Boilermaker Blog

A Walk In The Park


A couple of weeks ago I received a less than complementary e-mail concerning the general condition of Boilermaker Park. For those unaware, we have constructed a mini-replica of the Boilermaker Race Course (sorry, no hills) comprised of bricks located on a city-owned property behind the brewery. For a fee, people have a brick engraved with a message that becomes a permanent fixture of the ‘course’.
On Memorial Day I wandered down to the Park armed with various lawn implements of war to do battle with Mother Nature.
The grass/ weeds had begun to slowly encroach on the outside portion of the brick course. This was a big problem because virtually all the message bricks are located in this area rendering them only partially readable. There was only one solution; a vigorous attack with the edging tool also known as the ice breaking tool at the Reed household in the winter. Slowly, under the blazing sun, the bricks revealed their words to me. Their messages were as diverse as the people that make the Boilermaker happen. There were names of people. Many I knew, most I did not, all of them now literally a part of the course. I came across one of my best friends, Peter Fraser, who passed away a number of years ago and whose daughter will be running her first Boilermaker this year. These bricks shared the sheer joy in accomplishing many Boilermakers or perhaps their first. One of my favorites exhibiting some self pride;’ I have met my hero and she is me!’ The use of a simple brick can be a loudspeaker for their love of the race, our city or a special fellow human sent a powerful message to me. If you have a chance, visit the park on Boilermaker Sunday or perhaps some other day. If you don’t see someone’s name you know you’ll at least ‘meet’ someone has exhibited the Boilermaker spirit.
As I trudged back to my car with a couple of screaming blisters on the palms of my hands and a spreading warmth on the back of my neck signaling a nice case sunburn I had a smile on my face. In a small way I had paid tribute to those ‘warriors’ of that battlefield we call the Boilermaker; this was a memorable Memorial Day!

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