The Kindness of Leslie

I know that not everyone is fond of their high school years.  Cliquish behavior can alienate and even anger the high school student feeling left out or bullied.  Fortunately for me, my high school experience was not like that.  Northwestern was for 7-12 grades in four towns, Norfolk being one of them.  My graduating class from these four towns was 124, not exactly tiny but small enough to be intimate.  We weren’t perfect, but we were relatively free from cliques in comparison to other classes and other schools.

Leslie McCormick, now Leslie Melody, is a classmate of mine that lived near the American Discovery Trail.  She came out to day hike with us from Inspiration Point to Walnut Creek, a scenic section of trail that went from rolling hills to the shores of reservoirs to ridge walking over steep terrain.

DSCN0206LeslieUs

Leslie enjoyed hiking, but she was not accustomed to the type of mileages that thru-hikers put in.  Also, the most challenging part of the hike came at the end of the day.  I had to check myself as I tended to get ahead of her towards the end.  Nevertheless shes was a thoroughly buoyant spirit throughout, providing much welcome company on the breaking in portion of our journey when we also found the going challenging.

This may not seem like kindness to you but Leslie knew this would be challenging for her and she joined us anyways.  The essence of kindness is to risk a little something of yourself, your comfort, your security maybe, even your safety, because you care about someone else.

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2 Responses to The Kindness of Leslie

  1. Robin Rivard says:

    Kirk,
    Here is what I posted as a blog on my site
    Thanks for old lessons learned– hope it is mostly accurate

    What if I Don’t Reach My Destination

    Goal setting is something we all do throughout our lives. For some of us it may be a repeating goal like a New Years resolution that we do every year. For others of us it may be tied in to some accomplishment tied to earning more, having more time off, planning a future event like a wedding, or vacation, or starting a family. We even make goals on which level we want to reach in our latest game system. For some it may be owning a particular car, or buying a house, or something tied to a hobby. Most of us have goal strategies for whatever job we have. My job as a internet representative at a local dealership group is tied to bringing people into our showrooms to purchase a car. We will never get everybody to come in and it is probably 50% or less we get an appointment for. A few years back some tee shirts were distributed at our dealership with an interesting saying on it. “Perfection is our goal, but Excellence will be tolerated.” I know it was an exaggeration but it brings up the question ” What do you do if you don’t reach your goal?”
    College was an interesting time for me, as I grew up stretching myself and seeing my limits. I learned how to juggle three tennis balls from one end of the hall to the other, on a dare, saying I could do it one evening. There were always new adventures on the college campus. A group of us got together and decided that we would change the living arrangement in our dorm rooms in the “Jungle” dormitory area and combined two rooms with four guys to have a bedroom and suite area. One of my roomates for those years was Kirk, who was an avid hiker and some one who really did not limit his goals to the easy things. He set a goal to hike the Appalachian trail during summer break. The trail goes from what I thought was Florida to Maine, but after looking it up recently see that it goes from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. I knew when he talked about it, that he was set on his destination of Mount Katahdin in Maine. I watched as he prepared for his trip and always heard of the final goal being Mount Katahdin. In fact after he returned that fall to school I remember snacking on the left over gorp he brought back, more than a few times.
    But, when he returned that fall, I found out that his group did not make it to Mount Katahdin as they hoped when they left, but it was interesting to me his goal wasn’t dropped but was just postponed. The destination was still the same and just hiking almost all of the better than 2,000 miles of the trail was not enough. You see the excitement of preparing for the trip hadn’t waned, the goal was still Katahdin even though it had to be achieved later. He did finish the hike that fall, if I remember correctly. I have learned much in the same way that once a destination is set, or a goal is established, even though it doesn’t fit on my schedule it is important to not give up, or if I achieve my goal there are always more destinations ahead. There should always be another destination down the road. So let’s change the convesation from what goals have you achieved to what destinations lie ahead.
    Kirk has hiked over 20,000 miles and his blog is at http://www.hikinghumanitarian.com/ if you want to learn more about what he is doing.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Rob. I look back at our time in Litchfield Hall fondly. In fact, I’ve written about the trust involved in leaving our “suite” room unlocked and opened for the whole floor to enjoy.

      Just to flesh out the missing part of your story. When we arrived at the base of Katahdin they closed the mountain down due to bad weather. Since we were on a tight schedule because of school, getting to Katahdin with no extra days to spare, we had to return to school and come back to the mountain two weeks later to finish the final 5.2 miles.

      May you continue to have a positive impact on others.

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