Archive | February, 2010

Pro-war? Maybe you should read Nick Arvin

February 27, 2010

0 Comments

Articles of War cover“Articles of War,”

by Nick Arvin

What’s it like to be in a foxhole when the enemy starts firing into your position?

What’s a like to be a scared 18-year-old private from Iowa in a shallow, mud-sloppy hole in eastern France protected by a couple of tree trunks over your head when the German Army begins its famous “bulge” during World War II’s Allied push toward the Rhine?

What thoughts go through your head when around you other soldiers are dying, when their bodies are blasted apart by explosions and their blood and pieces of flesh spatter your face?

Nick Arvin’s writing makes you duck your head when you read that the shelling is starting again. Along with the soldiers you pray for the booms and the shrapnel to stop. It’s writing so vivid you want to curl into the fetal position for cover.

“Now I want to take a poll,” a battle-hardened soldier calls out to his comrades in neighboring foxholes when the shelling finally subsides. “How many of you are still atheists?”

Frozen or driven by fear

“Hero” isn’t quite the right description for the protagonist in “Articles of War” because George Tilson, nicknamed Heck by fellow soldiers because he refuses to curse, is a coward.

Injured slightly in a non-combat accident, Heck is in no hurry to return to the front. Lessons in maturity happen while he’s recuperating, a love interest of course, and more realization of the horrors of war that may await him when he returns to the fighting.

All of which adds to the fear that at times paralyzes him, at other times pushes him to act less than heroically, and leads to being forced to do one of the most distasteful acts any soldier is ever ordered to do.

First published five years ago, “Articles of War” is a slim 178 pages packed with nerve-testing scenes. Arvin takes his readers not only into battle but into the mind of someone who might just be a lot like you and I in terrifying, irrational situations. The Doubleday hardcover is now out as an Anchor paperback.

Read it and you won’t help but think about what American soldiers must be going through in Afghanistan and Iraq today, and wish they were all home. — bz

Continue reading...

Paulist and U of M Newman can add to your Lent and beyond

February 23, 2010

0 Comments

Lent-Behnke cover

“Lent and Easter Reflections for the Younger Crowd,”

by John Behnke, CSP

Father John Behnke would make a great editor.

The Paulist priest has a terrific ability to condense Scripture readings to the meat of their messages, and that’s what he offers for each day of Lent, the Triduum and Eastertide for all three of our liturgical cycles. What is many verses in the original becomes 2-3-4 sentences in common, understandable English.

Packed into this 140-page Paulist Press paperback are these summaries of the readings, the Psalm and the Gospel for each day, a thought to reflect on from Father Behnke, plus two unique touches.

First there’s an unfinished prayer that invites personal completion. A sample is:

“Dear God, sometimes I jump the gun and blow things all out of proportion. Help me to keep a good perspective on life. Please help me to ….”

Each day also includes a thought from a college student, so the young readers this book was written for can get an idea of what their peers think about the day’s message.

Father Behnke was for several years chaplain of the St. Lawrence/Newman Community that serves the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and he invited students to add their voices to the work. For example, student Annette Johnson wrote this in her “My thoughts” comment about the Gospel story in which the Sanhedrin blast Jesus for performing a miracle on the Sabbath:

“Help me to not be such a hypocrite when it comes to people that I don’t like. Help me to stop having such a selfish view of my beliefs. help me to open myself to learning from others.”

I think you’ll find the comments brutally honest and touchingly personal.

A toe into the meditation pool

In the suggestions for using the guide, it’s pointed out that the re-written Scripture is a supplement to, not a substitute for, the readings contained in the Lectionary. “The author’s intent is an easy-to-read primer to help initiate the almost adult person into the joys and peace of spirit and mind one gains through personal contact with God that can be achieved by means of a structured meditation.”

The whole book is a great aid for anyone needing a useful tool to help get into the habit of prayerful reflection. This may be a worthwhile gift to someone upon their Confirmation, something that gets them started on a daily quiet time, time for prayer, reflection, a conversation with God.

And Father’s re-writing is so spot on.

Take his take on Exodus 20:1-7, better known as the Ten Commandments:

“One day God said to his people, ‘Here are some rules I want you to always follow:

1. Pray only to me because I’m the one who made you and saved you.

2. I don’t want to hear any of you swearing.

3. I want one day out of the week to be a special day for you. Don’t do too much work that day so you can relax and spend some time praying to me.

