Lost, Found and Stolen Wallet Karma

Walking through Bates College with my dog over the past 11 years I have picked up 4 wallets, a ski pass, cash and lots of dog poop. I throw away the poop, keep most of the cash, but return everything else of value I find.  Believe it or not, on occasion I have witnessed people losing money, including a couple of years ago. I was right behind a kid coming from the Commons when he pulled out his phone and a $10 bill floated to the ground as he continued on.  I yelled, but his music must have been cranking and he couldn’t hear so I picked it up and tapped him on his shoulder.  I scared the living daylights out of him.  Wish I had it on video.Last month I found a wallet in the quad and walked it 100 yards over to the security office and dropped it off.  I didn’t know how long it would take to locate him, so I looked up Geoffrey **** on Facebook,  and found a profile of a Bates student who looked just like the ID.  I messaged him.  Within seconds, I got back:  “I was just tearing through my room! Thank you very much! Good karma always comes around.”karma

Today, I went to the bank and karma pinched me back, in the cheek.  Just like the pinch you get from your grandmother when you were young. Nice, but embarrassing as hell.

I was on cloud 9 as we got a check this afternoon for a couple hundred extra bucks that we were not expecting.  My son Chris has been so patient about not getting his broken phone fixed and now we could.  The day was looking up and it was sunny and warm out.  After cashing the check and getting a bank check for rent, I stopped at the vestibule across from the ATM in the lobby of the bank.  I set down my phone, wallet and other papers I had with me.  I put the rent into an envelope and wrote the name of my landlord, the absolute best landlord I have ever had,  George Greenwood is one of the most generous and kind guys I know.

As I drove out and stopped at the traffic light, I remembered I had filled out the insurance form for Chris’ phone and all I had to do was plug-in my credit card numbers and it would be on its way.  I looked on my front seat where all my papers, enveolopoe,  phone and wallet were and had that “oh shit moment.”  That feeling.  The second you realize……like a big rollercoaster drop, a ticklebump….heart palpitation and a sinking feeling in your stomach: I lost my wallet.

I immediately pulled over in the Hannaford parking lot and rifled through my car.  Panic begins to sink in.  Did I drop it in the parking lot?  I think back to the last time I knew I had it.  Talking to Cindy at the teller station when I stuffed the $20 bill I got back with the bank check.

It was no more than 5 minutes since I left.  I must have left it at the counter and Cindy will have it, I thought.  How embarrassing, but if there was anywhere in the world you would want to forget your wallet, the bank’s the place. I’ll take some ribbing and think about telling my wife about it.

I parked in the same spot and wondered if I had dropped it.  Fat chance I would have and not noticed my George Costanza wallet go tumbling.  Best case scenario was I had left it on the counter across from the ATM.  I would grab it, slink out,  and nobody would know of my bonehead move.  Could I be that lucky!

Of course not.  It wasn’t there, nor did Cindy have it.

I walked back to my car and tore it apart.  Nope.  Not there.   Several bank employees showed genuine concern and resolve.  They jumped into action.  A quick call to the security division and they were all over it.

As I sat in one of the cubicles waiting, I began to look around.  It had only been a few minutes since I left, so my wallet could have been in the pocket of somebody within a few feet of me.  At one point I caught myself going down the road of suspecting everyone.  Anger surfaced.  Hair on the back of my neck standing on end.  Hate.  More anger.  I was suspicious of everyone.  It could be any one of them.  But probably not.  Stop thinking evil thoughts, I told myself.

I still had an uneasiness.  As I looked around with a different perspective, instead of looking for the one who did steal my wallet, I began ruling everyone out.  But the older, weathered woman , sitting 2 feet from me, in another managers office with just a glass wall between us was screaming guilty.  I could sense uneasiness about her…..something…..suspicious????   It was probably nothing, my mind going off again.  After all, who doesn’t look uneasy when they are in a bank asking for money they don’t have, but promise to pay it back — you hope.  Been there, done that.

But somebody had to have taken it.  Or was I just a bonehead and lost it somehow.

No sooner had the old woman walked out the door, security called.  I listened to the manager talking and watched her click and begin to squint.  At that point where I figured she was looking at the video, or a photo,  I made a decision.  I would sneak a peek at the monitor.  If I asked, I know they could not legally show me the photo.  So I didn’t ask .  I just stood up and bent over and had a sneak a peek.  Sure enough, it was the old woman sitting not 2 feet away 2 minutes ago.  In the photo, the split second I glanced at it before she turned the monitor away, I noticed my suspect was talking to a young man.

