While I never saturated myself in A Christmas Story, and I missed the endless marathons of back to back showings cable channels indulged in, I’d seen it and enjoyed it. I knew most of the story line and found the restored house didn’t miss a detail. There was Lifebuoy soap in the bathroom and the blocks on the shelf in the boy’s bedroom spelled out “Oh Fudge.” And yes, that’s me holding the Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time. While holding it I could hear my mother’s voice saying “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
But this visit might never had happened. My original suggestion for this trip, the first time Matty and Aaron met, was that we ride on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath. It would have to be a short ride, because Matty was recovering from a near-fatal auto accident nine months before and hadn’t ridden a bike for a couple of years before that. Fortunately, Aaron had a better idea. He suggested the short hike in downtown Cleveland and subsequent trip to the A Christmas Story House, and it turned out to be the perfect day for the three of us.
At times I get caught up in the idea that more is better, and I constantly have to be doing more – riding longer and harder, hiking further and faster. But losing weight and becoming active means celebrating the small as well as the large. When I was 400 pounds I couldn’t hike six miles, but I couldn’t walk a block either. Spending a day walking around with friends, climbing steps, is as much a reward of changing my life as my century in 2007 or any mountain I’ve hiked up. That is the major award, becoming active. And unlike the lamp in the movie, it’s not fragile.
By the way, if you want to turn a group of middle-aged men into snickering twelve year old boys, let them pose with the leg lamp.