Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dare To Go The Distance

 

...a phrase that President Biden used before we turned the corner of the pandemic. He reminded us that we'd come so far but needed to go the distance before letting up on safety precautions and the need to get vaccinated. We continue to go the distance as we emerge from the pandemic ever mindful that we need to take steps to ensure we are part of the prevention of COVID instead of the spread.

During our Father's Day conversation with our son, I momentarily forgot about COVID. We were making plans for celebrating the twins 34th birthday together. There were reminders that we still have more miles to go before we can cross the finish line of the pandemic. He hasn't been able to see a dentist and his partner Michelle hasn't seen her physician because of the pandemic. We were also mindful about how things have changed. In pre-COVID times, Autumn would not hesitate getting on a bus and coming into Boston but now he and Michelle need to work out logistics to manage a visit while tending to their farm and animals. None of us is ready to eat indoors at a restaurant yet. It was reassuring to hear Gayle King say that she was anxious about going to the theater when they covered the story of Bruce Springsteen's show reopening Broadway for the first time in 16 months.

My daughter and I have wanted to go for a swim but when we found out being fully vaccinated was not a requirement at our Town pool, we decided to wait. We are so close to the finish line!

I've been reflecting on words and phrases that we didn't know before the pandemic and the emotions that are associated with this new vocabulary:

Socially distanced  
Mask up  
Fully vaxxed  
Quarantine   
Lock down    
Phased Reopening     
mRNA technology   
Variants  

There were some incredibly rough miles during these past 16 months and there is still some uncertainty on the road ahead, but I fervently believe that we will go the distance in leaving the pandemic in the past.  

I've also been reflecting on my own journey of transformation and the analogy of life being a marathon not a sprint; a phrase often used by epidemiologists and leaders as they reference ending the pandemic and one that is apropros to my life in the wake of childhood paralytic polio and trauma. Nobody would have judged me for accepting the diagnosis and prognosis of Post-Polio Syndrome after all the challenges I endured. I could have decided that leaving my award winning career as a VA social worker and accepting the progression of accelerated aging as a result of the initial polio virus  would be the finish line of my journey in this lifetime.

Instead, I dared to go the distance and defy the diagnosis and my past to heal my life.

In Massachusetts, we are blessed with a very high vaccination rate. We are still mindful that we have not yet crossed the finish line, arms thrust in the air feeling victorious that the miles of the pandemic are behind us. We are close and my hope and prayer is that every individual chooses to dare to go the distance in caring for ourselves, our communities and our world choosing health and well-being, love, kindness, forgiveness and compassion.

From my heart to yours in health and wellness,

Mary 

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.




Sunday, June 27, 2021

Healing and Finding the Flow

 


 It seems as if we went from being in lock down and restrictions to party time in Copley Square in Boston with a Donna Summer Disco Party. Of course I am fully aware that it was a slow almost tortuous 15 months of uncertainty, but once May 29th happened and all the restrictions were lifted, there was a shift in our lives again as abrupt as when the lock down order went into effect on March 15 and Governor Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts.







 

I don't know about you but I have a little whiplash going from hearing stern warnings to people for gatherings at the beach last summer and businesses and restaurants adhering to strict restrictions because of COVID, to seeing a dance party in the street, runners swarming Heartbreak Hill to train for the 2021 Boston Marathon, traffic jams and planning for longer times to get from Point A to Point B. I feel as though I should be able to just jump back in to be in the flow of life again but I find myself at a bit of a loss. 

I find myself experiencing the residuals from the trauma of the past 16 months with free floating anxiety and at times fatigue. I know I am not alone in these feelings as I read various articles written by people who are experiencing similar feelings. Juxtaposed with the anxiety and fatigue are feelings of intense joy and excitement to be able to experience in person connection with family and friends, do packet stuffing for the Boston Marathon and go beyond Brookline, Massachusetts to dine, to play and to experience the fullness of life again. We experienced having our hair done and going for chiropractic and acupuncture with a deeper appreciation than before the pandemic.

While we were blessed during the pandemic with Tom's job security and having our health, there were moments of intense stress. Life became a challenge as we navigated supermarkets, lived life behind masks and hands were raw from repeated hand washing. Tom and Ruth Anne had to have multiple COVID tests because of work and school. Tom's job had a hiring freeze and in the wake of the pandemic and work/family stress, several people gave their notice. We experienced the collective trauma of the pandemic and the political scene in the US. It was infectious stress to see our friends experience being small business owners or working in high risk jobs  We all felt we were teetering on the brink of total disaster; a hallmark of trauma. Gratitude, meditation and prayer, love and faith were our anchors to navigate the turbulent times.

Fortunately, we can now create a space for healing as the waters of the tsunami of the pandemic and the intense political and economic climate begin to recede. While some may seemingly jump back into the flow of life, it's important to honor how we each approach this time of healing from the trauma that we have all experienced.

In the Flow

When life comes to a screeching halt
frozen in time
tightness tension
worry lines mar terrain
energy wanes to a trickle.

When paralyzed by fear
faith edged out
come back from the edge.

As danger subsides
slowly thawing
torch of divine love lights the way
Source tenderly melting pain.

Haltingly I return to life
here and now
all there is
ebb and flow with the tide
no more precious stolen moments.

