Lots of good will and maybe one small spill*

(* With apologies to Dolly Parton, lyricist & singer – “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”)

SAS (San Antonio Shoemakers) hosted their 21st annual  Siesta Valley Ranch Walk today (10-9-2010, hosting thousands of participants at no fee.  T-shirts and a free bar-b-cue meal (with sides) await all those who arrive at the finish line. Participation in this event is a long- standing tradition in our Son-in-Law’s family; we were  introduced to this three mile (or six mile – hiker’s choice) walk/hike  through  beautiful ranch land in the Texas Hill Country three years ago. The vistas are gorgeous, the beautifully groomed horses make me ache to ride at least once more and the buffalo herd pastured along the walking course are simply majestic.  It is a working ranch, so the trails can be a bit rough, steep or rocky (or all three at once.) Also, as it is a working ranch, one needs to keep a sharp eye out for the cow patties while enjoying the cliff faces, valleys and lush green pastures , or face a good clean-up session 🙂

 My first ‘Ranch Walk’ (with Tom & Thomas,  joining three generations of Moores)  was o the 19th annual walk (2008) ~ for me, it was a blatant challenge to the double amputation surgery (already scheduled)    of all ten toes. All family members caravaned to the ranch (about 10 miles west of Medina, TX and started the walk together. I successfully completed the hike with my leg braces, cane and Tom’s sturdy arm, but I definitely slowed down the parade! 

2009 was the 20th Anniversary walk, and Tom III was the only Blackburn presence. Thomas was working an abysmal job with outlandish hours, and I just plain goofed!  I soooo much wanted this to be my “Victory  Walk” (post-surgery and extremely mobile), but had committed myself to being a facilitator at a  state-wide  Community Education convention before I knew the date of the Ranch Walk and felt obligated to keep my promise 🙁 

This year, all three Blackburns were able to attend, and we arrived at the ranch ahead of the Moore clan. Making the walk together (and watching rapidly growing grand-daughter Sara and her cousins enjoy the wide-open spaces while still within parental view)  are a special part of the walk, but I knew we needed to start the walk ahead of them. The surgery has done amazing things for my mobility, but I’m a bit wobbly right now and knew I would hold everyone else back.  Turned out that was a good plan. I handled rough terrain pretty well, kept a death grip on Tom on the loose & rolling gravel parts. . . .and about 2 miles into the walk (striding along on turf beside the main path) I took my mind off of what I was doing for a moment. Yep – flat out fall, stopped by my left ring finger catching on something (rock? tuft of turf? Who knows!) and my left arm!  Took a .5 inch by 3.5 inch strip of hide off of my left elbow and forearm, and bruised both knees!  That was the moment I was glad my Sara was somewhere behind us and unable to see Grandma do a wipe out! I got back up (with the help of both Toms and a gentlemen also sporting a cane (His comment was “If it hadn’t been you, it would have been me!” – sweet) and finished the final mile. . . . .then made a ‘pit stop’ at the on-duty ambulance for a clean-up and a gauze wrap to hide the messy patch from young Sara!  Fortunately, the relative size of a bandage hasn’t occurred to her yet, so it didn’t raise any alarms:)

I had a wonderful time, and the experience also convinced me that my legs & ankles are way too weak. It’s time to look into well planned physical therapy to turn this around! Oh, another HUGE treat. . . .Thomas won the dice toss at the end of the walk!  Since he is more a fan of younger-style footwear (and has no need of a purse), the certificate he received will buy me a much-need new pair of black SAS shoes!!!!  (They’re the only ones my orthotics will fit into!)

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