Sam the Crow, alive and well?

For a man, I’m surprisingly body conscious.

To put it bluntly, I’m shaped weird.

Shopping for new clothes — pants particularly — is a frustrating endeavor, which I guess is why, in McDonaldland, Grimace just never wore any pants.

If I could get away with it and not run afoul of Officer Big Mac, I might seriously be tempted to go pant-less as well.

At the very least, my “Star Wars” pajama pants — I said I was a man; I didn’t say I was mature — would work just the same.

And so whenever we get any sort of nice weather — this time of year, I’m talking anything above 0 — I take to the streets and attempt to jog.

I know what you’re thinking, because my wife says it all the time.

“Why don’t you just get a membership to the rec center?”

“Because,” I insist, “I’m already paying for the pavement on the streets.”

I used to like jogging at night, for one simple reason: It felt like I was running faster.

Man, under the cover of darkness, I pretty much feel like Usain Bolt.

Daylight only reveals the sad truth.

I am far, far slower. The scenery just sort of inches by.

In fact, I once glanced down to see my shadow and it reminded me of what a mastodon must have looked like as it struggled desperately to escape from the La Brea Tar Pits.

But, that at least gave me something to think about as I trudged along.

For daylight jogging, daydreaming is crucial. If I’m focused solely on my labored breathing and the up-down-up-down motion of my man-boobs — I’d like to call them pecs, but let’s not kid ourselves — my one-mile jog feels like I’m attempting to run the Boston Marathon.

The other day, while thundering around the track at Daubendiek Park, I heard a crow caw overhead.

Instantly, for reasons unknown, it made me recall Sam the Crow.

Anybody remember Sam the Crow?

To someone my age, Sam the Crow was like something out of a tall tale.

He was this awe-inspiring, folkloric figure shrouded in mystery, rumor and half-truths, not unlike Babe the Blue Ox.

To grown-ups, he was just an orphaned crow that some dude in Grand Junction (Leland Burkett) had nursed to adulthood.

But, Sam could do the neatest thing — he could allegedly speak.

Well, his vocabulary was limited mostly to just “hello” and “mama,” but still.

And Sam, according to the legend, would travel back and forth between Junction and Jefferson as he pleased.

One day, I was playing outside at my Grandma Virginia’s house on West Monroe Street and a crow suddenly landed on the garage.

Out of nowhere, a couple of older kids came running like crazy.

“That’s Sam the Crow!” they exclaimed.

“Sam!” they shouted, as if expecting to be acknowledged by Sam himself.

To me, it looked like just a regular ol’ crow.

If this was indeed Sam, he didn’t give us any indication.

Maybe it was, who knows. Maybe he just didn’t want to draw a crowd.

Or, maybe, Sam had already forgotten the little people.

By that point, he was a star.

He was, after all, the subject of a 1982 story in The Jefferson Bee.

Within a year, though, Sam just up and vanished.

All these years later, I still wonder what happened to Sam the Crow.

Maybe he couldn’t handle his sudden fame and one night at the Redwood Motel, he OD’d on some bad carrion.

Or maybe, just maybe, he took his superior intellect and returned to the wild where, for the past 32 years, he’s been teaching the other crows how to talk, a la “Planet of the Apes.”


These are the types of things I think about when jogging.

I fully admit I’m weird — but you could tell that just by looking.

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