Smiling
tears of relief flow
heart swells with gratitude
getting back in the swim of life
in the flow
faith all is well.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Divinity and Serenity

 

I know when fears arise, it’s a signal that I am disconnected from Source. It’s been incredibly challenging to set fears aside and allow trust and faith to prevail. We’ve navigated turbulent waters for these past 15 months and at times it’s hard to settle down and get into a new rhythm of life. As Lin Manuel-Miranda said on The Tonight Show,  as Jimmy Fallon and he were talking about the excitement of Broadway’s reopening, “And it’s all depending, right? It depends on how safe people feel returning to the theater and people continuing to get vaccinated…”

During my meditations, I have been focusing on peace, calm, ease and healing. Two weeks ago, this poem had popped up in my memories. After the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, I discovered the healing power of poetry in my soul. Many of those poems are part of my book Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life but this one had been 'lost' until Facebook revived it. It is perfect for these times as we emerge from the pandemic.

Divine                    June 10, 2009
Listen to hear God's Voice so clear,
the compass to guide who you are
look up to the heavens, the dazzling lights,
you can outshine any star.
The brilliance within a source of great love –
pure, untainted and true
in no one's shadow shall you walk behind,
step into the spotlight of you.
The old self so frightened needs compassion and care
it's time - tenderly laid now to rest
the blame, shame and guilt, the armor you wore –
you did your absolute best.

The price that you paid to sacrifice true self –
to give until you just gave out
trying to please, fueling all others' needs,
of your own power you had so much doubt.
You're now awake and healing tears shed,
polish this diamond so rare
the light cannot hide, it can't be contained
on center stage with the world you must share.

The success of your life is found deep inside,
the courage to step out and shine
unveiling True Self perfection and flawed –
a person who's simply Divine!

I ‘just happened’ to find the above quote about being Divine and was amazed by how people resonated to my post.

During my afternoon meditation, I focused on serenity and this poem flowed.

Serenity

In the wake of the pandemic
aftershock of fears
how does it feel to connect to Source
Divine love and light
coursing through every cell
open the cell door
be free
serenity.

Calm as cool clear lake water
floating in a sea of trust
casting away all cares
all is well
a direct line to Divine
steady breath
gentle winds of acceptance
sailing home.

Fears and anxiety come from situations that are beyond our control and are weighted with profound uncertainty. The pandemic certainly fits the bill. And while we now emerge from the trauma of 15 months of death, disease, economic uncertainty and general unrest in our country and the world, the imprint of those times remain. But by tethering ourselves to something greater than ourselves and connecting with like-hearted friends, we can heal and find our way back home to our divinity, peace and serenity.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It's Summertime!

 

Last summer we did the very best we could to savor the season that everyone in New England looks forward to. We dined al fresco in our yard either grilling or supporting local restaurants with take out. We explored new running routes in our neighborhood and played in our sprinkler. There were no trips to the beach and no Cape Cod getaways where we would lounge by outdoor pools after a morning run or having a race-vacation where we would meet up with all of our running friends. There was no dining at a restaurant because of very limited seating capacity and the metrics indicated that the risk of infection from COVID was quite high.

This weekend marked the beginning of summer and coincidentally Tom's vacation.

Because of Juneteenth, Tom had Friday off. We spent the morning relaxing together as Ruth Anne prepared for an interview for her "come back job" post brain injury secondary to an autoimmune response to an untreated infection. She was hired on the spot! We had planned to do take out to kick off summer and Tom's vacation but, since we are all fully vaccinated and we had so much to celebrate, we looked for dining out options with outdoor dining.

I wanted to be near water but we decided downtown Boston on the first weekend of summer post-COVID in Boston would be too crowded for us. To ensure outside dining at Legal Seafood in Chestnut Hill, we decided an early dinner would be best. They do not take reservations for outdoor seating. 

As good fortune would have it, we had a table overlooking the Pond where I was able to satisfy my desire to dine overlooking water.

"Welcome back!" one of our favorite Legal Seafood Restaurant waitresses greeted us with a huge smile. 

It was an emotional moment for all of us. We chatted for a few minutes and the trauma of the past 15 months started to melt away. It was a bit surreal to be eating dinner out at a restaurant and for Ruth Anne getting ready to go to work again. Talk about resilience!

Since Legal Seafood was sold to new owners during the pandemic, the dishes had a different flair to them. What a treat to savor delicious food with impeccable service including the new manager personally serving our dishes to ensure they arrived right out of the kitchen. We usually do not have dessert but since there was so much to celebrate we opted for Bon Bons. When she brought the check she told us that the Bon Bons were complimentary.

I've talked about the feeling of a time warp as we emerge from the pandemic. Having Hannah as our waitress at Legal had all the feels of being in that time warp where nothing yet everything changed.

On Saturday and Monday we went to do our 5K at the Sugar Bowl in South Boston. One of the things I missed most last summer was being able to run by the ocean. (Are you sensing that I'm a water kind of gal?) 

On Monday we packed an apres run picnic and spent time at the beach for the first time since the summer of 2019. What a treat to come home with sun kissed skin and 'tan' lines (which may be read as sunburned lines despite using sunscreen SPF 30), sand between our toes and salt lines on our skin from when we went into the ocean.

Because it was a week day there was lots of room on the beach and except for a few people wearing masks, there were no reminders that COVID had swept through the city leaving deaths and devastating loss in its wake. 