The bank manager called the police.  Security video confirmed it had been taken.  But was it technically stolen?  As we waited for police to arrive,  my phone rang.  It was the Sun Journal.  Shit.  My shift just started and while I didn’t have anything scheduled at the moment, I had seen a cruiser speed past a few minutes ago Code3.  Was there breaking news I had to go cover?

“Did you lose your wallet?” said my sister on the other end of the phone.  Sarah, a customer service rep at the Sun Journal was calling.  My immediate thought was that everyone in the newsroom knew I lost my wallet and the police were coming to file a report.  I was thinking I was the laughing-stock of the newsroom as it filtered over to her.  I figured they must have heard the call for the cops to respond to the bank for a Russ Dillingham who got his wallet stolen at the bank.  Front page headlines flashed through my mind.  “Knucklehead gets wallet stolen at bank.”

“What?” my sister said.  “Somebody just dropped your wallet off at the front counter.  They said it was found at the Hannaford ATM in Auburn.”

That’s about 100 yards from the bank.

Auburn police showed up moments later and I told Officer Laliberte that this will probably be the easiest bank robbery ever solved.  And I thought to myself,  and one for the dumb criminals episodes on TV.  Who would take a wallet sitting in a bank, across from the ATM with not only the camera from the ATM looking directly at where the wallet was, but another conspicuous one on the ceiling above.  It had to be someone who really needed the money, desperate and not very smart.  Or a combination.

I feel bad for the woman or guy she was with who took it.  They had to have known there was a chance of their actions being filmed.  But perhaps they thought they would get lucky and the cameras wouldn’t be working. Or the guy who lost the wallet wouldn’t figure he lost it until later and not know it was at the bank where he lost it.

Forget the moral, ethical question.  What is the percentage of people who would return a lost wallet?  Does it depend on where you found it.  Or how much cash was in it.  Do you take the cash  and drop the wallet someplace where somebody else would find it, like they did?  Or take the cash and bury it, or toss it in the garbage?

When I returned this last wallet I found at Bates recently I had opened it up to see who was the owner.  I noticed there was no cash.  I didn’t look at cards or secret spots where he might have tucked some away, I just noticed there was none in the main compartment.  Did somebody steal it and drop it in the quad after taking the cash?  Does he think I found it and took the cash and returned it……or did it just fall out of his pocket and there was none  in the first place.  That thought crossed my mind later in the day and I contemplated messaging him to inquire.  I decided it was better not to know.  If he said there was no cash in it, my sub-conscience would be clear.  But if he said there was money in it when he lost it, how much time would I waste thinking about what he was thinking about me.  Feeling bad that he thought it was me who took it.  Should I have even contacted him.  Now he knows who I am.  Too much to contemplate.  Better to let a good deed go unturned……or something like that.  His reply about karma resonated.  Even if he thought I stole the cash, the Gods know better and my conscience is clear.

So I sit here trying to figure what exactly happened.  Officer Laliberte said to call in the morning and he would have the name of the “guy”.  Did he just pocket the cash and quickly drop it off where it could be found because they felt guilty and somebody else took the cash and turned it in.   Either way, he, or she, deserves some credit for caring enough to try to make sure I got the wallet back.

They could have dumped it in a trash can, and I would never know.  They were doing me a favor and returning the important things I had in it.

The credit cards and other items were all put back in the wrong places, so they definitely combed through my wallet.  Could they have written down the credit card numbers and start going online and buying stuff. I don’t think so.  And if so, they won’t get much.   And there were a couple of gift cards still there.  If they were going to take more than just the cash, they would certainly scoffed untraceable gift cards.

I have a gut feeling they are hoping I would get my wallet back and be happy about it, not file a police report and they would pocket the cash and be done with it.  That certainly is not the case.  The question is how far do I want to take it.  I think.

And talk about ironic.  I found a wallet last month at the drive through ATM just 50 feet from where I left mine today.  That one had cash in it.  I dropped it off at APD.  More good mojo for me.

There is a whole lot more to that story if you care to ask next time you see me.

