‘Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more’
In My Life (Lennon/ McCartney)
While the Committee Run took place, held the Sunday before the Boilermaker for those who need to work the event but want to get their finisher’s pin, I was on the course. Well, sort of.
Actually I was down at Boilermaker Park (located behind the brewery next to the Polish Community Center) cleaning up the brick Boilermaker Course.
For those who have never seen there was put together a miniature Boilermaker course (sorry, it’s flat) comprised of thousands of individual bricks. For $30 people can buy a brick and leave a message that will probably outlast their time on this planet. Check out boilermaker.com under the Boilermaker Store tab.
Back to being in the park-why do I do this?
Let’s jump into the time tunnel!
Two years ago I received a rather irate email from an out-of-towner who stopped by the park to view the brick she bought in memory of her Mom and found the writing nearly unrecognizable due to encroaching weeds and upswept grass. Down I went and sure enough the park was a mess, the grass that had been cut seem more akin to hay.
As I wielded my trusty ice scrapper to drive back the greenery the names slowly emerged. It became a task that was mixed with laughs and tears.
I encountered names of people involved with the race that I had forgotten about.
Some notable bricks:
Near mile 1 4/5ths from Nora Romero- ‘Meet us right here!’ So I wondered was I supposed to meet Nora at this brick or 1 and 4/5ths along the course?
At left corner near the one mile marker ‘Walk on me now, But see us run over you-CFMD’. This was one of the ones that make me laugh.
At the half mile mark ‘Peter Fraser 9/54-9/93, Meghan’s Dad’. Peter was one of my best friends growing up and was felled by Cancer at 39 years old. Meghan currently works at the brewery, multiple connections. This was the one that brought the tears.
I checked out the block of bricks located near the start representing ECR (Utica Radiator in the old days). I found the names of my deceased parents as well as my immediate family.
In the end the bricks are a hodge podge of memorials, self congratulation, honors, and pure fun.
It’s sort of a shame that the day the park will see its greatest amount of visitors, the Post Race Party; the bricks will be obscured by people standing on them.
So after a couple of hours of work the Boilermaker brick course was looking pretty good. There is a certain amount of self- satisfaction when you look back and see the work you have done really made a difference; sometime in the office it’s tough to tell.
This has become my tradition.
This is truly hallowed ground.
I’ve attached a couple of photos of the ‘course’ as well as a cement chair built in memory of F.X. Matt. Some of his clothes were actually a part of the structure- I guess it proves he was willing to give the shirt off his back for this community!