A year ago it was hard to imagine we'd be able to ever enjoy these summer time scenes again. But here we are!






While I always practiced an attitude of gratitude ever since the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, my appreciation for simple pleasures like a run around Pleasure Bay and time on the beach has deepened beyond measure since COVID.

A Trip to the Beach

Feel the freedom in your body
feel the freedom in your life
slowly now releasing
the past 15 months of strife.
Bring compassion, love and kindness
to the stress we’ve all lived through
take time allow for healing
feeling anxious despite skies of blue.
Emerging from the trauma
a different world we all now face
like a newborn baby from the womb
wrap yourself in tenderness and grace.
The road that we have traveled
one we never had before
miraculously we found our way
strengthened to our core.
May we be blessed with ease and peace
one toe in water as we gingerly move ahead
may well being and good health now reign
letting go of fear and dread.
May lessons from the darkest times
transform to love and light
resilience, courage, hope renewed
a change in tide is now in sight.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.





Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day Reflections 2021

 

 
Father's Day celebrations had always been difficult for me. My social media news feed is filled with pictures current and past of fathers with adoring posts about how wonderful their fathers were or are.  I realize there are many out there who had circumstances similar to mine and may have experienced the same pangs as I did. Yet this year, in the wake of the pandemic, that ache is transformed and transcended. I feel deep abiding joy for those who share in the love of fathers and grandfathers and who can once again be reunited for Fathers Day Celebrations. My heart overflows with compassion for those whose beloved fathers have died and people feel moved to share their photos from years past. And my heart overflows with gratitude as I reflect on those who have been like a father to me.

Joe Stetz was my swimming counselor when I attended Badger Day Camp. I had contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5, and 3 years later, endured abuse at the hands of my father and grandmother {which continued until I was 17 when my father ended his life.} When I was 10 years old, after two failed camp experiences, my physiatrist suggested I go to Badger Day Camp because they focused on swimming and opened their hearts to all abilities. Joe was on track to become a competitor in the 1964 Olympics in the Butterfly but instead he chose to become a physician. 


 

There were only 2 other campers competing in the end of Camp Olympics in the butterfly and Joe, with his soulful brown eyes told me that I needed to be the third competitor. I was guaranteed a place on the medal stand. I couldn't believe that he wanted me to compete. I told him all of my fears (not revealing what was happening in my home life but focusing on the effects of paralytic polio). He told me he would work with me one on one and on race day, after I came in third place long after the other two swimmers finished their races, he helped me out of the pool and escorted me to the medal stand where I received a bronze plaque for 3rd place. He believed in me as a father would and nourished my abilities and the heart of a champion. I drew from what he taught me after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome when I decided to run the 2009 Boston Marathon despite all the odds. His last day of camp hug left a lasting imprint on my heart and soul. There were many times during the pandemic when I drew on its strength.

I discovered his Death Notice in the Boston Globe in December of 2004 and found this photo along with more information about his life. I was stunned to discover that we worked at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center at the same time when I worked as a social worker on the inpatient geriatric psychiatric unit. 



 

 

 

 

  

As total grace from the Divine, I 'just happened' to be standing next to a woman at the starting line of the 2017 Bermuda 10K waiting for my husband to begin his race. As runners so often do, we started talking. She was a nurse who was scoping out the race as part of medical preparedness. "Where are you from?" I asked. "We live not far from Boston," she replied. "Where do you work?" "I work at St. Elizabeth's." My breath caught. She mentioned she'd been there for many years. "By any chance did you know Dr. Joe Stetz?" I inquired. "I sure did!," and she went on to ask me about how I knew him. We shared stories and our eyes filled with tears. She told me that Joe injured his hand changing the oil in his car and was devastated that he could no longer practice surgery but was looking forward to retirement having time to read books, enjoy his grandchild and ride horses. His legacy as a father and grandfather lives on in the hearts of all who were blessed to know him.

Bernie Siegel became what he affectionately calls my Chosen Dad or CD. He has become a Chosen Dad to many, like myself, who were abused and abandoned and who lost faith in ourselves. Disease manifested in our bodies and Bernie coaches us to reparent ourselves with his wisdom and guidance. We have had this beautiful relationship since the 1980's when a nurse first introduced me to his ground breaking work in the field of mind/body medicine.

After I sent him my recent book, "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" he sent me an email blessing me and asking me if I'd been on his radio show to share it.

I've had many interviews through the years but our conversation on Dreamvisions 7 Radio deeply touched my heart and soul. He was so proud of what I had created with the Divine and his love poured forth from his heart to me. 

Two lessons we have all learned from the pandemic is. "Tomorrow is never promised. Don't wait to tell someone how you feel." I sent Bernie a Father's Day card this year. Much to my surprise, he sent me a card back to me blessing me and letting me know I am now a BD = Bonus Daughter. He is going to be 89 years young in October and I cherish every moment we share together. It was such a powerful healing moment for me this Father's Day Weekend.

In years past, I would quickly scroll past photos and Fathers Day posts just wanting to 'make it through' the day. The pandemic has been a great force for transformation and growth. I am excited to celebrate Father's Day sharing those who have been like a father to me, being blessed with a husband who has been a wonderful father to our twins and to my friends in social media as they share all the feels on Father's Day 2021.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.