When I left the bank to come to work tonight, I  told Officer Laliberte I wanted to talk to the person who they determined stole my wallet.  I am torn.  Do I drop any charges because it was my fault that I left the wallet in the first place and it was a temptation they could not pass up.  Or do I press charges if that is even possible.   I got a gift today, should I return the good will.  Or should I make sure they are punished for doing it, especially for being so dumb to do it

I received several gifts today, unexpected ones that should not have happened, yet made a big difference in my life.  I also lost and got my wallet back and learned a big lesson from this ordeal.  Should I return the good will.  Put more good karma in the bank, or should I make sure they are punished for being dishonest and dumb.

I think I’ll go home, kiss my wife, hug my only son left at home, scratch my dog’s belly, have a beer and think about it. Well….probably leave out hugging my son.  Knuckles or high-five goes over a little better with a 16 year old.

 

 

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Don’t give up, until you fall in

Sitting at my desk Wednesday afternoon,  listening to callers tell me about the latest mystery photo, I missed the scanner traffic about a snowmobiler who fell through the ice on Hooper Pond in Greene.  Fortunately, our web guru, Carl Natale didn’t and came over to ask if I had heard the call.  “The guy is out of the water and walked to the road already and is waiting for rescue to show up, so it’s probably nothing, but I didn’t know if you wanted to go check it out.”

I had plenty of photos from other assignments and a video needing to be processed, but I have a thing for spot news and headed out.  On the way, I passed an ambulance heading back into town and figured I was too late.  I was.  There were lots of tire tracks in the parking lot of the small rec area, but nobody around.  I parked and walked down to the pond to see if anybody was out there, but nada.  As I was pulling out of the lot, trying not to get stuck in the deep snow, a pickup pulled up and parked on the side of the road.  I struck up a conversation with the man and discovered it was the father of the 19 year old that fell through.

He told me the boy called him after falling in.  He had taken a wrong turn at the fork in the trail after coming back from filling up with gas and ended up on the brook that runs out of the pond and doesn’t freeze over until late in the winter.  We thought we could see the machine on the far side of the lake and he started walking toward it.  Naturally, I followed, both of us hugging the shoreline.  I let him get ahead of me and when a big swirl of snow was kicking up across the way, I made the photo that was the best at the end of the day that would accompany a small story we pumped out online as soon as I got back and eventually ran small on the front page the next morning.

As we neared the mouth of the brook, we realized what we thought was the sled was a block of ice.  We could see his son’s footprints coming out of the brook, and began to follow, but still staying close to shore. But it was a bog, and there was no real “shore.”   After about 20 feet, we both broke through the ice and decided that was far enough and turned back.  It was a soggy and cold return trip.  He headed for the hospital to check on his son and I headed home to change before going back to the office to process the photos and write up what I found.

Mark L'Italien follows the shoreline of Hooper Pond in Greene Wednesday afternoon in search of the snowmobile his son Drew was on when it went through the ice.  After walking to the end where it turns into Hooper Brook, he broke through ice and turned back and drove to the hospital to check on his son.  "He called me when he was walking out and I told him to call 911.  He was coming back from getting gas and took the wrong trail and ended up on the brook that doesn't freeze over until later in the year." said L'Italien as he headed back to his truck. "And I just finished getting it fixed."

Mark L’Italien follows the shoreline of Hooper Pond in Greene Wednesday afternoon in search of the snowmobile his son Drew was on when it went through the ice. After walking to the end where it turns into Hooper Brook, he broke through ice and turned back and drove to the hospital to check on his son. “He called me when he was walking out and I told him to call 911. He was coming back from getting gas and took the wrong trail and ended up on the brook that doesn’t freeze over until later in the year.” said L’Italien as he headed back to his truck. “And I just finished getting it fixed.”

The next day I had a message on my office voicemail.  It was from a warden that one of our reporters received after he called to get more information on the event.  In the message he said it was not that big of a deal.  The snowmobile never sank, it just was stuck after going through the ice and the rider only got  wet up to his knees.  For the warden, it was probably no big deal considering he has probably seen his fair share of fatalities surrounding this very scenario.  However,  I am sure it was a big deal to Drew L’Italian when he was going through it.  I know just going through the ice where I knew it wouldn’t be very deep took my breath away.  I can’t imagine what was going through this young man’s mind.

