American Past Time - $15.00

American Past Time (signed paperback) $12.99

American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

American Past Time (Ebook) $5.99

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Mary Bryan Cake

My daughter Christie is making me a Mary Bryan cake for my birthday today.

In the spring of 1961 our family took a car trip to Florida. We stopped in North Carolina to visit one of my dad's Army Air Force buddies.  Mr. Hurst had a daughter, Mary Bryan (the blonde on the tractor) who baked for us a double-fudge chocolate cake.  She gave the recipe to our mom and from then on for every birthday, holiday or family gathering Mom baked what we all called a Mary Bryan cake, but I'm told others know as Texas sheet cake. I like our name better.

When we were visiting Mom in the hospital last month for her 99th birthday my sisters and I started reminiscing about the Mary Bryan cake (it's featured in most of the birthday photos my dad took). We contacted my sister Carol in Arizona and she sent us the recipe, which she had rescued when we cleaned out Mom's house.

So today when Christie asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, I told her about the Mary Bryan cake and gave her the recipe.  I'm sure it will be delicious.

A few years ago, just after my dad died, my mom made her last Mary Bryan cake (we were moving her to Assisted Living). I asked her what happened to Mary Bryan and she told me that Mary Bryan had died in a car accident several years ago.

She had had a hard life, Mom said.  Bad luck with men. Drug problems. An earlier automobile accident she never really recovered from.  I'm not sure of all the details and now it's too late to check with mom to make sure my memory is correct.

I guess it doesn't really matter. For all of us, Mary Bryan will always be that sweet little girl on the tractor. 

A couple years ago I wrote a story inspired by Mary Bryan cake that was published in the Foundling Review. Here is the link to that story (it's only 500 words):

Mary Bryan Cake

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life Time Tri Marquee - Tempe, AZ - April 12, 2015

I opened my 2015 Tri season in my favorite location:  Phoenix.  I've never competed in a Lifetime Tri before and I was very impressed.  This was a well run race with lots of support - they even provided wetsuit strippers which is rare for an Olympic distance race. 

This was my first time riding outside since October, my first open water swim since September and my first warm weather run since Halloween so I was pleased with the results. That's probably enough excuses. It was a great day - not too hot - and there weren't any annoying hills like I had in California for my first race of the year. 

I was passed by a 61 year old (my age group) in the last 1/4 mile.  I cleverly decided to just stay a few feet behind him and save myself for the finish when I would burst passed him. Unfortunately he had sort of a similar plan and his burst was better than mine. I finished 4th in my age group but all the guys ahead of me were from Arizona so I think they had a home court advantage. 

Another really neat thing about this race is that they make all their race photos available for free. And while all my race photos look alike usually, these guys came up with some interesting new angles:

While this looks like the END it's really the beginning

Checking my watch after they stripped off wetsuit

Smiling for the cameraman

Not smiling so much at the finish


Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness Half Marathon - Sunday March 15, 2015 - Cary, Illinois

The race season has begun.  I was instructed by my coach, (Heather Collins, modeling the sweatshirt above) to treat this as a training run, not a race.  Since I ran the race with her I sort of had to follow her instructions. 

It was a good thing I did as the last half of this course has a number of hills (not something we have a lot of in Illinois) and by taking it easy for the first six miles, I was able to run the hills without difficulty.

Actually the downhill was more challenging than the uphill. We’ve been running hills on the treadmill so I was prepared for the incline, but we never really practice downhill which uses a lot of different muscles. 

This is a really nice course – and it was perfect weather – sunny and in the 40s.  There were over a thousand runners this year and it is strong field.  I finished 18th in my age-group with a time of 1 hour 52 minutes. 

Looking forward to trying it again next year. 

Next race:  Lifetime Tri – Tempe Arizona – April 12, 2015