 

 



Thursday, June 17, 2021

Back to Before Everything is Different

 

"I hope everything can get back to normal" is a common post by friends in social media now that metrics and statistics indicate that the pandemic is coming to an end in the United States. And what a human sentiment to experience but can we ever go back to before?

During last night's before bed meditation, after a stunning session with my chiropractor earlier in the day, I had muscle memory from when I was a beautiful ballerina before I contracted paralytic polio at the tender age of 5 and a half years old. The phrase, 'Back to before, everything is different" came to me along with the realization that I could never go back to my life before I contracted paralytic polio and endured years of trauma at the hands of family members. I lost my sense of innocence and not being able to have that sense of unbridled joy that children should get to experience, but gained spiritual wisdom far beyond my years. I developed a strength of character and discipline that held me in good stead navigating my young adult and adult life.







As Tony Robbins once said, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

Fast forward to today as Massachusetts and many states are no longer under a State of Emergency. As photos of graduations, weddings, events, road racing, reunions, gatherings, flinging masks in the air  at bars, as the mask mandate was lifted and a touting of returning to life as it was before, there is no more back to before.

We live in a world changed by a virus that swept through, and in many countries still sweeping through, wreaking havoc with every aspect of life. 

This afternoon, the Heath School 8th grade graduation took place in the "Little Field" across from our house. Our twins graduated in 2002. As much as we wanted to go back to before 9/11, everything was different. My daughter and I reflected on how their lives were changed that day. I had to stay in place as a social worker at  the VA and the school personnel had to support the children who heard the rumors about airplanes hitting the World Trade Center. 

The families, graduates and school personnel for the class of 2021, had to endure a year unlike any other. As families and graduates arrived for the celebration, we could feel how different this year is from any other year. There is usually a stage where the students sit and there are rows of seats for the families. This year, there was a circle with a stage in the middle where students received their diplomas. Students and families were dressed to the nines which is highly unusual for the 8th grade graduation at Heath.

Ruth Anne and I had a full on ugly cry hearing the music, seeing staff and students' procession and the cheers as students walked to receive their hard earned diplomas. 

We clapped as the Principal had staff, then families and graduates stand making remarks about resilience, strength and community. He noted how the students brought light and joy in the midst of very dark times. After the ceremony, we said hello to one of Ruth Anne's former teachers whose son graduated 8th grade and congratulated them both. 

We spoke with the Principal letting him know how moved we were. He said, "It was quite a year and on a day like today, it all seems like a blur."  

As much as we'd love to go back to before traumatic events occur, it's just not possible. As Lewis Carroll said, we are not the same people we were yesterday. The question then becomes, how do we emerge into the light having gone through darkness and turmoil and bring forward light and joy. 


Back to Before

Yearning to go back to before
when tragedy struck
rewind the tape
Ah if only it were that easy
life in rear view mirror
an illusion
of easy times
romanticized
idealized.

What about now?

Gratitude and appreciation
flow deeply in veins
once vain
priorities change.

Celebrate triumph
resilience and strength
golden nuggets
treasure found
Phoenix rising
after surrender
yielding to what was
right of way
rites of passage
to forge a path
faith the torch that lights the way
everything is different
infinite possibilities
on our new landscape of life.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The {Newton} Hills Are Alive

 

Early this Spring, after one of our runs on Heartbreak Hill, we decided it was our last Heartbreak Hill run; that we really had no connection to the Boston Marathon any more. We were upset about the way the BAA treated the Charity Runners during the pandemic. But everyone was doing the best they could given the very challenging unprecedented situation of the pandemic. 

There is going to be a live event for the Boston Marathon on October 11. Several of our friends are running for charities and the excitement is once again palpable with the kick off of training season this past weekend. It is, to be sure, an odd training cycle but we hunger to return to time honored traditions and celebrations that mean so much to the running community, the people of Boston and the world.

Since it was a cool, overcast morning on Saturday, I suggested we return to Heartbreak Hill for our 5K run. While we arrived later than most of those getting in their first training run of the season, we felt the Hills coming alive in anticipation of the 125th Boston Marathon.

While a road race may not seem like a top priority given the massive losses and devastation that occurred during the height of the pandemic and even now in its wake, THE Boston Marathon is part of the tapestry of life in Boston. It is woven into the fabric of the life of Team McManus. 

What a joy to see smiles on runners' faces again and greet each other without needing to pull up our masks or socially distance. There was a group of runners from Golf Fights Cancer out on a 5K fun run to support their Boston Marathon team who kicked off their training season on Saturday. 

The last time we saw members of our running Club was when we hosted our L Street Water Stop on March 8, 2020. We were oblivious to the news about the pandemic as we gave hugs, everyone shared water, gatorade and gu and we paid no attention to the risk of transmission of COVID. This past week, our Club sent out a notice that sign up for packet stuffing would be happening on Wednesday morning.

We debated about whether or not to participate but the lure and magic of the Boston Marathon, even though it is happening in October is powerful. The last time we did packet stuffing was in 2014 after the Boston Marathon bombings. It seemed appropriate to return to this event after the pandemic.

I also reached out to the Expo about an in person panel presentation this year to share my incredible journey on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon. Last year we had to do our panel via Zoom.

