It seems like a long time ago, but its only been about six or seven years. I was spending a lot of time on the road with my job and with that comes plenty of time to think. Everyone knows when I’m riding my bike my mind starts to wander so I guess it is also true when sitting behind the steering wheel looking through the windows at the world as it flies by.
During this time I was averaging about 450 miles a day and I began noticing that no matter what highway I was on there were always crosses, some more elaborate than others, memorializing loved ones lost in accidents. Some showing the weather and age of time, while others were obviously placed more recently, still the message was always clear; someone was truly missed. As we all know, the healing process can take many shapes and there isn’t a time-limit to grief. For some, it’s comforting to know that their loved one’s cross by the side of the road serves as a reminder to not only their family but to those who pass by. Love, healing, caring and remembering.
It was during this time I was thinking it would be nice for those lost to be remembered in a way that surviving family members could share their stories in a fitting tribute for others to see – far beyond the cross by the side of the road. When I got home I looked on the internet to see if there were any sites already out there and that’s when I found Jenny Jacobs. She was already in the early stages of putting this very idea together in website form. I contacted her and after a great conversation I knew she was the one who could bring this wonderful idea to life. And now The Cross By The Side of The Road is a reality.
I’m excited and proud for Jenny as this has been a long time coming. When you believe in something and you know that what you are bringing to others will help the healing for someone who experienced a great loss, is a person who truly cares. This website is not only for those who have pushed through the grief and memorialized their loved ones with a cross along the road, this is also a way of helping others who are beginning their journey in healing from such a great loss.
Please take the time to check out Jenny’s website, and encourage those you know to check it out as well.
I’m just the guy on the motorcycle. You may not be able to tell if I’m a man or a woman, young or old or even how long I’ve been riding, but I’m a motorcyclist nonetheless. Maybe you’ve seen me, maybe not. But I see you. I’m on my way to work just like everyone else, or maybe I’m taking a long weekend ride. We’re a lot alike you and me, but I just choose to travel by two-wheels instead of four. You decided to drive your car today instead of riding your motorcycle. Hey, I’ve done that too. Sometimes the day requires more than my motorcycle can handle. Sometimes you see me and wish you had a motorcycle. You should get one because I know it will change your life, and how you drive that car of yours. Maybe you have an opinion of who I am inside this helmet I’m wearing but I want you to know that not all of us our outlaws. In fact, I waved at you this morning but you didn’t wave back. Maybe you just didn’t see me.
I know you wonder from the comfort of your car how I can ride when it’s cold or raining. You see, that’s how much I want to ride. I know it seems crazy to someone who doesn’t ride a motorcycle, but I have the proper gear to protect me from the elements. When we ride, we are exposed to all kinds of weather and this is all a part of the experience. You could say I’m vulnerable to the weather as it changes. I would say I’m vulnerable to anything outside of my leather jacket.
You could say I’m vulnerable to the weather as it changes. I would say I’m vulnerable, period.
When did you first notice me? Was it the sound my motorcycle makes? My headlight and bright-colored jacket? Or was it after you pulled out halfway into the intersection before slamming on your brakes? I kind of wondered if you were going to stop. Maybe you’re running late, and that’s okay. I run late all the time too. We both have places we need to be with families and jobs that require us to get the most out of our day. It’s okay, and I waved at you anyway.
Think about motorcycles as people – actual people – sharing the road with you and how vulnerable I feel when riding amongst cars and trucks.
Can I ask a favor? Take a second to look and listen for me. Think about motorcycles as people – actual people – sharing the road with you and how vulnerable I feel when riding amongst cars and trucks. I know you’re frustrated with the road construction and the light that won’t turn green quick enough because I am frustrated with it too. And when you do see me, wave at me. And not just because it’s nice to say “hello” but it also tells me that you know I’m here.
Thanks to all teachers past and present, you are all making a positive difference in these kid’s lives and I know you will continue to do so in the future.
Today I was graciously invited to lunch by my granddaughter Kylie, and this meant a trip back to White City for lunch in the school cafeteria. I must admit I was looking forward to it. Being an alum of White City School, I still find it hard to wrap my head around the grade school not having lunch in the little gym. Now, with the commons area between the high school and grade school, lunch would have a whole different flavor, if you will.
With second graders eating at 11:00 am I jumped on my motorcycle and headed home. I don’t normally eat this early but today it isn’t really about me. But unbeknownst to Kylie, and Casen who I knew would also be there, I’m the real winner. Arriving just a few minutes early, I have the opportunity to see some familiar faces. Small town life is like that – I went to school here, my kids went to school here and now my grandkids are attending the same school. There is a certain level of comfort in this. Today being “Crazy Hair Day” at school I didn’t have much time to prepare. Pulling my helmet off is about as crazy as my hair gets.
It’s great to see my grandkids in one of their natural habitats. I don’t usually have this opportunity, but it amazes me how fast they are growing and how they interact with their classmates. A wonderful sight for sure. Casen’s teacher Joni lives about a block from my daughter and Joni and my daughter Kelly’s kids are in the same classes. Again, it’s comforting to know this as I’ve known Joni and her folks for what seems forever. I’m friends with her folks and they ride motorcycles so there is that connection.
The one thing I do want to point out is this; I watched Kylie’s teacher Kim and Casen’s teacher Joni interact with their students and it was truly heartwarming. They care. They are educators but believe me what I saw today told me they are so much more than that. Their students react to them and it shows. Now I know, this isn’t just a proud grandparent saying these things – these are teachers that have an impact on these children’s lives each and every year, much like my teacher’s impacted me through school. In fact, there are a few teachers teaching in White City right now that are the children of the teachers who taught me. Crazy, but cool.
Thanks to the staff at White City School for the hospitality today. The food was great, and thanks for taking good care of my grandkids. Kim and Joni – thank you too for all you do! And to all teachers past and present, you are all making a positive difference in these kid’s lives and I know you will continue to do so in the future.