Pipeline memories: Screaming baby ended run through park

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 4, 2009 

PIPELINE MEMORIES

Keenan Gray, 10, and his mother, Tonian Gray stand at an overlook at Whatcom Falls Park where tree trunks burnt by the 1999 pipeline explosion can still be seen on Sunday, April 26, 2009. On the day of the explosion, Tonian was on her way to jog through the park with Keenan in a stroller when Keenan started crying. She decided to turn back and head home. Soon after, the explosion occurred. Tonian says that she is very thankful Keenan caused her not to continue into the park.

DANNY GAWLOWSKI — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

I was a new mother to my only child, who was all of 2 1/2 months old. I am also an avid runner and on that day I was so excited to finally take my jogger stroller on its first ride with my son.

However I didn't realize how long it was going to take me to get things all together and get him in, and all that goes with new motherhood. I was a little late in getting started on what my vision of this great first run with my son would be like ...

As we headed past Bloedel Donovan, my entire vision had changed, as Keenan was not enjoying his new ride one bit. He was so loud and clear as he screamed for the first half-mile of my four-mile route that I couldn't keep going to Whatcom Falls Park (this is, and will always be, my favorite place to run). So we headed back home.

As we approached our driveway, I heard and felt the boom. It shook me to my core.

Then, over the crest of Alabama I ran with Keenan in my arms to see the black cloud. My husband, neighbor and I just stood there, speechless.

I thank God for my screaming baby who forced me to turn around and end my "perfect run" with him. He turns 10 in March, the same age as Wade and Stephen.

I now run while he rides his bike next to me in Whatcom Falls Park, and I am so grateful.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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