We are so excited to be able to be with members of our running club and our 'sister' club the Merrimack Valley Striders at packet stuffing. Living near the Boston Marathon course, it will be thrilling to see runners training again for an in person Boston Marathon experience.

The Newton Hills mirrored the emotions and pain of the pandemic last year as the Marathon was postponed and then cancelled as an in person event. But as a Boston Strong community we prevailed and this year it is exhilarating to feel that the Newton Hills are alive with healing, and anticipation for the 125th running of the Boston Marathon.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.


For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.






Sunday, June 13, 2021

Celebrating a Celebration Boutique!



 

 

When Paula Romero-Dunbar opened Paper Fiesta in November of 2018, it was the fulfillment of her dream. She knew that being a small business owner would have its challenges, but she could not imagine that the challenges would include a fire that destroyed the block of stores across from her store and a pandemic that would force her to close for several months in the midst of an economic crisis. 

 

How it began:


Paula and Walter met in 1995 and believe everything happens for a reason. For a quarter of a century this couple has been learning and growing together. They love celebrating with friends, family and especially their son and daughter who you may see often helping around Paper Fiesta since opening in the fall of 2018.

After graduating from Curry college in 1998 Walter soon realized he was climbing the corporate ladder, but it was up against the wrong tree. He contemplated choosing a new career until September 11th, 2001. The tragedy of terror on 9-11 had reignited the flame of what he always really wanted to do. Help people. Walter returned to school and became an EMT in 2002. He started his EMS career at American Medical Response in Natick. In 2005 he started working 911 on the AMR ambulance out of Newton Fire Station 2. The turn that begins BOSTON’s world famous “heartbreak hill.” Walter always wanted to “someday” run the Boston Marathon even though he was not a runner and hated to run. He felt inspired by the runners and loved how the community united to support each other. Walter was spellbound by the magic of the marathon and every year thought to himself, “maybe someday I’ll run BOSTON.”


Walter began working at Boston EMS in 2008. Marathon Monday on 4-15-2013 changed his life. Witnessing the triumphs of runners in the morning and the tragedies of terror in the afternoon was an overwhelming experience. Inside of the terror, devastation and grief there was still something special happening…”strangers helping strangers” and every one of his coworkers “running the right way.” Their worst brought out our best!

The magic of the marathon seemed lost and buried somewhere beneath the ruins. Running seemed like the only way to search for and rediscover that lost magic. Walter ran his first marathon in 2014 and reunited with survivors along the way. Discovering what many people affectionately call “the survivor community” fueled his passion and purpose. He was introduced to survivors and first responders from around the world united by tragedy and stronger because of them. Walter’s still running, working full time at Boston EMS and dedicated to transforming tragedy into triumph. His “mile10connections” gift section consists of poetry and motion. Photos that tell a story decorate the walls. The legendary Johnny Kelley running past our window is a favorite.


What are the chances this diverse couple would one day open a store together that unite such unique passions? {Follow this link to read Paula's journey.} How could this store dedicated to bringing joy to people’s lives, be located on mile 10 of the Boston Marathon, inside of historic “Clark’s Block” that is 2 years older than the marathon itself?


We may not know the reason everything happens, but we do know everything happens for a reason. We thank God for everything and believe in magic.


Their journey into owning and operating a small business in Natick, Mass. has been a marathon both figuratively and literally. It seems like fate that their individual passions would combine into this synergetic store’s location. Paper Fiesta is located at 1 Main Street in the heart of downtown Natick, right along the famous mile 10 section of the Boston Marathon. C’mon by and see for yourself why this new gift shop, located on the historic corner of Clark’s Block (built in 1872), offers gifts, paper, fun with an essence of strength, history, spirit and hope.

 

In April of 2019, Paula and her husband Walter opened their hearts and Paper Fiesta to host the book launch of my book “Adventures of Runnergirl 1953.” It was a family affair with their son Luke helping with refreshments and her daughter Natalie filming my talk. We were able to introduce many of our friends to Paper Fiesta, many of whom returned to shop after the book launch party.


Summer is usually a slow retail season but a fire in Natick Center in 2019 that destroyed a block of stores across the street from Paper Fiesta made it a tough go for a new business owner.

 

Paula kept the faith and made it through that summer that tested her mettle but brought the Natick Center Cultural community closer together. We made frequent visits to support Paula and during Christmas of 2019, we had a wonderful time stocking up on party goods for my Christmas Birthday and holiday celebrations. 


Just as Paula was gaining momentum after the fire and with a prosperous holiday season, the pandemic forced her to close. 


We bought a gift card and encouraged all of our friends to do the same. The Natick moms community became a source of support to fan the dying embers of her dream. Paula became inspired to do Easter Baskets with curbside pickup and being the Easter Bunny to deliver baskets in the nearby towns. She was one exhausted Easter Bunny after selling 100 baskets! Paula had a friend set up her website for e-commerce.

 

She offered Face Time shopping along with the clever idea of putting together a surprise package for special occasions. Shoppers would tell Paula how much they wanted to spend and what kind of a theme they would like and Paula did the rest. I absolutely loved my Mother's Day package 2020.

We visited Paula in mid-April to shop and to leave author copies of my latest book "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic." I told Paula that she could keep the proceeds of the books in exchange for sharing on social media. #Womensupportingwomen is a popular social media hashtag. While we still had to wear masks the love we share was palpable as we talked about vaccines, slowly emerging from the pandemic, our families and making it through those past 14 months.

