Well, it has been a while since I have posted on this running blog. All is fine and I have not been hurt nor have I quit running. It is just I have done nothing really running related at all. I am just going to workouts and going through the motions of some pretty easy stuff just to get my legs back underneath me. I am getting ready to reload for a spring marathon and another run at the 2:21:59 goal.
Unfortunately, my grandfather, Guido Carrara, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 92. Trust me, those are not all highway miles. He was born in Wallingford, Vt shortly after his immigrant parents arrived from Italy. We buried him next our departed grandmother, his wife of 58 years, not a mile from where he grew up, and only a ¼ mile from where they married. Here is a picture from his head stone in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. I could not think of a better place to spend eternity.
One of the many interesting things about gramps, he was one of the few people in this world who could say “I started with nothing” and it was true. You would not even have to know him to know what type of life he had. Just shake his hand, and give it a little squeeze, then you will think you just put your hand in a vice. He had the grip of a hydraulic press. A little game my brother and I used to play was to try and make him say “ow” first. Let’s just say he took an undefeated record to his grave. We played that game until my grandmother got sick and I was about 19 when we stopped. That was one of my first recollections of actually pushing through pain. One visit over Christmas vacation I did not want to say ow and I had tears in my eyes it hurt so badly. Guess who caved? He and his brother Joe started a concrete business with a horse and trowel. Now, it is a huge business with three plants, 40 trucks, and has its hands in every bridge and foundation in VT.
After a spell, gramps sold his part of the concrete business to his brother and started his own contracting business. I think he left concrete after WWII or Korea. He never talked much about the wars he was in but he did have a sweet German Luger that was a blast to shoot in his sand pits. He built houses and barns from the ground up. He would dig the foundations, pour the forms, frame, roof, wire, and plumb. Most all of the barns are still standing today and you have probably seen some of them in those scenic VT postcards that are so popular. They were post and beam construction with hardly any waste. He would dig the foundations with his horse and a skid. All the rocks he pulled out he would use for the footers and foundation walls, then mortar the rest. He was the hardest worker who ever lived, and I will argue anyone that point until closing time. I was only a young boy when he was doing a roof at a site I was visiting, I watched him take four bundles of slate shingles up a ladder like he was taking an escalator. Try to taking a single bundle of slate shingles up a set of stairs and you will have a great appreciation for how strong he was. I used to love going to his work sites and walking around on the foundation planks and helping him uncoil wires and knock the form ties off the foundations. He was not a guy to mince words either, so beware of screwing up on his site. Gramps knew how to make a buck and it was not through wasting your time fixing things that should have been done correctly in the first place. He would work circles around the contractors of today. He would take one job at a time and see it through until it was done. He would survey, quote, and do it. If he missed his guess, he would never ask for extra money. He never wrote contracts, just said “$600 for that barn, you will have to paint it.” Then he would shake and that was as bullet proof as a contract written up by the best lawyers.
Yep, he was loyal to the core. He never left my grandmother’s side or thought about putting her in a community when it certainly would have been easier for him to do so. He folded up his business, took care of her full time, and kept her home.
We were up in beautiful Rutland, VT for the services and gathering. The entire family flew in from all over the country. It was great to see all my cousins again. They came from Arizona, Michigan, Alaska, Illinois, Vermont, and Massachusetts. One of my cousins is training for marathons as well so we had a lot to talk about. Of course he lives in Juno Alaska so the training is a bit different. He may come out to Boston and stay with us for the Patriots day weekend and the race.
Well, this was not exactly typical Easy Gait material, but I hope you enjoyed the story about my grandfather from Vermont. I bet he is in heaven right now making improvements. He was a loved husband, father, warrior, worker, and a great grandfather. I will miss him a lot.