Tuesday, May 13, 2008

REFLECTIONS: Let Loose The Dogs Of Francis Lewis Boulevard.

Last week, I embarked us on a journey from well back before I started running as an art. There are several stories out there that need to be told. Some good, some bad, some tired and old. But all memorable.

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Some of the memorable walks that I did were the ones I did from my school to my home. St. Francis Prep is located at 6100 Francis Lewis Boulevard, Fresh Meadows to 130-38 229th street, Laurelton, NY. The walk was over 5 miles long.

I walked and/or jogged it several times. Except one time it wasn't even a jog. It was more like running for my life. Some parts of the neighborhood that I walked home through were quiet, but others were drug havens, gang infested, and just not a pretty scene for me or anyone that was alone. I guess in a sick, twisted way, I not only knew this, but I still did it so to FORCE myself to run as fast as I could. Looking back, it was a good training regimen.


(the neighborhood was so bad, that even
the chihuahuas were shooting up!)

I cannot recall the date, but it was cold outside and had begun to snow halfway to my destination. I was on Francis Lewis Boulevard, about a mile south of Hillside Avenue near where I once had lived when I was just 3 years young (208-08 100th Avenue, Hollis, NY).

(this photo taken Jun 69 at that house. Dad's on the roof doing God-knows-what out there...)

At this point I knew it was time to pick up the pace. Especially because, duh, I wasn't wearing any gloves, and had no hat either. I was carrying my Blue SFP Terrier duffle bag with the red handles on it. I loved that napsack. Long after HS I used it whenever I went partyboat fishing off of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. We finally parted ways after the bag developed an unremovable fishy smell that could not be removed. It was deposited in a trashcan somewhere in Knapp Street. Heh Heh. Nap sack on Knapp Street.

As I was nearing my destination, I started hearing some dogs barking. Figuring it was behind a fence in some neighbors house, I just kept on walking and paid no mind. However, the barking intensified. In the distance, I saw not one, but three dogs (and I'm not talking about the rock group either) just hanging out in the road, and chasing each other.

Uh Oh. I thought. How do I do this? They were directly in front of me. Conventional wisdom would have had me detour to the next block. But I was very unconventional. No one walks 5 miles home from school, in a snowfall of all things. So, I decided to keep walking and tempt fate.

To my surprise, I started hearing snarling. But it wasn't so much the sound that startled me but the eminating location. It came from behind.

I turned around, and it was big. I think a German Shepherd? Shit, I used to own one when I lived in Hollis. His name was Charlie Brown. Except this dog was no peanut, and I think I was beginning to look like his Beefsteak Charlie instead.

I started walking briskly. Now, the dog behind me captured the attention of the other dogs in front of me. They started barking at me. In a quick moment, instinct took over. I started running. Man, I would love to have had a Garmin 305 then. I can only imagine what my 200 split would have been. I ran as fast as I could, but the dog behind me was very close to biting my leg. SHIT!

Up ahead, the dogs started to run as well....Towards me!

I only had one choice. A turqouise blue Dodge Dart that stood between me and the dogs ahead.
I lept onto the trunk, and nearly slipped off the back windshield as I climbed desperately to the roof of the car. I still remember to this day, my fear of that stupid black vinyl roof collapsing (despite my 100 pound frame). The dog behind me actually swiped at my ankle with his front paw. He actually connected, but fortunately I was wearing thick Nike socks
(Nike, I want the commercial NOW).

It was the longest 20 minutes I ever spent on the roof of a car. Shit, I think it was the only time I ever spent any time on the roof of a car! The dogs finally left, and when they did and were clear out of site. I lowered myself onto the street, and ran pretty fast the last mile or so home.

I never thought of this before, but as I am writing this, I now wonder......Did the picture of the SFP mascot, the Yorkshire Terrier, which was standing up with his paws at his waist, stir the German Shepherd's attention? Oh, no!

A runner was born that day.


DGA said...

A) Running does not mean risking your life. it should be fun, not a stressful experience.
B) Being a runner does not require to be stupid. You don't run alone in NY neighborhoods that are more ran down than you after a marathon race in La Paz, Bolivia.
C) A smart runner, when training, carries a long lead stick which has a dual purpose. First it gives you more weight, which you will no have during the real thing; and second it does wonders when trying to defend against road dogs, whether Jets or Sharks.
Finally, and this is only my outrageous opinion, if we don't take action against animals in the city, that roam freely making us climb up car roofs, there will be one day when animals will take over until we move out to the jungle or the forest to get away from them. Our priorities are totally screwed up!

DGA said...

Your father was up in the roof fixing a crack!