What a blessing to be able to see each other's smiles when we returned last Thursday to Paper Fiesta. I was emotionally overwhelmed by the moment. Paula's strength and resilience, the strength of a community and extended friends who are like family kept Paula's dream alive.

We shopped for Father's Day, a cousin's graduation and the twins' birthday celebration on August 7th. Of course we bought books and treats for ourselves. As Ruth Anne always says, "Paper Fiesta is my favorite place to shop." 

There are still challenges ahead as Paula pointed out that there are problems with the supply chain and the general anxiety about recovery from these past 15 months. We hold a space for those but Thursday was all about celebrating a celebration boutique and seeing the American dream alive and well in Natick Center Cultural District!











Womanpreneur extraordinare, Paula Romero-Dunbar with my daughter Ruth Anne and me.







From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.


For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

Joyful Tears and Goosebumps

 

As I scroll through my social media news feed and receive emails about upcoming in person events, I find myself overcome with emotion. Tears overflow from a grateful heart that life can resume with in-person celebrations and that the lights will be back on Broadway. My like-hearted friends have been sharing videos like this one  that mark the end of the pandemic and the start of moving forward in our lives. 

 


As tears overflow, goosebumps appear on my arms and I feel tingles all over. I allow the tears of joy and goosebumps to wash away the fears of the past 15 months and make space for wonderful new adventures.

In August, we are going to Western Massachusetts to visit my son and his girlfriend. The twins haven't seen each other in person in 4 years. We were hoping to go last summer for their 33rd birthday but the pandemic quickly squashed those plans. There is a sense of urgency to seizing the moment and savoring life to the fullest.

In October we are going to New York City to see Jagged Little Pill. We have not been to New York in years and are so excited to return. As one Broadway actor recently said, "Intermission is over!" I feel tears well up and goosebumps all over as we anticipate these two trips.

With every post about graduations, birthdays, reunions with grandparents and lights turning back on in stadiums, businesses and theaters, I feel the rush of emotion that is felt deep in my heart in the wake of these past 15 months.

Our air purifiers are put away. There's more space on the top shelf of the bookshelf by the door that once had an overflow of masks that needed to be worn every where we went and laundered on a regular basis. Every day there's always something that triggers joyful tears and goosebumps as we heal together and emerge from the pandemic into the glorious light of late Spring.

Space

A few masks for just in case
a welcome empty space on bookshelf by the door
air purifiers stored in basement
floored we need them no more
untie stomach’s knot
space to breathe freely
freedom from havoc pandemic wrought

Savoring summertime’s sacred moments
maskless
leisurely neighborhood after dinner stroll
basking in spectacular sunsets

Once seeing life through pandemic’s lens
gratitude floods heart and soul
senses delighted by simple pleasures
time to breathe
space to be
and live life anew.

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

An Extraordinary Time For Renewal

 

The tree in our neighbor's yard has not bloomed in several years. We often said that the tree was lonely for its original owners who passed away and their children sold the property. The property is now being used as a rental property. The new tenants are lovely and wanted to know how to help the tree bloom. We suggested that they lovingly trim the dead branches, water the soil and see what happens. 

This is what happened!

This post-pandemic season is an extraordinary time for renewal. Purple, reds, pink, and even yellow flowers seem to be showing eye-popping color. Of course perception is a big part of seeing but many of my friends in social media are making the same comments about how magnificent Spring in Boston is this year.

There's also extraordinary renewal of joy, grateful hearts, hope and celebrations.

We have been pruned during the pandemic needing to socially distance, change our habits, forego traditional celebrations and gatherings finding ourselves in a very strange new world.

Since Governor Baker lifted all restrictions, there has been a blossoming of gratitude and photos of graduates with their families beaming with an indescribable joy celebrating the milestone of graduation in the context of a pandemic. What would mark an ordinary milestone in the lives of graduates from kindergarten through college has been transformed into an extraordinarily emotional experience. We celebrate as a community deeply blessed and grateful that ceremonies and celebrations can happen once more.

Prior to resuming pre-pandemic activities, there was a collective sense of fatigue and weariness. While most adapted to wearing masks, we were tired of having to don masks wherever we went. "Will this ever be over?" was the question of the day. There were many who welcomed receiving the vaccination resulting in a shortage and frustration in trying to schedule an appointment. My daughter and I struggled with whether or not to receive the vaccine as I wrote about in Fear or Faith

We owe it to ourselves to take the time we need to make this transition from living under the cloud of the pandemic to this time of extraordinary renewal.

I am so excited for what takes root and blossoms as we grow in love, faith, hope, joy, hugs, gratitude, realizing our resilience and strength to navigate life's adversity taking our cue from how nature renews itself. 

Renewal

Weariness and wariness
when will this pandemic ever end?
Asking how and where and why
on my faith I must depend.
Yet being only human
I’m tired to the bone
also knowing that it’s pointless
to whine, complain and moan.

It’s been the longest darkest winter
holding tight to the end of my rope
digging deep to do soul work
clinging closely feeling hope.
As winter’s ground began to thaw
buds of renewal came into view
sensing finish line's in sight
tough miles but we made through.