4. I want you to listen to your parents (even when you grow up) because they have lived longer and know more about life than you.

5. Don’t kill anyone for any reason.

6. Don’t fool around with someone you’re not married to.

7. Don’t take anything that isn’t yours.

8. Don’t lie about anybody.

9. Don’t always be wanting things that belong to other people.

All I’m really asking is that you ‘love me and keep my rules.'”

Although there are only nine re-written commandments, I still highly recommend “Lent and Easter Reflections for the Younger Crowd.” — bz

Paulist Press publications are available at many bookstores that sell religious goods and books, and are available by phone by calling the customer service department at 1-800-218-1903.

Continue reading...

Signs of spring?

February 22, 2010

0 Comments

I was greeted by a surprising sound on my run this morning — birds singing. For two months, it has been mostly silent except for the sound of cars and traffic.

The quiet was very nice, but I welcome these signs of spring. It won’t be long until my favorite bird starts sounding off — the wild turkey. In the meantime, I hope these songbirds keep greeting me with their beautiful melodies. I remember listening to them during my childhood. The one I always liked hearing was the cardinal. Its distinctive sound always caught my attention.

Same thing is true now of a male turkey’s gobble. Bird numbers in Minnesota have gone up steadily over the last 10 to 20 years, to the point that there are plenty of turkeys most everywhere hunting is allowed. I worried a little bit about how they’ve been doing with the cold and snow we’ve had this winter, but a wildlife biologist once assured me that, as long as they can find food during the winter, they’ll do just fine. With a higher amount of unharvested corn left in the fields, the turkeys have plenty to eat.

Needless to say, I’m getting excited about the upcoming spring season. What’s really cool is that this will be one of the first years in a long time that everyone in my family who turkey hunts will have a license this spring — my three sons, including William, who is going on his first turkey hunt, my brothers, Paul and Joe, and my Dad. Can’t wait to see how we all do!

Continue reading...

Don’t expect to learn about marriage from an author who thinks she’s written the book about it

February 19, 2010

0 Comments

Committed cover“Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage,”

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Since her last book — “Eat, Pray, Love” — sold 7 million copies, I hoped for something worthwhile out of Elizabeth Gilbert’s supposed “making peace with marriage.”

What a waste of time.

If she hadn’t been an author with a  recent success, I wonder if any publisher would have bothered with this 280-page memoir that’s part pity-party, part narrow-minded opinion-spouting, anti-Christian, too much about her birth family and not enough research about the marriages of real people outside her circle of friends or Third-World villages.

Dozens of therapists, priests, counselors and pastoral ministers have written much more useful works about the sacrament, and they didn’t have to consistently bash organized religion over and over and over in order to do it.

Gilbert’s obviously writing for those who haven’t use for anything so trite as religion or church. Her consistently going back many centuries to bring up outdated views held by some church leaders in the distant past gets annoying, especially when she rarely quotes the sources of the “facts” she’s spewing upon the public.

Selective history

She attacks the concept of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman, spending page after page proclaiming the rightness of her belief in same-sex marriage. She claims marriage hasn’t historically been between one man and one woman, but it took all of six minutes for me to flip through Paul’s first letter to the people at Corinth to find in the seventh chapter of his letter, “every man should have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.” That’s something he wrote in the first century, which to me makes one man, one woman marriage pretty historical.

Lord knows the Catholic Church through the ages wasn’t perfect, that abuses occurred, that religion was used for power by some. But Gilbert misses the point when she charges that churches are trying to “rule” when it comes to defining marriage; rather, churches and church leadership are working extremely hard to inform, advise and help society see the wisdom of one man and one woman as a relationship expressed by the word marriage, and that it is so much more than just a commitment.

Gilbert seems to get that when she finally works her way — painstakingly for the reader through her personal journey — to the contribution of a community to marriage.  There is a “collective accountability” about marriage that is supportive. As Gilbert puts it, “Maybe all our marriages must be linked to each other somehow, woven on a larger social loom, in order to endure.”

She seems to get it, too, when she makes the connection that a person can be happy in marriage because they know they are indispensable to somebody else’s life, because they have a partner, because they are building something together, something they both believe in.

Then she goes and ruins it again by male bashing — which I suppose an author is supposed to do in order to be published by someone like Viking and make it with the in crowd. Men, the claim goes, get more out of marriage than women do. What a one-sided, pessimistic point of view!

