Mile Marker 339.9:
In the past 15 years, I've crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge by car, train, foot, bike, and skate.
But in reality it's just a quick trip from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. On the other side of the bridge lie Philly's closest suburbs. Shopping malls with free parking. Restaurants. Homes of good friends.
Early Wednesday morning, my dad and I headed over the bridge to consult with a doctor recommended by prosthetist Tim.
As we drove, I lamented that I was "stuck" on Mile 339. In 6 days, I'd walked fewer than 5 miles total.
But as we ascended that giant bridge, our conversation stopped for a moment.
Just long enough for my mind to travel back to a frigid, sunny day in January 2010. The day my colleague Casey and I chaperoned a crew of wide-eyed third graders to the New Jersey State Aquarium.
Casey and I dispatched our hands and voices to keep the kids tethered to the sidewalk. Without us, they'd have surely blown away in a gust of excitement.
When the subway train screeched down the tracks, the kids covered their ears with their mittens. But then the doors opened, and (much to our relief!) they marched aboard.
“We’re in ANOTHER STATE!” the kids cried.
Their exhilaration steamed up the train windows. So much release – so much JOY – in being far from home.
Well, the longstanding joke in Philly is, "Who'd really pay to go to New Jersey, anyway??"
|339.9 took me|
After a morning in the doctor's office, a stop at the radiology lab for x-rays, and at least 4 U-TURNS thrown in for good measure, my dad and I hit another South Jersey special -- Ponzio’s Diner.
It was then I decided I'd had enough. Mile 339 had dragged on for days. Comfortable or not, I was ready to take the leap into the 340's!
My pedometer rolled over -- I'd hit 340.
Inside, I chowed down like I'd run a 5K.
Yes, New Jersey is another state, but the trip took only 20 minutes. All I had to pack were a pair of shorts and some alcohol spray so I could remove my prosthesis at the doctor’s office.
In two short weeks I'll be heading to Florida for my cousin's birthday. It's just a weekend trip, but there's much to do to be prepared.
|Ponzio's interpretation of|
uncomfortable travelers :)
The tasks cue up like travelers ahead of me in the airport security line.
I used to be a seasoned traveler. I want to be again. I tell myself it'll only get better with practice.
Kind of like TURNING LEFT in New Jersey.
I wish I could soak up the newness like those excited third-graders.
They’re in fifth grade now. You’d be amazed at how tall they are. But you’d be more amazed at how often they still talk about that train ride over the bridge!