A Friends Farewell Gift

I’m sitting at my friends house laughing as stories get told and it strikes me what a gift she’s given those who made the trek for her memorial. We ride with a ladies motorcycle club and she was a member for most of the 80+ years the club has existed. One of the stories was our friend saying to a “younger” member “Boy I wish I was still 70! I miss throwing my leg over and going for a ride.” It’s snowing outside and we’re all looking forward to riding season. A couple dozen of us came from 14 states and provinces. It’s so good to see these people I only see once or twice a year. Of course, one of us is missing and very so often the conversation lulls and the stories pause for reflection about how we came to be together. Hands reach out to her daughter and granddaughter. Then a question will come, “what was your first time meeting my grandma?” and the stories flow again.

At the service we got to meet great grandchildren and neighbors and sit in her place of community. I appreciate that my friends are better at this or at least better versed in the saying goodbye process. They know to take breaks, but to set the time and place to get back together. I deeply appreciate both so I don’t end up on my flight home and realize I missed parts of saying goodbye because I was over-socializing or lost track of people.

I love hearing the stories! They are travel stories, but the most memorable and retold are the ones with social elements. When I’m on the road for 5+ hours a day and 3+ days in a row I learn about myself: when do I make my best decisions? My worst? What are the routes I like? How many miles/hours so I want to ride? How many days before I take a break? This list of questions is long and when I travel companions the chances for things to get messy is high. I listen to these stories and I think, “How would I handle that? What prep could I do with my travel mates?” There are so many stories I’ll be thinking about these questions for days.

I’m thankful to my friend for giving us this opportunity to get together. And I appreciate my riding friends for making the trip. I was heartened to hear from the people who were calling her each week. This is definitely a gift of an experience and I’m struck by the power of getting together.

Oh the stories! Wildlife encounters are a theme. I cringe because they seem so unpredictable. Riding woes is a theme: a riding companion who never seems to be packed or ready to go or people’s difference in managing congested traffic situations. Weather. Routing. Roommates. Mechanical issues. It’s a wonder any of us left the house on a second trip! But we love this. We love the sisterhood. We love the travel and seeing our continent. And above all, we love the riding.