However, what scared me the most was some of the crass, heartless and ignorant comments that were written on social media.  It was an accident.  He took a wrong turn and got into trouble.  It amazes me the amount of heartless comments I read on facebook, twitter, and our website.  People are so quick to judge and pontificate.  In the past 35 years of being a photojournalist I have seen the good, bad and ugly.  Many people make mistakes and pay for them with their lives.  Some do stupid things and escape without a scratch.  While I admit we can be cynical and flippant back at the office, I always try to be compassionate when commenting online.  I just wish more people would think before they clicked send.

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Happy Valley lives up to it’s name

20150821_120739We never got to visit Penn State during the vetting process Isaiah went through. In fact, of all the colleges he visited, we only were able to go with him to UConn because it was within driving distance.  Penn State certainly was out of the question. A 10 hour drive.  They flew him in and put on a show to entice this rising star to choose to be a Nittany Lion.20150821_125529

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The entire process was long and arduous, but in the end, he chose Penn State.  The amount of paperwork, countless hours on the phone and online was taxing. 20150821_11553220150820_170218

We had our plans finalized a month ago for our trip to bring Isaiah to school.  Hotel booked, days off scheduled and ready to go.  Then we find out Isaiah has to be there the day before if he wants to participate in preseason workouts.  20150821_130929He flew out Tuesday and it worked out just fine. Where he would have sat in the back seat of Grampsie’s car was now clear (thank you Ron Hecker for letting us use your comfy Camry) Ann was then able to put her seat back and “relax” while I drove.  I don’t mind, especially getting to go and see new places.  I had never been to Pennsylvaina.  I was thouroughly impressed with the landscape.  Driving through the mountains, some blanketed with fog, it was impressive.  Cornfields as far as the eye can see, and postcard farms.  Giant warehouse and manufacturing buildings…..and lots of trucks.  Tractor trailers every other vehicle at times.  Getting boxed in on some of the narrow roads kept me from falling asleep toward the end of the drive.

I could gush on about the beautiful campus and regale you with more stories, but I want to share some of the photos I took with my phone.  Didn’t bring a real camera.  And we only got to see a fraction of the campus with the tight schedule we had with workshops and presentations.  I can’t wait to come back for a football game and track meet in the future so we have time to explore.20150820_164809

It was overcast when we arrived late Wednesday afternoon.  20150819_193702 20150819_180013By the time we unpacked what we brought, went to Bed Bath and Beyond, then Wal-Mart, we were starving and Applebee’s was just around the corner.  We all nearly fell asleep in the booth.  We dropped off I at his room and set out for Lewistown.  With a W.  Half hour away was Lewistown, PA.  The only place we could find under $150 a night.  It was such a cool ride through the steep gorges and valley’s, it was enjoyable.  The hotel….not so much.

20150820_17035620150820_171227We arrived on campus bright and early Thursday for a full day of orientation with Isaiah.  20150820_164448A downpour soaked us as we had to park by the football stadium and walk.  We had gear, much more than lots of other parents we walked with who only had their folders over their heads.  It cleared up by mid afternoon and by the time our last lecture was finished late afternoon, it was beautiful.  Isaiah had a full schedule of activities with his new incoming class of 6,000, so Ann and I were free.  We spied a cool Irish Pub on our drive in and had a pint or two after walking around the campus a little more.

On the way back, we drove past the military museum and walked around a bit, but we had our fill of walking and hopped in the car and went back to our flea bag motel….it was not Super like it’s name.

20150821_12013120150821_124738 20150821_124246Friday morning we met at the Hub.  A giganitc morphing of lecture halls, galleries, food court, bookstore and more that was the epicenter of all our activities during the orientation.  Isaiah was doing all this, plus working out and going on insane long runs with the track team…..all after coming down with strep the week before arriving.  He was such a trooper, always has been, but a little more quiet than usual.

