Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days
Despite what Bruce Springsteen might espouse, when you run with John Piekos on any of his old stomping grounds, the Glory Days stories are anything but boring.
Nor are they always steeped in facts.
A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Things are often told in a way that makes the narrator seem to have been a part of the story, and are good-natured. The line between legends and tall tales is distinguished primarily by age; many legends exaggerate the exploits of their heroes, but in tall tales the exaggeration looms large, to the extent of becoming the whole of the story.
And so it was, this balmy March morning, that John ventured beyond the icy driveways and cantaloupes of Westford to return to his roots in the Mill City, and log some miles running through Lowell's downtown and Centralville neighborhoods.
Naturally, Barry and I were there to capture pictures of the rare occurrence and once again found ourselves immersed into a 2017 volume of American Folklore Tall Tales, the John Piekos Projects
John was still smiling here, because he didn't realize we were about to ascend Third Street, one of the steepest hills Lowell has to offer runners. He was too busy remembering stories of E Streeter bachelor party surprises that had German Shepherds cowering under tables. Don't ask, the story can't be repeated on a family blog.
Once he realized he was in the wilds of Centralville, John called an audible to extend the route to include running past a relative's home where Tall Tales of Muhammad Ali abounded. Again, don't ask, some stories won't make sense even when recounted.
In the thick of Centralville, we witnessed some of the fury of this past week's storm. Beneath some of these fallen branches sits a parked car, its windshield shattered by the downed branches. This particular scene caught John completely by surprise, as he wasn't aware that Lowell boasted any flora or fauna.
Newsflash, John: even this guy made a pass through the Mill City in his heyday, because he, too, knows there's a Lot to Like About Lowell.
And then it happened. Apparently the bases-loaded epic tale of Chelmsford Little League has a Big City Rival. This one at Harry Allen Field involves a heckler who needed silencing, another bases-loaded situation, and yet one more tale as grandiose in its scale as this pair:
We'll just move on and let your imagination take you to where John is pointing
Coming back across the Ouellette Bridge after somehow managing to bypass Top Donut without stopping, it was time to take in some trail running, Lowell-style
So it turns out the walkway behind the Tsongas Arena and Boott Mills hasn't been completely shoveled out. That's okay, we've run John's driveway before, these conditions are mild compared to that.
John's giving Barry the Boott here
One final victory lap past my place of business. The throngs of spectators were inspirational.
That's it for this round of John's Tall Tales. We'll be sure to post the next volume once we run past yet another baseball field that was once the scene of one of his historic home runs.
Until then, Piekos Bill says keep on riding them tornados!