The world is bigger than Gilbert’s world

Perhaps it’s that attitude about “Committed” that bugged me the most. This is a writer who is so into her own world — her own issues — that’s she’s pulled together a bunch of research to fit her own views.

She’s ignorant of the views of one helluva lot of other people and makes leaps of judgement about the rightness of her own views.

My journalism professors in college would have graded work like “Committed” a “D” at best, marking it up in red with the questions, “Why so few sources?” and “Where’s your attribution?”

The single piece she writes that hit home was her analysis of the result of the intimacy of a long marriage: “It causes us to inherit and trade each other’s stories. This, in part, is how we become annexes of each other, trellises on which each other’s biography can grow.”

Other than that, isn’t until page 214 that Gilbert gives readers much of value when she quotes true experts on marriage — John Gottman and Julie Schwartz-Gottman — about conflict resolution.

My advice? Google Gottman and you’ll get good stuff on marriage from folks who one, know what they are writing about, and two, aren’t so self-absorbed as Elizabeth Gilbert. And, if you want to read a worthwhile memoir, try Patricia Hampl’s “The Florist’s Daughter.”  (see the review at http://bit.ly/cGydew) — bz

Continue reading...

Survey says…

February 19, 2010

0 Comments

I got a rare opportunity earlier this week to get paid for my opinions. After receiving a phone call from a friend about a market research study on hunting, I called the company doing it and said I would be interested in participating.

Turns out the company was putting together a focus group and was offering to pay $75 to qualifying participants. I was in the right demographic group, so I came in for a two-hour session.

There were about seven or eight other guys, all about my age, in the group and we were asked to give our opinions about different brands of firearms and ammunition. Most of the brands were in the hunting industry, but a few were in military and tactical.

It’s interesting to see how  intensely the various companies work to craft their brands and images. Guys like me don’t spend too much time trying to figure out what a particular brand stands for, but, it turns out, the companies themselves sure do. We were shown sets of pictures depicting various hunting scenes that had been used by companies to sell their products. We were asked what words came to mind when we saw the pictures.

Of course, the bottom line is: Does a particular company’s image make hunters like me more willing to buy its products. I’m not so sure it does. For me, it’s about finding the right balance between price and performance. I want equipment that gives me consistently high results, but is not ridiculously expensive. For me, it goes something like this: Let’s say I want a shotgun that will work for both deer and turkey and I find one for $500 that is rated an 8 on a scale from one to 10. And, there is another shotgun that is rated a 9 and costs $1,000. In this case, and most others like it, I would buy the $500 shotgun.

Same is true for ammunition. You can pay $50 or more for a box of high-end bullets that are said to give you 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards. I have stayed away from this stuff and gone with bullets  that cost only about $20 a box. But, they shoot well out of my rifle and I have taken three deer and an antelope in Montana with these rounds.

I think, in this economy, more and more hunters are thinking the same way I am. In fact, one of the guys in our focus group said he is out of work right now. I hope the companies pay attention to this and continue to strive to offer high-quality products at affordable prices.

I believe the type of shopping approach I take is what prudence demands. With so many other things competing for my dollars, especially my children’s education, I have to be very careful about what I spend on hunting. Actually, I’m spending the most money right now on tags, particularly, nonresident tags. In November, I paid $350 for a Montana either-sex deer tag. I ended up taking a mule deer buck, but I’m not sure I can afford to buy that tag again next year. I may go with the $80 antlerless whitetail tag, which I also was fortunate enough to fill on my November hunt.

In addition, I will continue to economize on gear. For example, I have a box of copper-plated shotgun shells for turkey hunting that I bought two years ago. It patterned so well in my gun that I was able to shoot three turkeys at distances ranging from 40 to 58 yards. That’s good enough for me! The same company that makes that ammo makes a load containing pellets made from a heavier material than lead. They pattern slightly tighter, but cost about three times as much. Though I like these shells, I don’t think I will buy any more. I have six shells left in this box and I will use them up and stick with the others.

Unless, of course, the company wants to provide me with free samples.

Continue reading...

Back in school

February 17, 2010

0 Comments

It has been a little more than a year since my friend, John Nesheim, had both of his feet amputated after falling into a ravine and getting stranded there for almost two days. Now, he is able to walk on prosthetic feet and is back in school charting a new career course.

