Now He’s Cookin’

Chapter 32, Blog 4

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Per Harry’s instructions, I called Nicky, who worked at the Valparaiso YMCA. Could I use the whirlpool this afternoon, maybe sleep in it for a couple of days?

No problem, said Nicky, provided I would autograph a “few” items for the Y’s annual fundraising auction. Meanwhile, Harry tugged the overstuffed easy chair into the middle of the living room and ordered me to sit. Those witch doctor eyes of his began to whirl. He always got that look whenever he tried a new casserole with a complicated recipe.

“Concentrate,” he said in a low monotone. “Close your eyes and summon forth every fiber of your well-being.”

I smelled orangey incense wafting through the air.

“What IS that stench?”

“SILENCE!” Harry commanded. “Close your eyes!”

Without his walker, Harry ambled around my chair, once, twice, three times.

“Meditate,” he said. “Meditate as if your lily-white life depended upon it. And concentrate. Concentrate as if it were your last breath.”

A smile slipped out – as if I could do this with a straight face.

“I saw that,” said Harry. “Forget it. Forget it.”

“No, no, please,” I begged. “I’ll try harder. Please, go on.”

“You think THIS is funny?”

“No, of course not.”

“I do not have to put up with any of this shit,” said my coach. “I can walk out that door right now and never look back.”

A cold shudder curled down my spine. Studying Harry these past months, I knew he was serious. It was no bluff. Sucking a deep breath, I resolved to try my best. I focused on the dull pain in my legs. That helped.

“All right, I’m ready.”

“Then close your eyes!” he said.

“They’re closed.”

“Target. Target every cell in that miserable wreck of a Baby Boomer body. Will it. WILL every cell to heal.”

“You’re scaring me …”

“CHANT!” Harry shouted. “HEAL!”

“Heal. Heal. Heeeaaalll …”

I chanted as long as I could, possibly five minutes.

“Heal. Heal. …”

“Enough!” said coach. “Take your bony ass down to that Y, swim three laps in the pool, then sit in the whirlpool for 10 minutes. Then swim three more laps, sit in the whirlpool for 10 more minutes, and then swim three more laps. Then hurry back here, and we’ll pack you in ice.”



… is he a whack job or what …

“OK,” I said.

“And Charlie, do it exactly as I say or it won’t have the desired effect. Understand?”


… talk about half-baked …

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

Deal’s A Deal

Chapter 32, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


I couldn’t blame the guy. No 20-something wants to admit a man old enough to be his dad had kicked his ass in a foot race. I won’t lie. I was exhilarated I beat him and those other babies. It made me feel powerful and vibrant and young  …

And leave it to Melinda, my wife, to keep me grounded.

“Charles, are you going to decide about Depends or not?”

“I’m not wearing diapers today, tomorrow …”

“We’ll get $10,000 if you wear them for a 30-second commercial. Thirty stupid seconds. You know how long it takes me to make $10,000?”

“No, I don’t know.”

“Almost four months, Charles,” my agent said. “Tell me you cannot wear them for 30 seconds.”


Powerful or not, I gave in. If they want to pay me $10,000 to stand naked on my head in the driveway, I guess I would do that, too, although I could already hear Ralphie.

“Hey, moron, jist give me da ol’ cloth ones any day.”

The real deal was my legs still hurt on Day 11 after Des Moines. They refused to loosen. My angst needle climbed, but I didn’t dare tell anyone. Of course, Harry wasn’t just anyone.

“What’s wrong, Princess?” asked my coach. “You’re not getting enough Chi, are you?”

“Nuthin’.” I said, toweling off the sweat.

“Well, you are either hiding something or you are pregnant,” said my coach. “Which is it? Go ahead. At this point, we have no secrets.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Good enough,” said Harry. “Tell me when you are ready.”

He pivoted on his walker and started to roll away.

“However,” he added. “Do not wait until it is too late.”


I hobbled after him like a three-legged giraffe. Harry turned and saw. I’ll never forget the look on his face.

“Why in the name of Moses did you not tell me, Son?”

“Pride,” I answered. “I may be old, but I still have my pride. You know that.”


“Really, Harry, I’m not that old, am I?”

“Sounds more like vanity to me. Simply amazing. An athlete gets a modicum of success, and it goes straight to his brain,” my coach said. “What we need here is a teachable moment. Do you think we have a teachable moment here?”

“I’m not sure.”

“I will accept that as a ‘no.’”

I admitted my legs ached ever since Iowa. For all his years of training, Harry was baffled. Eleven days after a race was plenty for a normal recovery. What to do? His healing tricks usually worked on someone half my age. Would they work on the abused legs of a 49-year-old?

Harry said we did not have a minute to lose.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang