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Superhero Tabby

When we last left our heroine… usually that’s me, but this time it’s my schnoodle, Tabby (when we last left me, I had my wrist to my forehead, but let’s not dwell on that). I was saying, when we last left our heroine, Tabby, the superhero dog, she was on her way to the Superhero Sprint, accompanied by her arch-nemesis, the Evil Woman CinCin (do I need to tell you that’s me?).

For anyone just tuning in, The Superhero Sprint is an event sponsored by Herkimer Now, a committee whose aim is to revitalize Herkimer, NY, starting with Main Street.

I talked on Saturday about getting on my Evil Woman CinCin outfit (arrow back if you’re curious; I’m too lazy to do one of those ping back things). Registration for the Sprint was at ten by Basloe Library. We left our house between quarter and ten of. I always get nervous about being late for these things.

As I walked down the sidewalk, it occurred to me that I was a middle-aged lady wearing a homemade super-villain costume, walking with my little dog. It might be appropriate or at least understandable, I thought, to feel just a little self-conscious. Then I thought, if anybody gives me a funny look, I’ll just say, “What? You never saw a super villainess out for a stroll with her arch nemesis?” Alas, I did not get the opportunity to say that line, but I could not resist sharing the thought.

A nice little crowd had already gathered at the library, mostly families. Now I felt a little self-conscious, attending such an event on my own. I knew I should have borrowed a small child for the occasion. Well, Tabby would have to do. I chatted up a few people and enjoyed looking at all the costumes. Quite a few people petted Tabby, so she was a happy dog.

Eventually a DJ started playing some tunes. I would have liked to dance but felt it would be making myself undesirably conspicuous. An adult Joker was dancing with a very young SuperGirl, and two other super girls danced together. I don’t think Tabby wanted to dance; she was looking around for more people to pet her (she found some).

When it was time for the race to start, Concerned Citizens went and stood in the middle of the blocked off street. Some of them had signs that said things like “Biff!” and “Yikes!” The Villain, who was rocking an awesome fake mustache, ran the course first, a simple down and back on the one block. The heroes were to pursue him, stopping at tables along the way. From the American Legion they got a flag, from the police department a D.A.R.E. sticker, and from the fire department a water balloon with which to ultimately vanquish the Villain.

Tabby had pulled me across the street to sniff a promising tree near the fire department guys. I had seen the box of water balloons and gotten a little nervous. I was in a villain costume, after all.

When the runners took off, I asked Tabby if she wanted to run with them. She declined. We retreated to a safe distance from the water balloons and watched the fun. I don’t know who played the Villain, but he certainly had a good sense of humor.

After the Sprint, the kids got gift bags, and prizes were awarded for the best costumes and by drawings. Granola bars, apples and bottled water were available. Tabby and I had some water. I had foresightedly put a small bowl for Tabby in my fanny pack. She drank a little, mostly to be polite, I think. I offered some to the only other dog there, who seemed happy to take a drink too. We did not win a prize, appropriately enough because, costume notwithstanding, I was there as a spectator.

It looked as if everybody had a good time. I’m glad to see the Superhero Sprint become an annual event. Perhaps next year I will participate as a volunteer. Maybe they’ll let me hold the sign that says, “Yikes!”

Super Sprint

For those of you just tuning in, this is a continuation of yesterday’s post about the Superhero Sprint sponsored by Herkimer Now, a group working to revitalize downtown Herkimer, NY. It took place last Saturday, Aug. 25.

I had planned to walk from my house to the event. Tabby was happy enough when I got her into harness and leash. However, once out on the driveway in the hot sunshine, she just stopped and looked at me. That’s what Tabby does when she does not want to walk any further.

I tried to encourage her, but she was having none of it. What to do? I did not see how I could go without her. After all, she was the superhero. I was only the villain-cum-hapless-sidekick. I knew Tabby would add a lot more to the event than I would.

“Should we take the car?” I asked. She seemed to like the suggestion. I went back into the house to get my purse and car keys. Tabby pulled me right up to the car, proving she understood what I said.

I found a parking space half a block from the registration table, which was in front of the court house. Tabby didn’t seem to want to walk even that far, so I carried her. Once we got closer to people, she was a lot happier to be there. Tabby loves people. Almost everybody wanted to pet her, which of course was perfectly fine with her.

After signing in and paying my two dollars, we wandered over to the shade of Christ Episcopal Church, where other people were congregating. There were lots of kids and their parents, mostly dressed in Halloween costumes. I noticed a preponderance of Batman (and girl), but there was an adorable Supergirl in a wagon holding a Spiderman stuffed toy, and a beautiful little redhead in a filmy green costume with lots of leaves. I’m not sure who she was, but I’ve mentioned I don’t read comic books or even go to the movies very often.

“I should have borrowed a kid,” I said.

“That’s your kid,” a lady said, referring to Tabby. I knew I had been right to bring her.

One girl had on a t-shirt with peace signs.

“I’m Peace Woman,” she said.

“Your superpower is Not to Fight,” I said.

“Sometimes to not fight is really hard for me,” she said.

“Oh, to not fight is hard for all of us,” I assured her. I thought it was a great superpower and was glad I was not the only original character there.

One woman had on an impressive Cat Woman outfit, complete with enormous spike heels.

“I would not advise sprinting in those,” I told her.

“I can barely stand in them,” she confided.

“Well, you look terrific,” I said. She really did. I couldn’t rock that costume if I stayed on the South Beach Diet for the rest of my life.

Eventually we all lined up in front of the court house and a lady with a microphone got things started. She asked for a cheer from all the superheroes, then went on to thank some real life heroes who had made donations for the event. She also gave a shout out to those other real life heroes: policemen, firemen and EMTs, some of whom were present.

“And I want to thank the villains who have called this temporary truce,” she continued. Cat Woman and a woman in a leafy outfit similar to the little redhead’s were standing near a fabulous red convertible, trying not to look suspicious.

Suddenly the truce was called off! Leaf woman grabbed the lady with the microphone and pulled her into the convertible. They sped off down Main Street. The superheroes had to sprint to the rescue!

Tabby hurried down the street with the rest of them, not, much to my surprise, stopping to sniff at anything. At one point one of the littlest superheroes needed rescuing; I heard somebody crying for Mommy. But for the most part everybody loved it, participants and spectators who watched from the sidewalk.

At the end of Main Street, we were offered hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn. Tabby pulled me through the open door to Collis Hardware. I was happy to follow and enjoy a little air conditioning. The lady behind the counter said it was OK for a dog to be in the store and even came out from behind the counter to pet Tabby. A man in the store asked if she was a pit bull.

“Just an ordinary attack dog,” I said.

He said he was just kidding. I told him how Jim Parker at the Ilion Farmer’s Market says she’s a vicious attack dog because she shows her teeth.

I returned to the sidewalk while they drew for prizes (I didn’t win) then made the long trek back up Main Street to where I was parked. In cooler temperatures and ordinary clothing it does not seem so long. I felt a little self-conscious being in my costume not surrounded by others in costume, but nobody seemed to mind.

We drove back home and reverted to our normal personas. I think the Superhero Sprint was a resounding success. Everybody there seemed to have a great time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hopes it will become an annual event.