In the afternoon, we finished up our parents workshops while Isaiah met with advisors and chose his classes.  We met up with him at the famous ice cream stand, but the line was a mile long, so we put that on the list of things to do next 20150820_164219visit.  20150819_22041720150821_134539 20150821_153103We headed over to the spaceship like basketball stadium.  The sports financial scholarship funding guy….forgot his name and title…..kicked myself for not writing it down……walked us through the specifics of what he was getting and when and gave us some sage advice.  He was impressed with the “package” Isaiah got.  So are we.  After all, Isaiah IS a special guy.
20150820_170903Walking out of there, sun shining on Nittnay Mountain, perfect temperature, Ann finally satisfied that everything was in place and Isaiah was taken care of…….it hit.  This was it.  I could see the tears welling in Ann’s eyes and I too was losing it.  I pulled myself together and seeing nobody was around, said goodbye to the boy we helped turn into a man.  Not our son by blood, but as much a part of our family as Ryan, Kevin an Chris.  We will miss you Isaiah Wayne Harris.20150819_220838

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Why did the turtle cross the road?

road turtleI am not chicken to bring up this age old question.  Especially when I have photographic evidence.  I was cruising around Turner this afternoon, looking for a feature photo.  I had an assignment to photograph some old guys putting flags on the poles for the 4th of July festivities this weekend.  They finished early, so twernt nothing to shoot. I had an hour to burn until my next assignment, so I did what I do so often.  Cruise, explore and look for stuff to shoot.

I was winding my way around an old road that led to nowhere, and spotted this fellow in the middle.  Didn’t want the answer to the question of why did he cross the road to be…..to get splattered.  So, I decided to take my “lunch break” from work at that moment.  Because, if I was working, I could never interfere with the situation.  A photojournalist does not manipulate situations.  They don’t get involved.  So, I was just being “nature boy” as a fellow colleague once ordained me.  I stopped the car and watched him crawl from the side of the road with the little brook to the pond across the street.

As I got closer, I noticed two slimy black nodes on his back, curling up into a ball.  So, I realized why he was crossing the road. To get the damn leaches off his back and leave them behind.turtle leach

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Last years Next bike

batesBIKE1Walking my faithful friend Allie most every day for the past 11 years through Bates College, I  often notice gradual changes in the scenery.  I also take note of some things that don’t.   There are more skateboards on the college campus these days, and the bicycles that are around, are nothing to write home about.  Basic modes of transportation sleep on a variety of bike racks scattered here and there throughout the campus. Last year I began to notice this bicycle that never moved all summer.  I surmised it was left by a graduating senior, or perhaps one on a semester abroad.  As winter approached, I would periodically whip out my smart phone and take a photo.  It’s been over a year now and I have a feeling the owner no long longs for their Next ride.batesBIKE7batesBIKE9batesBIKE3

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Manipulated and file eagles

Contrasty EagleI was shooting families frolicking in Tripp Lake earlier this week.Fun in the summer sun at Tripp Lake in Poland  We needed a feature photo as none of the stories the reporters were working on had potential for good art.  I spotted an eagle being chased off by smaller birds and pointed it out.  Two women with their children began talking about eagles, and how this one is always around.  He flew over and I took a photo.  I only had my zoom, so, without the 400 with the extension, it wouldn’t be good enough to publish.  When I was going through the photos, trying to figure out which cute kid photo was the best, I came across the eagle photo again.  I cropped it hard vertical, just as it would fit in our Facebook banner, but it still wasn’t good enough.  I then opened up the Levels in Photoshop and cranked the shadows and highlights to their maximum and created something really cool.  But it could never run in the newspaper, too much manipulation.  But it was a cool image and I wanted to share.  So I was going to post it to my facebook page, but I should have left hours earlier, so I logged off and went home to walk the dog and play Cinderella.  The day would have a happy ending as I ended up with my bride on the porch, IPA in hand.

When I came across the altered eagle image later in the week, today, I again pondered tossing it out on the web.  I played around with the levels again, and still wasn’t overly impressed, Contrasty Eaglebut something tugged at me. I set aside the eagle idea and got to work on processing other assignments I didn’t get to earlier in the week.  While looking for a file photo for another story,  I again came across eagle photos I had shot in the past, and said, “it’s not throwback Thursday, but let’s make it Eagle Saturday.”  What? I might by flying off the handle here.  It might be a soar spot for you, or you might think I have flown the coup, but I am on a wing and a prayer that people might flock to my blog if I post more often.  Perhaps I am just a little flighty and my head is in the clouds, but I’m gonna leave the nest and flap my wings with this blog thing.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal State game warden Dave Chabot is all smiles as he waits for wildlife rehabilitator Sheri Gee to come transport this mature bald eagle to the Avian Haven in Freedom.  The bird was caught in a trap that was legally set in a field off Church Street in Leeds Tuesday afternoon.  Bob Scott from Leeds was watching eagles feed on the deer carcas from his home next to the field when he noticed this one was stuck on something.  He called Chabot who responded and discovered that the trap had done just what it was designed to do, trap animals of prey.  The trap was set for coyote and fox, but it is not uncommon for birds to also fall victim of the device that is designed to clamp around the paws or toe of an animal of prey.  As is usually the case, the bird was only caught on the talons and appeared to be unharmed.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal
State game warden Dave Chabot is all smiles as he waits for wildlife rehabilitator Sheri Gee to come transport this mature bald eagle to the Avian Haven in Freedom. The bird was caught in a trap that was legally set in a field off Church Street in Leeds Tuesday afternoon. Bob Scott from Leeds was watching eagles feed on the deer carcas from his home next to the field when he noticed this one was stuck on something. He called Chabot who responded and discovered that the trap had done just what it was designed to do, trap animals of prey. The trap was set for coyote and fox, but it is not uncommon for birds to also fall victim of the device that is designed to clamp around the paws or toe of an animal of prey. As is usually the case, the bird was only caught on the talons and appeared to be unharmed.