Fully vaccinated
a new phrase with thumbs up pic
once deadly corona virus
our antibodies now can flick.
And with the grace of Springtime
brilliant colors burst on the scene
hearts opened with blossoming flowers
purples, pinks, yellows and reds-grass of vibrant green.

Celebrations fill social media
a kind of joy extraordinaire
caps and gowns donned with relief and pride
so much emotion fills the air.
A scene so very different
than 15 months ago
patiently (or not) waiting for these moments
giving life that special glow.

Emerging from winter’s darkness
now time to live life with delight
leaving behind the pain of the past
snuffing out those moments of fright.
Let us gather the lessons
moving forward to light our way
and appreciate every moment
of each and every day.

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.




Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Gift of the Golden Moon

 

The Gift of the Golden Moon

Heart pounding
my 4am wake up call
residue of fright fifteen months later

Birds’ songs serenade me
a lullaby to quell my quickened heart rate

Angels’ precious presence speak in whispers
“Look up!”
My breath caught breathing in cool fresh air
eyes behold a waning crescent moon
golden illumination
transition from night to dawn.

“All is well” I repeated
image emblazoned on closed eyelids
Divine Love beams
powerful laser to cut ties to fear
bathing my body in Truth.

Quiet busy mind forlorn and fretting
worries warrant prayer
in stillness illumination ignites my spark of faith
emboldened after beholding golden moon
lulled to sleep by trust
I drift
refreshed
I awaken to the dawn of a new day.

In the wake of the pandemic, I continue to experience trauma dreams. They are not as frequent or intense as they were during the height of the pandemic, but continue to be present. During the height of the pandemic, it was a challenge to get back to sleep after a trauma dream but last night’s dream brought with it a beautiful gift. I had never thought to get out of bed and look out the window after a trauma dream. I had never seen the moon at 4 in the morning. It was a Divine experience. Throughout the pandemic, I experienced a stronger connection to Source with more frequent meditations, being a vessel for poetry that strengthened my faith and asking my angels for strength and guidance during challenging moments.

Although I awakened at 4am and was up for about an hour, I woke up refreshed and ready to go on a run at 7am. While we wore our winter running clothes last Saturday, we wore tank tops and tees with shorts. We took our frozen water bottles out of the freezer while we ate breakfast and debated about where we wanted to run. Since all restrictions are lifted, we knew that traffic would be heavy and any place near water would have large crowds.

We chose to savor the beauty of our Reservoir and the luxury of smiling at runners passing by and people sitting on benches enjoying our new found freedom as we emerge from the pandemic.

It was one of my best runs in awhile with negative splits and pouring sweat. I was so glad that I froze water bottles before we went to bed. I love how sweat continues to pour after the run is over. 

 



 

Ruth Anne went on to run another 5K while Tom and I spent quality time together. We debriefed about the stress of the past week and how excited we are to move beyond both the pandemic and Ruth Anne’s health issues. We had a leisurely picnic lunch in our yard followed by much needed yard work but not before we put on our bathing suits, fired up our sprinkler and remembered what it’s like to feel like a carefree child in summer time.

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.








Friday, June 4, 2021

Giddy with Gratitude - Heartful of Sadness - Heartful of Hope

 

"Didn't you almost feel giddy that you could be in a store without a mask?" my dear chiropractor and friend Dr. Lizzie  asked me during yesterday's treatment.

"Yes," I replied. "Giddy with gratitude!"

What a contrast to that moment on March 12, 2020 when we hugged goodbye not knowing we wouldn't see each other for 14 months. "As long as things are open, I'll be here," she said but things quickly shut down the next day.

We shared how thrilling it was to be able to enter and exit a store from whatever door we'd like and to be able to go up and down the aisles no longer needing to pay attention to the one way signs. I recalled with horror the scene at Star Market on Friday March 13th when panic was palpable and empty shelves greeted us at every turn.

Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is vital and was especially vital during the pandemic. I did not set resolutions for 2021 but set my hopes for the New Year: (from Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

May I continue to appreciate and savor moments of beauty, joy and laughter and work to create happy times regardless of circumstances.

 

May I continue to take time for sunrises and sunsets, breathing fresh air, anticipating Spring and having a daily practice of gratitude.

 

May I continue share the blessing of my journey to continue to spread a message of healing, hope and possibility. May I be open to opportunities to share my journey and be a beacon of healing light for others.

 

May I open my heart to fully appreciate getting my hair done again, gathering for races, going out to a restaurant, not having to wear a mask, hugging friends and family outside of our ‘bubble’, a President who governs and leads and hope for healing our country and the world.

 

May I continue to deepen my connection to Source and to nature and find new ways to ignite a sense of wonder and awe within me.

 

May I remember that I have endured so much in my life especially during this past year and I have the strength, the faith, the optimism, hope and resilience to overcome any challenges that may come my way. 

 

As I walked to my chiropractor's office at her new location, I savored the beauty of Boston in Spring, the quiet ambiance of Beacon Street away from her former office location in Copley Square. I loved how I could breathe in the fragrant air of Springtime without a mask. The waiting room is fully open with the tape removed to ensure social distancing on chairs, yet masks are still required for the office. My heart overflowed with gratitude to have regular chiropractic treatments again.


