Honest! It really did. In the late 1970s, my then-husband was involved with the Institute for Human Fitness, an institute that was part of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (now UNT Health Sciences Center). A group of men—nope, no women—used to meet in our living room on Sunday afternoons. It so happened that a friend was living with us at the time, and while those men were in the living room piously discussing health and fitness, we were in the kitchen fixing the richest, most decadent desserts we could think of. Things like Italian Cream Cake.
I still remember one of the men—the one my friend eventually married—standing in the kitchen, plate laden with cake and ice cream, asking plaintively,” Isn’t there any diet Coke?”
Planning went on for months, as you can imagine. Because I worked for TCOM at the time, doing pubic relations, and I had some experience in that field, I was on the Cowtown committee. I well remember the night before the race. Sleet began to fall about ten. What my ex said at the time is not printable, but it amounted to sleet was the last thing he wanted.
Next morning, incredibly early, I bundled four children into my car and headed for the North Side on truly ice streets. (For several years, the races all began in front of the Northside Coliseum instead of downtown as they now do.) My children, all now safely grown, will tell you that I turned them loose in the Stockyards. They reassure me these days that they were safe because there was always a big gang of kids who wandered around together. If I recall correctly, I didn’t see them until late that afternoon. The thought gives me great pause now—what kind of negligent mother was I? Especially since I think the youngest, Jordan, was three. I like to think her siblings took care of her.
For me, I remember it was a heady day, flitting here and there, dropping in frequently to an RV sent by a radio station and chatting with the hosts. And in the afternoon, there was the almost climactic awards ceremony.
The kids and I loved those marathon days and treasure the memories to this day. After my ex and I divorced, I continued to work the marathon for a year or two, but it was different, and I was an outsider. I quit.
Both my boys became runners. Jamie, the younger, has done several marathons and triathlons. I think Colin has done half marathons, but not a triathlon. But I’ve never been able to interest either in the Cowtown, which I thought they might do for sentimental reasons. Colin tells me there’s an Iron Man in Fort Worth this spring, and he’ll do that. Meantime, I treasure our T-shirts from that first year. There was some debate whether their dad or their Uncle Charles was the model for Cowtown Charlie on that shirt
Tomorrow morning, the marathon runners will go right past our house. If I can, I’ll cheer from the front porch. It brings back a lot of memories.