The Finale–December 12, 2008, 12:05 p.m.

I posted a mini-report about the finish yesterday, but the battery on the computer went dead before I could get it published.  The mini-report was lost.  Sorry.  Below is the full version.

I looked in the dictionary for the right word for my arrival at the ocean in Mission Beach.  Finish is not right because the journey is never over.  There really is a “what’s next?” regardless of our plans.  “Grand finale” is not right because I did not feel the “climactic.”  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives the definition of finale as, ” the close or termination of something: as a: the last section of an instrumental musical composition b: the closing part, scene, or number in a public performance c: the last and often climactic event or item in a sequence.”  That sounds about right, especially the “of something” and “item in a sequence” part.

Merrie arrived on time Thursday and we rented a car for the next few days.  It’s a red Chevy HHR.  We drove to the home of my cousin and his wife, David and Cheryl Lampley for the night.  It was good to see them and we sat up and talked a couple of hours before going to bed.  We did not set the clock and got up about 7 a.m.  David helped us load the car and we headed out for breakfast.  After a huge breakfast (more than I have been eating)  we drove over to La Jolla and checked in the Scripps Inn.  They were expecting us and let us check in early so we could get started toward Mission Beach. 

I found myself dawdling.  I had no focus and no desire to get started.  One of the things I felt the urge to do was check my email.  There were several of congratulation and one from a State Farm agent in nearby Encinitas.  An online account of my journey had just come out this morning on the State Farm intranet site.   Dale Long had read the report and realized that the finish was this morning and emailed to see if he could help.  His email was only written 10 minutes before I opened up my email.  Merrie and I did not have a ride back from Mission Beach or anyone to take pictures.  I call the phone number Dale provided and and he agreed to do both.  Again, the story of this journey happens.  The carpet was rolled out for us.

Dale and I had agreed on a time for our meeting in Mission Beach.  Now we had to get moving.  No dawdling from here on out but no hurry either.  I wanted to enjoy these last few minutes.  Merrie and I began walking south on La Jolla Blvd and when the side walk was wide enough we would run side-by-side.  At other times we would walk holding hands as we often do any time we are together walking.  Not far past Bird Rock we come to Mission Blvd and turn right.  Another mile and we make the last turn and reach the boardwalk that will take us the rest of the way.  We alternate running and walking and enjoy seeing lots of other runners and walkers.  I could not see anything ahead that would identify the finish until we were right at it.  Three people were ahead obviously taking pictures of us.  We ran up to them and I could then see the roller coaster that I had picked out as the spot where I would go to the ocean and end the trip.  We meet Dale along with Mike Morrell, a San Diego State Farm Agent, and Gena Stephens, an Agency Field Executive.  We all exchange greetings.  We then walk to the Pacific Ocean where I wade knee-deep and lots of pictures are taken.  Lunch is mentioned but I’m not ready to leave yet.  We chat awhile and I put my shoes back on.  Then we discuss lunch and Mike knows a good Greek place near his office.   The five of us go there and Gena treats us to lunch.  Afterwards, Dale drives us back to Mission Beach.  I had forgotten to get a couple of bags of sand.  He drives us to our motel and we say our good-byes.  It has been a good day.

And it is only half over.  Merrie and I spend the rest of the day relaxing and seeing La Jolla.  The ocean is nice here.  There are rocky cliffs as well as a sandy beach.  People are enjoying the beach and there are seals on the rocks.

There is no question that the last day should be dedicated to Merrie.  I have said some of this before in my journal but they need to be said again.  I am very fortunate to have Merrie for my wife for lots of reasons.   The one reason I will write about here is the freedom she gives me.  We both agree that love should set us free, not constrain us.  That does not mean that we have no responsibility to each other.  On the contrary, love with freedom makes the responsibility more keenly felt.  We each allow the other the freedom to be ourselves and pursue our individual dreams and goals.  By doing this journey I have liberally used the freedom her love allows me.   During the time I have been gone, she has kept our home going.  I now feel deeply the responsibility to return and continue my role as her husband.  She tells me how good I am to her.  I am going to work very hard now to show her how good I can really be.

Thank you Merrie.  You are the best.  I love you.

Pictures are posted.

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