A race he always won

As his father’s car rounded the bend, he would sprint down the street to home.

I outran my father's car almost every day for a great portion of my childhood.

I jumped out to an early lead. I glanced over to see that my father was right by my side; we were neck and neck. As we rounded the last turn he took a lead. I bounced back and won in a last-second photo finish.

He was behind the wheel of his blue '89 Oldsmobile in his dress shirt, pants, and dress shoes. I was in my brand-new light-up sneakers, shorts, and a T-shirt. This was the ritual. This is the way he would pick me up from my aunt's house around the corner most days.

Just before his arrival I would get my papers and books ready in my backpack, finish watching my afternoon cartoons, and stare out the window in anticipation. When I saw his car pull up out front, I would tighten the laces on my shoes and wave goodbye to my aunt as I raced out the door.

He always started out slow so that I would take the early lead. I flew down the street like an escaped convict. He would speed up during the middle part of the race but was never able to sustain his velocity.

By the end of the race my endurance would always prove victorious. I would reach our house first and run inside to tell my mother the good news. It was the same good news she heard every day: I had won the race.

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