He is enrolled at St. Mary’s University, which has its main campus in Winona and a smaller campus in Minneapolis. He started in January and is working toward becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). The program will last two years, then he will spend a third year studying for the CPA exam.

I marvel at how John has worked hard to move forward with his life and conquer the many new challenges he has faced throughout the last year. And, he has done everything with his trademark sense of humor. It was evident again when I asked him if he thought there was any connection between what he has gone through the last year and the season of Lent. The question came on Ash Wednesday. His witty reply was classic:

“I decided to give up my feet for Lent,” he said. “They just didn’t tell me that I don’t get them back on Easter Sunday… I kind of got gipped on that deal.”

Those who know John understand how deep his sense of humor runs, even when dealing with something as traumatic as the loss of his feet. His many wisecracks not only help him get through everything, but they help others around him who may feel awkward and not know what to say.

I’m thankful for our friendship, and I think that gratitude is part of Lent, too. When Lent is over, I hope to plan a spring wild turkey hunt with John. He has a special permit to use a crossbow in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and I think I have a nice place for him to hunt in Wisconsin. We’ll talk about that when we get together for breakfast next week. That would be cool to help John shoot his first wild turkey.

But, as he pointed out, if we fail in that attempt, we can simply stop at the supermarket on our way home and buy one.

Continue reading...

Do a Catholic deacon and his son have what it takes to canoe the length of the Mississippi?

February 15, 2010

0 Comments

MIGHTY MISS COVER“Mighty Miss,”

by Gary Hoffman

Deacon Gary Hoffman and his son  Darrin challenged themselves to canoe the Mississippi River from top to bottom.

The pair put in at Lake Itasca in northerm Minnesota dreaming that some 40 days later they would pull their canoe out of the water at Jackson Square in New Orleans. The year was 2002

Hoffman, an ordained Catholic deacon who in retirement still does part-time ministry at St. John the Baptist in Jordan, finally has published the story of this journey of a lifetime. And what a story!

Icy cold water, strength-sapping heat and humidity, gorgeous sunsets, terrorizing lightning strikes, scented spring blooms, scary whirlpools, cooling river breezes, wind-whipped waves, feed-frenzied walleye below, eagles soaring overhead, the occasional loon, beaver and great blue heron for company — and that’s just the non-human aspects of a 2,552-mile canoe trip down the fourth-largest river in the world.

River people are fascinating

Deacon Hoffman is obviously a people person, and the people that the father-son duo meet along the way make this as much drama as memoir, as much a statement on the nature of humanity as a travelogue, as much a how-to book on father-son relations as a how-to book about canoeing the length of the Mississippi.

There are the friendly couples, an eclectic collection of strangers, the helpful rangers, and what best might be described as “characters,” like the Bottleman, attempting to conquer the Mississippi rowing a craft designed entirely of plastic bottles.

“No doubt about it,” Hoffman writes, “the most important part of a Mississippi trip is the people — those we meet and each other. Mississippi books should warn travelers to set aside more time for people. Our goal of two months (to complete the trip) doesn’t allow time to truly know God’s greatest natural resource in the valley: river-people.”

But every drama must have it’s bad guys.

Lock keepers who don’t like canoeists, barge pilots who try to run over them and a nasty employee from the Corps of Engineers who spent hours trying to swamp the Hoffman’s 20-foot canoe — all made the journey more dangerous than it had to be.

No way an easy float

They added to what was obviously a physically demanding challenge, much more so for the then-58-year-old deacon than for his 27-year-old son. Muscle aches, numbness and a medical emergency requiring antibiotics became part of the story, but maybe not as persistent as the mental and emotional roller coaster of a father-son relationship under the stress of an enormous challenge complicated by danger, hardship and every-day life decisions.

Son Darrin had been married for just two months when he and his father launched on Memorial Day in 2002, leaving behind a new bride who understandably didn’t relish the idea of her new husband taking off on an extended trip without her — and a risky trip at that.

Toss in the confidence in himself as a strong, athletic young adult and mix it with the usual parental take-charge approach most fathers assume with their children — no matter the age — and the trip ended up being a consistent struggle of wills. The tension between the two eases but never disappears as the Hoffmans paddle as many as 60 miles a day, taking in both nature’s beauty and nature’s awesome power.

Spirituality always present

The deacon in dad Gary is always right at the surface along with his love of God’s creation. Floating with the Mighty Miss’ current brings “a taste of heaven,” he writes at one point, and soon after their canoe is “sitting in the middle, the starting point, of a loon chorus,” likening it to an evening newscast in the loons’ world.

