully completed the 1.2 mile swim in the frigid waves of the Pacific Ocean, where every time I had raised my head to site on the landmarks, I had heard the barks of the sea lions who beached themselves on the wooden supports under the peer. The thought of sharing the water with those loveseat-sized creatures pushed me to reach the shore as fast as I possibly could. After a quick change out of my wetsuit and into my bike shoes, I rode 56 miles up and down Hwy 1 over the biggest hills I’d ever been on. The up-hills were excruciating, and the down-hills were a bit terrifying. Training on the flat roads of north Texas did not prepare me for what it was like to go down a hill at 32 miles per hour. I pretty much just tucked my head and prayed that I would not have a blowout. The final phase was the run; 13.1 miles up the bluff and back down to the beach, where I would run across the sand to the finish line, grab my lei, and bask in the glory of my big accomplishment. The run up the bluff was just about as fun as it sounds. At the very top of the bluff, there was a hefty eight-foot Tiki god statue that we were told we needed to kiss for good luck. By the time I reached the turn-around, I was pretty much done with “playing triathlete”. I wasn’t really in the mood to smooch, so I gave him a friendly side hug. The next thing I know, I’m feeling pain. I hadn’t made it more than 20 feet past the Tikki god when my foot started hurting. I slowed down to a jog. It still hurt. I tried walking, but that hurt worse. With 6.6 of my 70.3 miles to go, I knew I was in trouble. I had 6.6 miles standing between me and the finish line, and I was not going to let that Tiki god bring me down. Needless-to-say, my pace suffered. People I had passed way back on the bike portion now passed me on the run. More than one person asked me if I was okay. I kept going, cursing that darn Tiki god statue every step of the way. By the end, it took everything I had not to cry. With about a half-mile left to go, I spied my husband on the course. He had known something was wrong. Of course, the moment I saw him, all the pain and frustration and anger at that wooden statue came pouring out in sobs. Like a scene straight out of a bad Lifetime-for-Women movie, John put his arm around me and promised me he’d get me across the finish line. We must have been quite a sight, run/limping across the sand together. At the very end, John let go of me and watched me cross the finish line into the waiting arms of the EMT’s, who immediately sent me to the emergency room. I still have the finisher’s medal I earned that day. It’s hanging in my closet. Every time I pass it, I swear I see that Tiki god statue smirking at me. I’ve retired from running since my foot surgeries, but if I ever happen to find myself on that bluff in Santa Cruz, I will not pass up the opportunity to give that Tiki god a big, wet kiss. Better safe, than sorry.


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