To celebrate the 75th birthday of Curious George, University Libraries at Southern Miss and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection issued a challenge called Go, George, Go. Since the H. A. and Margaret Rey literary estate is housed in the collection, it seemed appropriate for them to host the event. Participants were challenged to walk or run 75 miles in an eight-week period. Prizes were offered.
Never a runner, but a consistent walker all my life, I began as a child with my father. His visual handicap prevented his driving, so he spared Mama trips as his driver and walked anywhere he was going within a reasonable (or to some an unreasonable) distance. He set a pretty good clip, and I felt honored that he would let me, but not my sisters, go with him. I could keep up with him. To be honest, that ability might have been because I was the oldest, and I never saw any burning desire on their parts to join him anyway. Continuing the habit as an adult, I will walk a considerable distance rather than drive around looking for a parking place. Loving Curious George and his companion with the yellow hat, I joined up. Seventy-five miles in eight weeks? Piece of cake!
On November 12, my daughter-in-law and two youngest grandsons joined me at the culminating big party for George at the Hattiesburg Zoo where the prizes were handed out. The group of participants logged in 19,000 miles. An award went to the one with the most miles (489.91) – not me. A second prize went to the one who participated from the farthest distance (Reno, NV – 188 miles) – again not me. The third prize went to the one with the most experience (a euphemism for the oldest participant). My two grandsons were thrilled that Grandma won a prize! I clocked in at a respectable 112 miles.
The only downside was when the three-year-old discovered that the banana on my prize wasn’t real.