Dirty, grubby and smelly from camping and paddling, Deacon Hoffman asks to use the restroom during a stop ashore, only to be asked to leave by a female employee. “She provides a gentle but firm reminder of how judgmental I have been,” Hoffman notes. “I am experiencing what must be very common for street people: fear and embarrassment on the part of the establishment.”

More often, however, encounters along the Mississipi are down right hospitable, even neighborly. When an Iowa couple opens their arms and invites Gary and Darrin to enjoy the comforts of showers, a warm dinner, comfortable chairs and congenial conversation, Deacon Hoffman writes, “Other than salvation, we may never receive a finer gift . . . human love.” For him, the people, the sights, the sounds and even the smells are God’s gifts.

The river itself he finds to be a healer and a harmer, and he turns the Father of Waters into a woman with picturesque analogies of a beautiful woman, a trickster, a comforter and a tease.

The best way to enjoy “Mighty Miss” may be to read a chapter a day, taking your time and journeying with the Hoffmans vicariously. As with most great reading, it’s a book I didn’t want to end because I enjoyed the reading so much.

Deacon Gary Hoffman developed and directed the Diaconate Formation Program for the Diocese of Crookston, MN. He later served at St. John the Baptist in Excelsior. Now retired, Deacon Hoffman is hitting the lecture circuit, showing slides of the trip down the Mighty Miss and doing book signings. The self-published paperback sells for $18.95. To order copies, to contact him for speaking engagements, see http://www.MightyMiss.com.

MIGHTY MISS COVER

Continue reading...

Saving Europe’s art during World War II re-opens a part of history that should never be forgotten

February 10, 2010

3 Comments

Monuments Men cover

“The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History'”

by Robert M. Edsel, with Bret Witter

In the middle of World War II, precious works of art — many of them objects of religious relevance — were saved by the efforts of a handful of soldiers. This is their story, one that really hasn’t been told before, and it’s a great read.

Many of the rescued art pieces were priceless and well-known in art circles. Others held value only to the townspeople who revered them. In some cases historic churches were saved; in other cases they were not, like the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. Some of the pieces were rescued from the hands of Nazi Germany’s thieving leaders; others were rescued from the bombs and shells of war.

Men from 13 nations, many of them volunteers, formed the new Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Allied force. They hunted for, found, and preserved for posterity pieces like Michelangelo’s statue, the Bruges Madonna, Vermeer’s The Astronomer and a Rembrandt or two or three.

One-time museum directors, curators, artists, art scholars and archivists became The Monuments Men, as they came to be called. Author Robert Edsel explained that their job was simple: “to save as much of the culture of Europe as they could during combat.” It was the first time in history that an army fought a war while simultaneously attempting to mitigate cultural damage.

From the first efforts to protect a remarkable 16th-century Renaissance church in Normandy, to finding boxcars loaded with paintings the Nazis stole from the French, to sleuthing out where Hitler had hidden an enormous cache of art work in an ancient salt mine in Austria, the Monuments Men did an invaluable service to not just the cultural heritage of Europe but all of human civilization.

Incredible amount stolen

The Nazis had gone so far as to take the stained glass windows out of the cathedral in Strasbourg, France. They had transferred so many art pieces to the famous fairy-like castle at Neuschwanstein, Germany, that it took six weeks to remove them all.

In the salt mine at Altaussee the Monuments Men made an amazing discovery. Deep inside that Austrian mountain the Nazis had hidden, well, here’s the list:

  • 6,577 paintings;
  • 230 drawings or watercolors;
  • 954 prints;
  • 137 pieces of sculpture;
  • 129 pieces of arms and armor;
  • 79 boxes of objects;
  • 484 cases of what was thought to be archives;
  • 78 pieces of furniture;
  • 122 tapestries;
  • 181 cases of books;
  • 1,200-to-1,700 cases apparently of books or similar items.

Edsel has done remarkable work here, piecing together interviews and documents to tell this story, one he calls “a footnote” in the larger story of the war. He allows us into the humanity of the Monuments Men as they discover that the Nazis are not only brutal warriors, amoral killers, but, at the highest levels, simply thieves.

