Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

My man Hal “Mr. Awesome” Walter, who races burros and raises an autistic son, is the subject of a profile over to Narrative.ly, just in time for Father’s Day.

You might think that managing what Hal prefers to call a “neurodiverse” child would be heavy lifting. But like burro racing, it has more to do with endurance, which just happens to be the title of a newish short book the man is hawking between his other chores.

Like father, like son: Young Harrison has his very own burro circa 2005.

Like father, like son: Young Harrison has his very own burro circa 2005.

Hal and I first met back in the Eighties on the copy desk of The Pueblo Chieftain, where we also dealt with varying degrees of neurodiversity and as a consequence enhanced our capacities to endure just about anything.

I went on to become an extraordinarily prosaic amateur cyclist while professionally lampooning leg-shavers, dope fiends, and leg-shaving dope fiends, while Hal became a world-champion pack-burro racer and author.

But we’ve remained friends despite our class differences, and thus I recommend that you read the profile and buy the book.

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9 Responses to “Endurance”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    That was a neat profile. The three treasures in the Tao are simplicity, patience, and compassion. I struggle with them. It strikes me that Hal has embraced them. I can see why he would be a good buddy to have. Thanks for the links.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I got problems there too, Pat. I’m simple, OK, good to go there; compassion, well, yeah, except sometimes. But patience? Oopsie. This may explain why the first tool I reach for is a hammer, and the second one is a bigger hammer, and the third one. …

  2. Steve O Says:

    Can’t believe “jack ass on the run @ gee-mail wasn’t already taken

    Great wisdom for parents of all flavored. Hell, for people in general, now that i think about it.

    Hal has a story about using the quadratic equation to teach his son to catch a ball. By putting him at the top of the stairs and throwing the ball up to him, the vertical velocity is near zero at the point where he reaches out for it. Basically the ball is hanging right in front of him, making it easier to catch. I’ve used that trick a hundred times. Guess I owe him $10 for that alone.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hal’s quite the character, to be sure.

      He was a straight jock once — the usual ball sports, weight room, etc. Then he discovered the joys of endurance sport and now he can do pretty much anything off the couch: run 30 miles up and down Mosquito Pass with a jackass; solo the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon; cross-country ski and snowshoe; you name it.

      He’s an accomplished hunter and fly fisherman, a shade-tree veterinarian, and a pretty fair writer, editor and photographer, too.

      Can’t draw cartoons worth a shit, though, so I have the edge on him there. Or so I like to think, anyway.

  3. Libby Says:

    The profile makes me want to read his books and blog. Thanks for the link.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Glad to oblige, Libby. Hal should really make better use of that blog. Lately he’s been mostly using Facebook as a platform, which has its limitations and exasperations.

      I’m thinking about walking away from FB again. The signal-to-noise ratio is all wrong.

  4. Les Edwards Says:

    Forgive me for changing the subject, but there are a lot of thoughtful, intelligent folk that comment on this site, and I’d like to poll them re: all this gun stuff.

    I’m not a gun owner, just a bike rider who enjoys great writing, so I’ve been reading here for a very long time.

    Let’s assume that all politics and practicality of my suggestion don’t count. I have gun friends who can’t seem to take and objective crack at this, but really, for protection, hunting and general gun sport, aren’t we really only in need of shotguns, bolt action rifles and some sort of simple pistols without all of the quick reload features?

    Please excuse my naiveté, but this all seems so insane.

    Thank you.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Hey Les, I suggest you look at Patrick’s previous post titled “Your Second Amendment At Work” where we commented on the gun stuff.

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    109 in the shade on back patio today. But I did ride at 0530, returning at 0730. Went uphill, but it still got hot. Glad I am not in Phoenix.

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