 Wildlife Rehabilitator Sherri Gee releases this adult male bald eagle back into the wild Saturday afternoon in a field near where it was accidentally trapped on Tuesday in Leeds, Maine.  A neighbor to the field spotted the eagle in distress and called a game warden.  After it was freed from the trap, it was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine where it was checked over and given a clean bill of health.  In the background is Charlie Todd from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife who transported the bird from Avian Haven.

Wildlife Rehabilitator Sherri Gee releases this adult male bald eagle back into the wild Saturday afternoon in a field near where it was accidentally trapped on Tuesday in Leeds, Maine. A neighbor to the field spotted the eagle in distress and called a game warden. After it was freed from the trap, it was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine where it was checked over and given a clean bill of health. In the background is Charlie Todd from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife who transported the bird from Avian Haven.

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A pair of bald eagles wait out a driving, freezing rain on a branch overhanging the Androscoggin River next to Gulf Island Dam in Lewiston.

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Someone driving on River Road in Auburn noticed a pair of eagles fighting in the air. They locked talons and cartwheeled to the ground. They stopped and found the pair, locked in a death grip in the middle of a stream. They called police, who called a wildlife expert. They arrived just after I did and took a towel and threw it over them. Just before the towel landed, they broke apart and flew/hopped away. They stared each other down and dried their wings for another 15 minutes before flying off in different directions. It was surmised that the older male was defending his territory from a young intruder.

A bald eagle soars over the Androscoggin River between Lewiston and Auburn as Tuesday afternoon's strong wind unfurls the American Flag in Bonney Park in Auburn.

A bald eagle soars over the Androscoggin River between Lewiston and Auburn as Tuesday afternoon’s strong wind unfurls the American Flag in Bonney Park in Auburn.

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Russ and Isaiah’s Excellent Adventure to North Carolina

A wet and soggy start at 4:30 am.  Thanks to my son Kevin for pulling an all nighter and dropping us off at the airport. Breezed through security and were bored waiting to board.  I in airport2 Not sure if Captain Kirk was having trouble with his tribbles or the fact that Spock is gone, but the Priceline negotiator sent us to Detroit for our connection to North Carolina.Portland from air  Go figure, but the price was good and the flights went off without a hitch and we are sitting in our hotel room before 2:00.  Russ N I in planeIsaiah in roomHeading over to the track in a bit to register and meet up with the other standout Maine athlete, Kate Hall.

Really glad we are here early to get acclimated with the heat and humidity…..Gonna hit 90 today.

Thank you again for everyone in the community that pitched in and donated to our GoFundMe page so we could come.

Just got to the stadium and it is pretty impressive.

20150619_170548Immediately met up with fellow Maineah Kate Hall, warming up for her race tomorrow.