Yet, despite his obvious passion for the arts and culture that were saved and make this story, what I admired most in reading this work was a few lines where he put the horror of Hitler’s Nazi regime into perfect perspective:

“More than sixty years after the death of Adolf Hitler, we still live in a world altered by his legacy…the lasting impact of his bitter reign is best measure in more ephemeral ways: fifty million loved ones who never returned home from the war to rejoin their families or start one of their own; brilliant, creative contributions never made to our world because scientists, artists, and inventors lost their lives too early or were never born; cultures built over generations reduced to ashes and rubble because one human being judged groups of other human beings less worthy than his own.”— bz

Continue reading...

New way to learn firearms safety

February 8, 2010

0 Comments

I was very intrigued by an article I read in the St. Paul Pioneer Press Sunday. It described a new way for youth to take their state-mandated firearms safety training — online.

That’s right. Now, youth can use their computers to learn about guns and how to handle them safely. This was a surprising development to me, but I guess I should have seen it coming. People of all ages, especially, kids, are using computers so much that it was inevitable that something like this would become a reality.

The course is offered via a website called HunterExam.com. Youth can go on the site and complete the classroom portion of the course. They still will have to take part in a field day that includes various demonstrations, exercises and .22-caliber rifle shooting. And, like the current classroom courses, they will have to pass an exam.

Although the course currently is available online, it is still under review by the DNR and won’t be accepted until approved by the state’s fisheries and wildlife management agency. According to the Pioneer Press article, it is expected to be approved sometime this spring.

It’s an interesting way to learn firearms safety, and I’m very inclined to try it with my son, William, who is about to turn 12. He won’t need it for his spring turkey hunt in April — his first ever — so I have some time to weigh my options.

One thing I like is the convenience. He will be able to work on his lessons whenever he wants to, and he can stay home to do it. Plus, I will be able to be more a part of it, as I will supplement the lessons with some hands-on activities with guns, ammo and other hunting paraphernalia. For dads who know something about firearms and hunting, this offers a chance to share that knowledge with their children.

I had  the chance to teach firearms safety to my two older children six years ago, but I haven’t taught a class since, and thus lost my certification. I had been considering getting re-certified in order to teach William, but, now, I won’t have to. Yet, I will be able to be just as involved in his learning process as I would have as a certified instructor.

I think this approach has both merit and potential. It takes advantage of a very important tool all youth use nowadays. So, I say, why not? While William and I work on this task together, I will be able to teach him more about firearms, and, hopefully, he’ll be able to teach me more about computers.

Continue reading...

Blister-free running

February 3, 2010

0 Comments

I hit the snow-covered pavement this morning at 6:15 to attempt a two-mile run. For the second time, I put on my new running shoes.

The first time I tried them, things didn’t go well. I went on a three-mile run last Wednesday, and I started feeling discomfort on the bottoms of both feet, specifically, in my arches. By the time I got home, the discomfort had turned to pain and I ended up with blisters on both feet.

I was very discouraged and went back to the store where I bought them, Run N Fun in St. Paul, only about a mile from my house. I explained my problem to one of the sales people, and that was the start of some great customer service.

The problem, I learned, is a common occurrence. Fortunately, there were two things I could try in order to have a blister-free run. One was a thicker insole to provide more padding. The employee gave me a set, free of charge. The second was friction-free socks. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but I was willing to give them a try.

Today was the day for the test. Rather than go for three miles, I decided to scale it back to two. That way, if my feet started to hurt, I wouldn’t have as far to go back home.

But, I did not end up having to cut my run short. I did not feel one bit of pain from start to finish. Of course, that means I will be able to go out and do it again. Tomorrow will be a walk, then another run on Friday.

I am very impressed with the folks at Run N Fun. When I bought the shoes back in December, the woman I worked with spent lots of time helping me find the right pair of shoes. And, she was able to find them for a reasonable price. Not only that, I got to try them out on a tread mill in the store.

The outstanding service continued when I came back to discuss my problem. The guy I talked to made it clear he would work to resolve the problem to my satisfaction. He said that, if the thicker insoles and friction-free socks didn’t work, I could exchange the shoes for a different pair.

Fortunately, that won’t be necessary. I am thankful it all worked out and thankful that I can shop at a store where customers matter. The folks at Run N Fun are serious about running and serious about helping people of all ages and interest levels. I am not a serious runner in terms of trying to go long distances or trying for fast times. I merely want regular exercise that will keep my body in good shape.

Thanks to the people at Run N Fun, I will be able to achieve my goal.

Continue reading...