I came across a picture of my grandfather from World War II. It captured a moment when he was in the ‘chow’ line during a training exercise (I presume) back in 1942.
My grandfather always affiliated himself with the Air Force. In this photo though, he was clearly part of (what was) a tank unit – therefore, the Army (not the Air Force). Not something he referenced before. I first came across this photo years ago. Then, I should have asked my grandmother about it, but I didn’t. She passed before I thought of asking again. My family didn’t have the story behind the picture. It would seem it is lost forever.
Stumbling on this picture again recently got me thinking about lost stories. So, I thought I would take a break from The Little Prince and start here, to share, on occasion, some of my more random stories. I do this for my children. There are many stories. Their desire to seek them out may only arise after I am gone, here then is where they can find them.
Each season I change out my seasonal gear for the next season’s activities. As well, I adjust my routine to accommodate the longer (summer) and shorter (winter) days. Adjustments are necessary with the kids being home from school, holiday time off work, and the travel required to get to the activities that I engage. For this spring and summer I was thinking to add rucking to my fitness routine. I thought to set it as a weekly or daily activity, and maybe invite family, friends, and community to join me. I thought I might set a weekly time to start sharing my rucking routine and see who shows.
This consistency and this activity got me thinking. Specifically, about an experience I was given as a going away gift from my American friends when I left Miami – Running with the Raven.
Robert “Raven” Kraft
On 1 January, 1975, Robert “Raven” Kraft started running 8 miles a day on South Beach. There is a lot more to this story, but this 46-year streak is impressive enough on its own. He hasn’t missed a day since 1975. He has had to be creative on occasion – hurricanes, sickness, and most recently, the pandemic – regardless, he hasn’t missed a day of running in 46 years.
People started joining him and a community has built around him and his runs. The Raven takes the time to talk with all his runners and gives each a unique nickname; which is then recorded and posted on his website. There are over 3000 unique nicknames he has bestowed over the more than four decades since he began. So, what was my nickname?
I was nicknamed Maple Pie – a clear reference to my being Canadian, and a discussion about pies while we ran. If you find me on the register, you will see that I completed both the 8-mile run and the 1/3 0f a mile swim that was also being recorded at the time. Not sure if it still is.
There it is. A little story that many don’t know. Of all the gifts, and memories of my final weeks living in, and working with the US military, the guys that got me to South Beach to run with the Raven knew me well and arranged the perfect event. One of these gentlemen I also ran the Keys 100 with – 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West; but that story will follow this.
It starts then, this week. Not sure yet which day of the week, nor time, but this week I will ‘ruck up’ and walk for an hour. I’ll let a few know and hope to have company at some point. Until then though, don’t let the stories of those you love slip away. I missed the opportunity to ask and find out about my grandfather’s service during World War II. A sad loss, but a lesson was learned – to live each day and add to your story, to say yes and show up, to converse with your family and friends and get to know their stories, and to live and share your story.
If you find yourself in Miami why not get a run in with the Raven. He’s nearing 70 years of age. Who knows, he may run another 30, but you don’t know, so go and selfishly grab those moments, build your story, and ask questions of those who’s story you want to know.