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Two elite runners with their elite coaches….ok, well, two elite runners and one elite coach….and a coach like, father like, and big time fan.
20150619_165658Saturday was a relaxing day for us, getting adjusted to the climate.  Sunny one minute, pouring rain the next.  The rain was a relief after the incredibly high humidity and the temperature in the mid 90’s.  Just as Kate Hall was about to run her 100m, the skies opened up.  It was a good showing for the dynamo from Casco, winning a broKate Hall, center, a Lake Region High School graduate, crosses the finish line in third place during a downpour, just behind the winnter, Jayla Kirkland, on her left, and second place Twanisha Terry, second from left, during Saturday's 100 m race at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.After an early dinner, we hit the hay and I got hit in the head with a pillow a few minutes later.  I warned Isaiah that I snored, bad, he knows from the walls shaking in his room that abuts me and Ann’s, but he falls asleep with his TV on, so it has never been a problem.  But I armed him with a couple extra pillows for ammo to toss at me if I was sawing wood a little loud.  Once again the Priceline negotiator misled me.  The photos of the hotel room had a partition between the bedroom and the living area with the sofa couch.  Was hoping that was enough of a buffer, but not.  I woke and tossed it back for future use, but fortunately he fell asleep and there were no more incidents.  Isaiah at Nationals
Up early-ish and prepped the uniform.  We shopped last night for some funk orange sox to match his spikes.  “Gotta make a statement and stand out.”  After watching every other runner Saturday wearing spandex, there was no way I was going to be the only one to be wearing his baggy running shorts from his LHS uniform.  After chasing the pink line through Greensboro, listening to monotone Mary sending us here and there via Hertz GPS. We finally found a Dick’s Sporting Goods and found something that would work.  However, there was no thought of trading in his Lewiston jersey for something fancy.  Lewiston PRIDE.  He will wear it forever.  Probably never wear a Lewiston jersey in another race again, but the grit and determination, work ethic and drive are something that will be with Isaiah forever.  From the Montello track, basketball at the Armory, and Fly football at the LAP football field, basketball everywhere and running here, there and everywhere laid the foundation.  He is proud of his roots and his community, one who came together to send him here. He will never forget that.

Sunday morning we got to the Stadium early.  No rain predicted today, but it would be a scorcher.  We found some shade in the shadow of a light stancion and watched some races.  It was an impressive sight.  I began to feel insecure.  Did we do everything we could to prepare I.  Most had coaches and personal trainers with them.  Ridged training routines, strict diets, top notch everything.  Thought about that for a few seconds and set it aside.  Heart, soul and determination  is far more important than all that fancy stuff.  I knew he would do well, and it will be just the beginning.  Isaiah at Nationals Isaiah at NationalsIt was time for him to go warm up and I gave him some sage advice.  Some top notch coaching if I say so myself.  “Good luck, kick ass.”  I was not sure who was more nervous, but I was his usual calm and cool, confident.  When the gun went off and I took off in the lead, I had a good feeling.  He led all the way until the back stretch.  I looked at the time and it was where we wanted to be, so I thought this was good as he would be pushed and might run a faster race.  Sure enough he dug deep and pulled ahead in the final yards to win his heat.  The time stood until the final heat where two runners beat his time.  We all wondered how he wold have done if he was in the final heat with those top runners.  But a bronze medal, personal best and new state of Maine record is mighty fine.  With the training he will be getting at Penn State, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be breaking records and wowing us all in the future.  Everyone who has had the good fortune of having Isaiah in their lives will be sad to see him leave our “village, ” but we will all be cheering him on and thanking him for touching our hearts.  Isaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at Nationals

Isaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at Nationals

Isaiah Harris wins bronze at the 2015 New Balance Nationals Outdoor at A&T Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday Jun 21, 2015Isaiah Harris wins bronze at the 2015 New Balance Nationals Outdoor at A&T Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday Jun 21, 2015

No sooner than Isaiah stepped down from the podium, another Maine athlete, Kate Hall, made history.  Breaking a record that stood for nearly four decades, she broke the national record in the final jump in the long jump competition.  One of the first to congratulate her was, of course, Isaiah.  I was so proud to hear everyone talking about the athletes from Maine that stole the show.  Wicked proud of both of them and good luck in the future.

Casco's Kate Hall flies though the air during Sunday's long jump at the New Balance Nationals Track & Field competiton in Greensboro, N.C.  After a 3rd place finish in the 100 meter race on Saturday, she set a new national record that has stood for nearly 4 decades and is in the top 10 jumps in the world this year.

Casco’s Kate Hall flies though the air during Sunday’s long jump at the New Balance Nationals Track & Field competiton in Greensboro, N.C. After a 3rd place finish in the 100 meter race on Saturday, she set a new national record that has stood for nearly 4 decades and is in the top 10 jumps in the world this year.

Isaiah at Nationals

New Balance Outdoor NatioanlsKate I and I

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