Monday, October 20

Sole Mates

When was the last time you stood in lines like this for a porta-potty?Or slept in a pink tent in a sea of pink tents?If you participated in the Philadelphia 3-Day walk for breast cancer, you did these things -- as well as walking 60 miles -- this past weekend. This is the fourth year I've been involved with the Philly event -- the second time I've participated as a walker.It was fun to view the event from the route. I saw many aspects of the city that I've previously only witnessed from the road. We walked past crew boats rowing along the Schuylkill River as we trooped up the East River Drive (Kelly Drive).We walked through the city, even through City Hall. We walked the West River Drive, enjoying views of the art museum and Boathouse Row.And all along the route,the support was amazing.Along city streets and suburban lanes, folks came out to cheer and share warm trays of brownies.Young and old came out.Without the crew . . . without the hoorays . . . without the high fives . . . and the woos . . . Well, my under-trained legs and feet just wouldn't have made the journey. It was the love and the commitment and the smiles and the tears and the brownies that carried me through the 60 miles. It was my sole mates.
I love you guys.


  1. a great reminder of what is important and what is fluff... thanks for the pretty reminder... bravo!

  2. WOW

    been thinking about you
    in the pink

    xox - eb.

  3. Amazing commentary, Leslie.
    A wonderful way to show your support. You have more than sole, you have SOUL.

    xo K

  4. You GO, Pink lady! What a worthy cause! And I do know what you mean about your body not being trained for it. One time I organized a bycicle ride for St Jude's Hospital, and I found muscles I never thought I had. But it is all WORTH IT, right! xox, Isabel

  5. Dear Revolving Artistic Circles In The Sky:

    There is a sign on a street corner (at a busy intersection) in Philadelphia, that reads, “Walk with light.” And that’s how I envision Stiffie during the Three-Day Breast Cancer Walk, bringing light with every step toward a goal that will forever eliminate a vicious darkness for women. My vision of her walking is based on memories -- hikes in the mountains, walks on the streets of Paris, and meanderings through the Little Big Horn on a trip out west.

    At the end of Day One, I imagined her fatigued but retaining the buoyancy of a cork afloat in a sea of champagne. At the end of Day Two, she would have the slightly hesitant step of a pilgrim, driven by the faith in her cause and a fervent prayer that porta-potties would suddenly become jacuzzis. And on Day Three, the triumphant Stiffkins, battling shin splints and aching knees, crossed the 60-mile point -- with a look of personal vindication in her eyes, tempered by tears of compassion for breast cancer survivors and for those who walked for loved ones now gone.

    She limped into the car, kissed my cheek, and said, “I did it.” She flashed the smile that has made me write a million words, and pushed a few wayward strands of hair back into place. Then she told me about the hot brownies rushed to the street by a kindly woman along the route. She spoke of the silly pink hats, the huge pink eyeglass frames, the outlandish pink outfits, and the pink hair that united thousands of women in an unbroken, moving statement of purpose that stretched across 20 miles of urban Pennsylvania for three straight days. She detailed the efforts of those who couldn’t take another step, and who were cheered by hundreds as they boarded buses.

    And she told what it was like to cross the finish line -- to be cheered by those who had gone before her -- and to take her place honoring those who followed.

    Yet there is a pragmatic side to Stiffie as well. On Day Three, she passed a neighborhood saloon filled with pink-clad walkers lined up at the bar. She smiled and trudged on... To the lunch point, where cheery carb-filled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches awaited the walkers.

    “I turned back and joined the crowd at the bar,” said Stiffie. “There was lots of cheering in there too!”

    There are said to be saints who were uncorrupted by death. Stiffie is uncorrupted by sweat. Her perspiration-soaked sweat shirt has the scent of a perfume sampler, heated by the warmth of her conviction and her strength of purpose. Sitting next to her in the truck is like being introduced to a fifth season, where the promise of spring, the warm of summer, and the spice of the fall all run together. In my mind, I feel somewhat unworthy. I do not voice this sentiment for fear she will agree with me.

    Many men supported the Three-Day-Breast Cancer Walk by taking their place in the long pink line. I cooked. I cooked dinner for my motorcycle riding club -- the Mac-Pac -- who donated $1,445.00 to Stiffie’s overall breast cancer contribution.

    Years ago, “The Police” did a number that began with “Every little thing she does is magic.” That’s Stiffie. I find it hard to believe the woman I adore is well-known to “The Police.”

    The Significant Other Parasite Who Lives At Stiffie’s House, But Whose Vote Counts Less Than Two Dogs, Five Plants, And Millions of Dust Mites

  6. Wonderful pictures of a most worthwhile walk.
    Looks quite an adventure.
    I linked to you on my blog today - since my theme was blue and tan
    all best wishes

  7. Bravo, bravo, bravo, Leslie! What a fantastic accomplishment!

  8. Dear Leslie,
    Thank you for walking in the glorious 'Pink' event, for sharing your photos & memories. The friends I know who have participated in other states, left soulfully touched like you.

    Thinking good thoughts for you, your family and the furry babies too!


  9. Leslie,
    GREAT! for you! what a beautiful sea of pink!


  10. Great walk, great cause, great city. Thanks for sharing and well don 60 miles is a long way. I think I'd have to sit down for a week.

  11. Leslie: My tootsies are SO proud of yours. What an incredible feat (get it?) you have accomplished! I am truly in awe of you and your committment to helping others.

  12. Congratulations on an incredible accomplishment. "Pink" walkers rock!!

  13. Leslie,

    Yet another reason I love you... your thoughtfulness, and compassion call you to action, to do that which we all know is a great help to every woman, everywhere. You're my hero!

    xoxo, Dede

  14. I did the Portland, OR event a few years ago, and it was the most inspiring, empowering, emotional event I've ever participated in! Congrats to you for crossing the finish line!! Awesome!!

  15. the best picture of Boat House Row I've seen! Great pics - wonderful effort - so proud of you and Lee. Has she posted too?

  16. wow! this is amazing and beautiful!! and your photos are marvelous! thank you!

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