Dr. Lizzie and I shared in the joy of the shifting tide of the pandemic while also sharing in the sadness that lingers with favorite stores and restaurants that have closed, the collective trauma we all experienced in different ways and the fear and myriad of emotions that linger as we emerge from the pandemic world. While some shops, restaurants and places of employment have transformed for the better, there are many that have a cloud lingering from the trauma. Stress does take its toll sometimes bringing forth great transformation like coal to a diamond and other times bearing down wreaking havoc with what once was.


We chatted about the pandemic silver linings that we want to keep in our lives and not get swept up in an impossible goal of needing to make up for lost time.


I feel giddy with gratitude that all the metrics and statistics indicate that the pandemic, like one of the worst storms we have ever had to endure is "moving out to sea."  I am excited to be able to go to the beach, swim in the ocean, stay overnight at a hotel, go out for dinner and feel the freedom to choose our activities. Lunch dates and hugs with friends will be so incredibly delicious!


My heart feels the sadness of the loss and devastation that exists in the wake of the pandemic and yet is filled with hope that we can rebuild with great resilience moving forward in our lives.


Gratitude and Grace

A joyous jubilation
a jamboree
freedom
and yet…
a heaviness in heart
empty store fronts
empty seats at dinner tables

How do we heal from the carnage?

Gratitude heals the hole
making us whole
grace reigns from clouds of despair
sifting and sorting through rubble
treasures found.

Strength and resilience
beyond what we ever believed
was possible.

 

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. From Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.



 

 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Fifteen Months Later - Olde Cape Cod

 

We had started and then stopped heading to Cape Cod as things began to open up and we were fully vaccinated. Before Memorial Day Weekend and Governor Baker's lifting of the restrictions for COVID, we gave pause to heading to the Cape. Where could we go to the bathroom? How long of a wait would there be to get a table at a restaurant? How safe was it to be out among non-vaccinated people and could we enjoy our time needing to wear a mask.

When we woke up Monday morning, it was an uncharacteristically cool Memorial Day. There was drizzle and fog with the forecast calling for rain/drizzle/fog in Boston and in Falmouth. After meditation, we spontaneously decided it was the perfect day to head to our happy place where we had not been since February of 2020.

I suggested that we do our run in Brookline and then head to the Cape but Ruth Anne suggested we do our run along Falmouth Heights Beach. We trusted that we would have access to a bathroom when we needed it and since capacity restrictions were lifted, we'd be able to find a good place to eat.

I felt the excitement as we pulled out of the driveway to go the farthest distance away from Brookline in 15 months.

I was overcome with emotion seeing road signs we hadn't seen for what seemed like forever.



We knew that the beautiful Cape Cod Canal was below us just beyond the dense fog as we crossed over the Bourne Bridge.

First stop was Falmouth Heights Beach. My breath caught to see it again. Only shadows of letters remained on the sign for the British Beer Company one of our favorite 'pit stop' places while at the beach or on a run where we'd order a sparkling water at the bar and return for English pub style food. It always reminded us of pubs in Bermuda. Fortunately the new staff were kind enough to let us use the facilities when we needed to as we explained how the British Beer Company always let us use their bathroom. I felt a lump in my throat to see how the place was changed from where we would often go during trips to Falmouth especially during the Falmouth Road Race weekend.

We had a slow place for our 5K enjoying the scenery along the way reminiscing about the times we visited Falmouth when the kids were young. 









While our clothes were damp, our spirits were high from breathing in the salty sea air and being in our happy place once more.

The next big question of the day was where to have lunch. We decided on The Flying Bridge but it was a very different Flying Bridge from the last time we were there in the Fall of 2019. The outdoor area where they were serving was encased with plastic all the way around. There were lamps for warmth but it was uncomfortably warm and claustrophobic. We opted to head to Main Street to another one of our favorite restaurants, Anejo Mexican Bistro. The wait staff eagerly dried off the chairs at the outdoor table and greeted us with warm smiles. There was a long line to get in for indoor dining but no wait for an outdoor table where we dined on delicious burritos and tacos.






After lunch, we supported local business at Eight Cousins Bookstore and savored every moment on Main Street along with our favorite Ben and Bill's Ice Cream.

With hearts (and bellies) full we drove home excited for a summer that President Joe Biden said today we all deserve after a very long dark winter.

Spontaneity was not a word in our vocabulary during the pandemic. We had to plan runs, trips to the grocery store, make sure we had masks and could social distance. There were no trips to the beach during the height of summer or trips to the Cape. What a joy to allow the day to unfold unplanned, unplugged and for the most part, maskless and spontaneous!

Be sure to listen to my conversation with Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel on their Voices of Hope podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. from Greg Chastain: The latest episode of The Cardinal Cafe is up! On this episode we meet Mary McManus. Mary is a motivational speaker, author, poet, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, polio and trauma survivor. She has a remarkable story of resilence, healing, Hope and possibilities. Once you hear her tell her story you will want to rush out to purchase her newest book of poems “Hope is a Garden” which she wrote during the recent pandemic. So please join us for this incredible story. 

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
Mary

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.  

Be sure to check out my website's News and Events page for upcoming and past interviews where I share my remarkable and inspirational journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.

My books to inspire and uplift you are available on Amazon.

 


An Extraordinary Time on Heartbreak Hill

  Seeing the rising of the almost full moon Saturday evening while we went for our after dinner walk was a perfect way to end our day.   Thr...