Some weeks back, my friend Kat said, “Let’s do the Koman walk.” I had done it with my mother way back when it was new and so horribly organized that I swore I would never do it again.
But 21 years is a long time. Remember? The Pirates had a winning season. Cell phones were the size of bricks. Things change. Plus I enjoy Kat; she’s fun.
So I said yes and paid my $25 to register and got my T-shirt and number in the mail a few days before the race, which was yesterday. Kat drove us to Oakland, where we found a parking space almost as far from the starting line on Flagstaff Hill as the length of the walk itself. We had expected that. The P-G reported today that 25,000 people participated.
That’s all? I would have expected to learn that every possible stroller in the metropolitan area was on that course, along with stroller pushers who do not consider this walk a chance to exercise.
Kat has made this a yearly routine; she even did the one the day before with her mother in Washington, D.C. I admire her comitment. As we walked, trying to pass people who were walking five and 10 abreast , I read the backs of T-shirts, the names of people being celebrated and memorialized, friends and family of walkers who had had the big C.
As we walked, I thought of all my friends who have had breast cancer and survived — all of them. I thought of my grandmother, who survived it and died of a heart attack. I wish I had worn a T-shirt that named he and all my friends whom I celebrate, both as friends and as survivors.
As we walked, I thought about how I don’t do pink. Except in my garden, I recoil at so much pink. Is it the color of breast cancer awareness because girls are still pink and boys are still blue? Even though men can get breast cancer? Really?
I glanced at the seemingly endless ribbon of people behind us and at the seemingly endless ribbon of people in front and I thought about all the other kinds of cancer.
I wish there were 25,000 people turning out to celebrate the survivors and memorialize the victims of and raise money for the "cure" of at least some of those. Science has been good for breast and prostate cancer.
For a lot of other types, it's been a little, well, pokey on the course.
Quickly, I returned to a better mindset because after all, it was Mother’s Day. Without mothers and their healthy breasts, where would we be?