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Darrell Huckaby - 04/05/09

A couple of years ago my lovely wife Lisa and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary. Anyone who spends a quarter of a century with me deserves a medal, but Lisa didn't get one. I did, however, take her to Henderson's for supper. I was going to treat her to a movie at the Moonlit Drive-In, but it had been closed since before we even met.

Hey, it's the thought that counts. OK. I'll admit it. I don't do anniversaries well - or at least I didn't do that one well.

My friends, Julie and Phil Kimble, though - now they are a different story. The Kimbles are celebrating their own silver anniversary this week, and, unlike Lisa and me, are doing it in style. They are in Paris. The one in France - not Kentucky. Now that's romantic.

Julie, who teaches with me, has been telling me about their trip for a while and I happen to have their complete itinerary for today. You may find it as interesting as I did.

They flew to Paris Friday night and are staying near the Arc de Triomph. Their plans for today were to get up early this morning, which came about six hours earlier than it did here, and begin their tour of the City of Lights at the Arch. I have seen the "Triumphant Arch," which has welcomed victorious armies led by every great general from Napoleon to Patton, and it is quite impressive, to say the least. There are a lot worse places they could begin their day.

They will then head down the Champs Elysees, which is sort of the main thoroughfare of Paris and before the day is done will have seen the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Place de la Bastille and the Eiffel Tower, will have crossed the River Seine a few times - and will have seen many, many parks and some of the more isolated wooded areas of Gay Paree. Paris in a day. And what a day it will be.

Julie, as I said, has been really excited about the trip - especially today's adventure and has filled me in on all the details. I don't mean to get too personal, but she even told me what she intended to wear.

Don't let your mind go there. We aren't talking satin and lace. We are talking about stay-dry absorbent athletic wear - long sleeves if it's cold, a tank top if it's not - with tights and Asics running shoes. Yes, I said running shoes.

Julie Kimble is running today in the Marathon de Paris, in honor of her 25th wedding anniversary _ and has talked her husband Phil into running with her. Or maybe it was the other way around. Whatever. They are both running, along with 35,000 of their soon-to-be closest friends.

A marathon, y'all. That's more than 26 miles. And you run.

I wouldn't run 26 miles if I were being chased. Let's face it - I wouldn't run 6 miles if I were being chased. Even if I could. Come to think of it, I can't even think of anybody I would chase for 6 miles - much less 26.

Running and I just don't get along, and I can't imagine why someone would do it for fun - although Betty McBrayer tried to explain it to me one day.

And if I were going to punish myself by running 26 miles, I think I would just jog on over toward Monroe instead of flying all the way to France for the privilege of abusing my body for a few hours - or ever how long it takes to run a marathon.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not being critical of my friend Julie. Just the opposite. I am in awe of her - and Phil - and wish I had the stamina and persistence, not to mention the creativity, to come up with such a unique way to celebrate such a significant event. And they probably wouldn't consider driving halfway across the country to watch Georgia play football, either - so different strokes for different folks. Besides, Julie is ready. She has been training for months and months. She runs almost every day and eats all the right things.

And this ain't their first rodeo, either. I asked her, specifically, and she told me that she and Phil celebrated their 20th anniversary by running a marathon. The Marathon marathon. That's in Greece.

I asked her how she finished and she answered, about like Pheidippides. (In case your history is a little rusty, he was the dude who ran 26 miles - and 385 yards - from Marathon to Athens, Greece, to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. He died when he got there.

But Julie didn't die in Greece five years ago, and I am confident that she will do well today. And what a story she will have to tell her grandchildren.

In fact, she has inspired me and on my next anniversary - in December - I think I will take my own wife to Athens. We won't run, though. We'll drive. I will, however, let her order extra onion rings and the large size frosted orange instead of the medium.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.