Running in Portland, Oregon -- 1996 CSTE Meetings

CSTE = Council of State & Territorial Epidemiologists

After a long day in epidemiologic discussions, its time for exercise!

At 3:30 I change into jogging clothes and descend through the cool lobby of the Hilton,
with green & white marbled floors and soft mahogany wood panels.

Walking down Salmon Street for 6 blocks, toward the river,
I notice many trees planted on the sidewalks.
Parks with ancient trees provide welcome shade.

Nearing the River, I pass the modern World Trade Center
with its glass and aluminum superstructure,
providing sharp contrast to the usual brick and concrete megaliths.

As I cross the final street before reaching the waterfront,
I notice a giant fountain spraying thick jets of sparkling water, joining in a crescendo.
Under the fountain many kids splash and scream exuberantly.

A small carnival parallels the river.
Here, a cornucopia of food awaits the hungry:
Walla burgers, Bar-B-Q, polish sausage, and hot dogs.
Judging by the noxious odors, some food is far from fresh!

Fat citizens, with bellies bulging under t-shirts,
grouse and gorge themselves,
ever-vigilant for odors and calories.

After a quick warm-up, I begin to run parallel to the River.
I keep between the amusements and the rails, darting here and there,
avoiding the strollers -- there are few runners here.

I run under several giant bridges of grey steel,
each with mini-arcades of kids, cotton candy, parents, peanuts,
and enough stuffed animals to populate a virtual zoo.

Running steadily, I am determined to locate the end of the path
and circle back toward the fountain.
Finally, I cross two railroad tracks and reach a high wall.

Then, doubling back, I pass the now-familiar amusements, food stands, and bridges.
Reaching the fountain, I keep running in the opposite direction,
then pass through a large bowl-like grassy depression leading to the River.
A sign is posted: "Avoid Swimming, Contaminated Water."

Further, I reach River Place with upscale outdoor restaurants and shops.
People gather, drinking wine on a lazy afternoon.
Keeping pace, I pass a marina and look for sailboats, but spot only a couple.

Later, I cross a grassy park, where the path narrows
and eventually reaches a large multistory building glass building.
There, the river path ends, so I reverse direction.

On the way back, I consider stopping for cool icewater,
but keep running toward the fountain.
Then, reaching it for the third time, I feel great
and decide to keep running even further.

So I continue past the food stalls until I reach the first bridge
then turn back again toward the now too- familiar fountain.

But this time, I stop and end my most enjoyable run in Portland, Oregon.
I walk back to the Hilton and have a nice steam bath!

Jay Smith, June 1996

Running in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela

At 4:00 p.m., I exit the Guayana International Hotel near the Rio Cairini to run.
The rain is warm and hard, so I discard my shirt, to warm up under the portico.

Runing toward the River Park I find the gate closed,
then change directions towards another park away from the river.

This park is a maze of diverse paths among forests and open land.
Spotting a picnic in progress by a lake, I run closeby the crowd,
drawing strange stares.

But the paths in this park are short so I head towards the International Hotel.
I return again to the locked gate, and discover a small opening to one side.

Passing through, I dash down the black asphalt path by the river rapids.
The path meanders through a heavily wooded domain.

After five minutes, I begin to pass lovers walking slowly.
I yell "Hola!" as I pass but this attracts only strange stares!

Then, I reach the noisy, horizontal waterfalls, wide, but not high.
This is a spectacular place to run!

Knowing that the gate is supposed to close at 5:00 p.m.,
I increase my pace, not wanting to sleep in the park!

Afterwards, I sight and reach the end of the park.
There, I reverse direction and experience again the raging waterfalls.

On the way back, I find the park nearly empty.
Everyone has boarded a bus.
The riders wave enthusiastically as I pass by.

Continuing up the climbing path, I reach the small door found in the gate.
It is still unlocked!

In the pouring rain, I jog past several astonished onlookers in the hotel parking lot!
So, after a 40-minute run, I am back from where I began, under the portico.

Not wishing to wet the hotel lobby, I ask the doorman for a towel en espanol.
This request does not lead to a towel, however!

So, there is no choice but to parade through the lobby, dripping wet
leading to ever more stares!

But I have found Puerto Ordaz a great place to run!

Portrait of An Evening in the Fall

~Twilight at the Summer House~

~The Sky~

The western sky is ablaze with pastel hues,
an artist's canvas of pinks and blues.

Behind swaying trees, colored clouds expand,
guided by an unseen hand.

~The Sounds~

Lakewater gargles through the drain,
fed by a light and steady rain.

Crickets softly chirp their song,
while katydids noisily continue along.

