I’m pleased to announce that I now have the COVID booster coursing through my body. As soon as it was recommended, I knew that I would jump into line. Unfortunately, a nasty cold caught me by surprise and so I waited until last week to get the job done. I had planned to join the line at Pleasant Senior Center, however, my schedule got scrambled, so instead I signed up at Ridley’s. 

While I had an appointment, many folks waiting were walk-ins and the friendly pharmacy dealt with us expediently. The shots here never hurt and so I felt relaxed – or as relaxed as one can be with an impending jab in store.

One tiny poke, a 10-minute wait, and I headed out to complete a list of errands and get back home. By evening, I sensed an ache in my arm, nothing serious but a definite indicator that preventative action was taking place. I had to sleep on my opposite arm, but that was manageable, and I snoozed fairly well. 

The following morning, a little more soreness spread across my upper arm and I felt extreme tiredness and a bit of achy feeling. Having planned for a reaction, my day zipped by as I dozed on the couch, read a little, and then dozed some more. By 8pm, all discomfort had vanished and I recognized that the rest had done me good and that I was about back to 100%. And by morning, I felt awesome. In fact, I had to wonder if I had really ever felt bad. 

At any rate, hurray! I am set for fun. I realize that I may need a mask indoors, especially if it is crowded, not knowing who in the room might be a carrier, but that is no problem. I always carry a mask on my pocket – or sometimes two or three.

I share this to express my elation that science and medical research work and because of this, my life can inch back to normal with visiting, traveling, and catching-up in plans.

In other news, I have been reading some wonderful books. A favorite and one that just about everyone will love is Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall. 

The author and his wife, Mika, tired of the rat-race of city living move to Pennsylvania Amish country with their daughters. Deciding that their little spread needs some animals they begin to adopt including the story’s main focus, Sherman, a donkey. Rescued from a hoarder’s home where he stands knee-deep in mud and muck, with clumps of ratty hair, and hooves that have foundered, Sherman is one sad fellow when led to his new home. After brushing, trimming, good food, and much love, Sherman reacts positively to his new environment especially with his best friend, Lawrence the goat.

During the bonding of donkey and Chris, Chris learns about an old mining days 13-30 mile race in Colorado, where a donkey loaded with mining gear and his guide run up rough trails, ford creeks, tramp through forests and rangeland and then sprint back down to a roaring crowd. Deciding that this is event provides a perfect challenge, the family begins a training routine while also adding two more donkeys, Flower and Matilda, to the herd. With these three imaginative names, who wouldn’t want to part of the excitement?

McDougall details many side tales, but I loved every one. From fascinating characters to descriptions of the Amish lifestyle to training donkeys for long runs to special interest stories, my brain brimmed with knowledge. I appreciated how animals helped hurt individuals heal and how paying attention to animal signals can help us avoid pitfalls and problems. I loved the determination of all – the characters and the creatures.

An opportunity that resonated with me is a half-marathon held in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. I called my sister Jackie who has wanted to go to Philadelphia to suggest she mark her calendar for dates next September, as I have plans for her. She’s a sport and agreed to my adventure. I had considered cancelling distance running because of the amount of training and the potential crowds, but this one sounds idea. With about 2,000 participants I won’t feel squished and a route that rambles through the hills and farms of this area, what could be better? Well, two things. First, the medal is a horseshoe and the end of the race includes a complete, home-cooked Amish meal. I’m in!!