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  • I remember a summer, an endless summer, the one in the place between being a child and an adult, between high school and college, home and somewhere else.

    I was too young to be a counselor, too young to be so far from home and so very alone, but there I was: Lifeguard/kitchen staff. I never really went home again, and for that one summer, I shared a hot and dark little cabin in the woods with a couple roommates. We had no electricity. We had to trek a quarter mile to the nearest toilet, farther for a shower, and the kitchen where I worked was almost a mile away. (The pool was closer.)

    When I got sick and I did get sick, I fell violently ill that summer, nobody thought to bring me food or water. I subsisted on Twizzlers and Oreos, and the combination of heat, illness, and sickly sweet nourishment ruined each for me. The peach cobbler I found when I thought I was better proved that I wasn't, and almost 22 years have passed without strawberries or peaches.

    Mostly, though, when I think of that summer, I don't think of being sick. I think of sunshine and laughter, playing Red Rover at night in a field under the constellations, my first shooting star, swimming pools and canoe trips, songs.

    At night, at campfires, we sang silly songs about liverwurst and billboards and boom chicka boom. We told stories. We played games. We sang some more.

    In the kitchen, when the campers were gone, we listened to the radio. The Spin Doctors spun a tale of two princes who adored me. Whitney Houston professed to always love me, and the Proclaimers proclaimed that they would walk 500 miles and they would walk 500 more just to be the men who walked a thousand miles to fall down at my door.

    In the kitchen while we prepped, I proclaimed along with them, loudly and offkey. Though, the whole idea seemed absurd. Who would walk 500 miles? Who would walk 500 more? Preposterous!

    A couple of decades later, I have figured it out: I would.

    I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more. In my first two months with a Fitbit, I earned a "badge" for 500 "lifetime" miles. In the two weeks since then, I have walked 185 more. I haven't gone anywhere. I am not walking toward or away from anything. I am just... walking.

    A few weeks ago, a friend urged me to step up my game. From 2,761 miles away, she could see my rolling seven-day total on the tracker's app.

    "Can you please just get to 200,000 steps already?" she urged in an encouraging. "You are so close!"

    I laughed; then, I did. I walked 200,000 steps or about 100 miles in 7 days.

    It was nice to have a goal. I wasn't looking for a badge, a pair of golden sneakers, or even acknowledgement. Although the quest became a joke that we shared and a way to keep in touch with someone I loved and missed, I did it for me.

    Of course, my friend sent a card, note, and candy bar to congratulate me. She told me to rest. She sent me gummy octopuses because it would take another person eight legs to walk so much, and we kept texting, sending each other digital cheer.

    Walking makes me feel better on several levels as does keeping in touch with a friend and proving to myself that I can accomplish something slightly absurd. I just didn't realize that I'd end up with the song from that summer (and a million related memories) stuck in my head.

    And when I come home (When I come home), yes, I know I'm gonna be
    I'm gonna be the man who comes back home with you
    I'm gonna be the man who's coming home with you
    Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
    Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da
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