~The Lake~

On the surface of the lake,
a glimmering reflection do the lights
of the summer house make.

Nestled by the shore, oaks and pines
rustle softly in the wind,
as their woody branches bend.


So here, peace and quiet do reign,
interrupted only by a passing car or plane.

S. Jay Smith September, 1996

~~Sailing Flavors~~


Visualize a hazy windless summer day,
a sailboat drifts with halyards at play,
From the dock, an image blurred,
not a sail is stirred.


In the fall the wind's in store,
sailors dream for more and more.
Lines are made fast and tight,
the crew pulls with all its might.


Winter brings cold, even ice,
sailing demands a heavy price.
But on days when temperatures rise,
you can see sails against the skies.


Spring's the time for cleaning boats,
and everything that floats.
No more cold, no more ice,
sailing can be very nice!

S. Jay Smith/ October 1996

~~A Storm at Sea~~

Angry waves cascade in a tall green wall,
it is fortunate that the sailboat has survived at all.

The sloop is battened and reefed to the hilt,
its hull and mast are powerfully built.

A woman and man are huddled in the cockpit,
against the wind and rain they sit.

The monohull careens, its angle is high,
the wind and the waves ensure that nothing is dry.

The storm is bursting in all of its fury,
the skills of the sailors before its jury.

But the crew know what they are doing,
even as the storm is ensuing.

So the boat sails on the thru the night and bye,
while the storm begins to die.

Now the waves are not so tall,
perhaps the sailors will survive it all.

The dawn is rising, the sky is blue,
the sojourners know it is nearly through.

The waves recede, the winds abate,
the boat returns to its previous state.

Coffee is made, pancakes too,
a hearty breakfast for the crew of two.

So the sailors wonder, now that the storm is past,
did it even notice their mast?

S. Jay Smith/ October 27, 1996


Friends are like a fire on a winter's day,
they warm the heart and keep the cold away.

Fires may be blazing, short, and intense,
or they may smoulder with heat in suspense.

Friendship, too may be brief, even wrong,
alternatively, it can be exceedingly long.

To maintain friendship, partners must care,
they have to be willing to share.

Also, true friends should never lecture or swear,
the duty is just to be there.

So, to keep a friend forever long,
chose a partner who is very strong.

Finally, amigo, so worthy, so bold, know that
your friendship is more valuable than gold.

S. Jay Smith
[for B.E.D.]
September 21, 1996

The Cycle of Life

In life's twilight, a father is slowly dying,
as his son is silently crying.

Years earlier, the father was so strong,
while the son could only toddle along.

Later, the father continued his work and his way,
and kept his son at play.

Many an example was laid out and set,
the son grew wiser yet.

During son's schooling, dad worked to provide,
while the son learned all about pride.

As college approached, the father in his prime,
the son was learning all about duty, honor, and time.

Now the dad realized, the son needed to be free,
to attempt to truly become "me."

So the father stepped back, relinquished command,
but was happy to offer a guiding hand.

As the years passed, the father kept hoping,
while the son grew adept at coping.

Now retired, the father begins to step down,
while the son tests wearing the crown.

So the Cycle of Life is about to unfold,
and its beauty is something to behold.

But acceptance is elusive, acceptance is hard,
it is certainly an ace of a card.

Jay Smith, November 16, 1996

A Starry Night at Lake Windwood

Set against a starry night,
lanterns glow with soft yellow light.

A breeze drifts across the lake,
leaving ripples in its wake.

Leaves are fluttering to the ground,
how is it that so many about?

The stream gurgles like a brook,
as water flows through its nook.

And if you gaze into the sky,
you may see birds passing by.

Frogs are croaking at the shore,
outdoing each other more and more.

Moonlight filters through the trees,
broken by a wavering breeze.

The surface of the lake is dark,
but the dock appears illuminated by a spark.

And if you close your eyes and mind,
harmony and peace you will surely find.

S. Jay Smith, November 16, 1996


A teacher works a long, long, day,
to mold her students like modeling clay.
(for far too little recognition & pay!)

A good teacher must be full of cheer,
and hold her students very dear.

Also, teachers have to be exceedingly fair,
and just as important they have to care.

A teacher must hold the student's attention,
and impart her knowledge, according to convention.

Some teachers like to go by the book,
others are inventive and like to cook.

But, it is important not to judge the style,
as long as successful is the child.

The best teachers are worthy and bold,
they are more valuable than gold.

Finally, it is important to note,
a good teacher's class can sail like a boat!

Dedicated to V. Anne Smith
S. Jay Smith, September 21, 1996

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