THIS IS US

The Only Time I Ever Saw My Grandmother Run

She ran at me

Daniel Williams
Published in
6 min readNov 13, 2022

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I recently discovered a big difference between children and grown-ups:

Children run whenever they get a chance, and grown-ups don’t, even though grown-ups control the world and could run everywhere and always.

I’m not talking about running for exercise, which psychologists have proven is bad for your psyche’s knees. I’m talking about running for fun. Not chasing fun, not fleeing death, not attempting to round out the buttocks. The fun is in the running, and the fun is the goal.

Go to a family reunion and you’ll notice the grown-ups are acting like planets, their movements graceful and predictable and relatively slow, while the children zip around like liberated space trash, using the gravity of their ponderous relatives to slingshot their way into higher speeds.

A few months ago, one of my nephews asked me a telling question:

“Uncle Dan? Can you run?”

He wasn’t inviting me on a run. He was asking if I’m capable of running, asking if I can do better than my top speed, which is angry walking.

In other words, he’s never seen me run. And this means I haven’t run in the presence of the family in nearly a decade.

By the time I’m a grandparent, I’ll be like my grandparents: a runner only in family myth.

For example,

  • The time Grampa Fred ran to catch an evil dog who was flying through the air toward my father’s face.
  • The time Grandfather Edgar ran from a dead bear. He found it at the dump, full of trash and very dead. He ran to vomit.
  • The time Grammy Nancy ran to beat an evil pig with a board to stop it from killing all the other pigs, as one does in Maine.
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But when it came to Grandmother Lucille, there wasn’t even a myth about her running.

So, as a child, I thought it impossible. The fastest I’d seen Grandmother move was on the porch swing, and even then…

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Daniel Williams
Human Parts

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.