About Me

My photo

Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Running Towards an Immutable Truth

"Uphill"  --Picture by Stefan Jansson
 
Copyright © by Ralph F. Couey
Except for photo and cited quotes
 
I love to read. Unfortunately, my busy schedule doesn't leave me much time to delve.  However, one place I can go and be guaranteed a few minutes of uninterrupted peace are the...um...facilities.  I'm sure I'm far from being alone in that department.
 
I was at work when I found a copy of a magazine oriented towards runners -- not 3-to-5 milers like myself, but really long distance folks, half-, full-, and ultra-marathoners.  Myself, I've been running regularly now for about 15 months and have gotten to the point where I feel guilty for skipping a day, even when my Achilles acts up.  So, I was idly flipping through the 'zine when I came across a page full of printed tweets about running.  One of them caught my eye.
 
"Never make a decision going uphill."
 
It took a bit of digging after I got home to find the source of this captivating piece of wisdom, but I was able to track it to a fellow named John Burton who is the "pacer" (no, I don't know what that is) for ultra-marathoner W. Caitlin Smith. 
 
Anyone who has taken on the challenge of running (not on a treadmill) should immediately be able to relate to this statement.  I run primarily the streets, sidewalks, and occasionally, trails in and around the delightfully sublime village of Vienna, Virginia.  I've mapped out about 9 different routes, ranging from flat and easy 3 milers on the W&OD trail, to 5.5 milers through the attractive "Leave It To Beaver" neighborhoods.  Vienna is a hilly town and as a result these courses tend to take on the character of a roller coaster ride.  While it's nice to go downhill, at 58 years old, I find that my joints will only allow me so much speed, hence my pace tends to be a glacial 12- to 13-minute mile. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Becoming an American



Copyright © 2013 by Ralph Couey
Words and photo, except cited quotations.
Americanism is a question of principles, of idealism, of character:
 it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.
 — Theodore Roosevelt
About 10 years ago, give or take, our son fell in love.  In the experience of raising children and turning them loose on adulthood, this is something that can only be described as inevitable.  While stationed in Seoul, Korea with the Navy, he met a charming young lady with a dimpled smile and a delightful laugh.  She struck a spark somewhere deep inside of him, making him aware that he had an empty space in his heart, a space only she could fill.

I guess you could say that it was there that he found his...um..."Seoul" mate.
In the years since, Yukyung has become as honored and loved a daughter as the three we already had.  Their family has grown to include two children, a bright, effervescent, loving girl with her mother's dimples named Diana, and a smart, active, incredibly articulate and loquacious boy named Ian.  Robert and Yukyung have proven themselves to be a great team, having weathered some storms and celebrated joys as any married couple do these days.

Yukyung was born in Seoul, Republic of Korea, something she has always been proud of.  The Korean people, at least the southern ones, have accomplished a great deal in the industrial and economic areas despite a terrible and endemic problem with governmental corruption.  These achievements are fed mostly by a work ethic one has to witness to believe.  Seoul may not be high on many people's vacation lists, but if you want to be awed by a people and a country that few in the U.S. understand, or even know about, I highly recommend a visit.

She loves her homeland, as any of us would.  So it was a surprise when she announced to us that she was intending to become an American citizen.