Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | April 24, 2010

Always Faithful

I spent a lot of time thinking about my father today.  Today was my scheduled “long walk” according to my training plan, and in deed, it ended up being longer than any others so far.  Most of it was through the neighborhood I was raised in, and so, on my solitary return, I had lots of time to visit with the ghosts and memories that dwell there.  

My dad was a Marine.  I want to say my dad IS a Marine, because as you know, “once a Marine, always a Marine,” but my dad passed away in 1995. In our household, the love of Dad’s life was absolutely our mother, and then after that, he loved his children most of all.  But Marine blood ran in his veins.  I mention this, because my father was one of the many children of that century who had been devastated by polio.  One of Dad’s legs was half the diameter of the other, all the way down.  I will always hear, in my memory’s ear, his halting step.  In today’s Marine Corps, new recruits start training in running shoes because even the best of the best of today’s youth are not tough enough to start in combat boots, but that was not the case when  my father or my brother were in boot camp.  They started and continued their running in combat boots.  These men were tough.

Today, as I was walking, I thought about my dad.  The water is in the ditch, now, and it reminded me of the many times my dad, lovingbrotherBill and I walked the ditches looking for wild asparagus for dinner.  And lots of folks were burning their fields, so the scent in the air reminded me of helping Dad do that, too.  Then, walking down Hiberta, past my old grade school, I had a flashing memory of a time Dad took me in the putt-putt, which was an old scooter with a big, deep box on the front.  Imagine a man in khakies, wearing a khaki colored ballcap, driving a scooter with a plump little blonde girl in the deep box.  I see that girl’s blonde hair flying, and probably my tongue was hanging out, just like a dog hanging out a car window.  Such joy!  I cherished my walk today, because of the memories it brought.

You know, my dad didn’t choose to be crippled by polio, but he did choose to not let it stop him from serving his country and serving his family for the rest of his life.  Bob Heinle didn’t choose to be shot and paralyzed in the service of all of us in Missoula, but he did choose to not let it stop him.  He kept on moving, kept on serving.  So, I guess I can choose to keep on moving, too.  One foot after the other.  And perhaps my efforts will bring more donations to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, who uses the money to find a way to help all people who are dealing with life-changing and heartbreaking spinal cord injury.

Dad, you who believed so strongly in service, please help me stay always faithful. Semper fidelis, my father, semper fidelis.  
Your aging, but still blonde and plump daughter.

4/21 – 1 hour speed training with walking class
4/22 – 3 3/4 miles and Pilates class at Lifelong Learning Center
4/23 – 1 hour Nia class with Jody at DDC and 2 1/2 miles
4/24 – 12 miles in 3 1/4 hours, the first half with the RWM Walking class
Weight – 190 pounds



  1. Hi Little Sister

    It was pleasure itself seeing you wave at me while you were striding by.

    I see in your training log that you have put in four training days in a row. May I suggest that it is time for a rest day. Remember that your training days are basically tearing down your body. It rebuilds itself and adapts to the over load on your rest days. So put in the miles but schedule in rest and rebuild days as well.

    You are plumbing the depths of your soul and you like what you see.

    Your lovin Brother Bill

  2. Great tribute to your Dad! Here’s to him… and to my father-in-law Mac, who enlisted in WWII as a teenager. Because of his experiences in WWII, he made damage control exercises on ships his mission.

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