Long Way Home

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I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home.

It’s the long way home. Some days it’s just required to take a different route – one taking us away from the well-worn path we’ve created between point A and B. Remember, it’s the regularity that keeps the grass down. We don’t always have time for a detour, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need. Just a few extra minutes to see some different scenery – you know, stuff you haven’t seen for a few months or years – to clear your head. We don’t do it enough and when we do, we’re always glad we did.

 

I travel the same roads almost every day but it’s always in the same direction. As the seasons, colors and temperatures change things can look a little different but it’s the landscape and landmarks that we relate to. Some are only a few miles from home while others take us back home. An abandoned house, an old bridge or a valley that has always made you look – and smile, are always there for us whenever we need them. As a motorcyclist, it can be hard to find a day in January where the long way home can happen, but it always seems to. Sometimes you have to just do it even if there is an internal struggle to follow the same old habit of taking the usual way home.

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Why is this so important? It gives us a few minutes for ourselves. It can be just what we need to see our small little world that surrounds us and give us a different perspective on the day. It’s no different from taking a minute from our busy day to watch the sunset, or turning around on your way home to take a picture of something that catches your eye. It can be on a road we have traveled before, but for whatever reason we overlooked it every time. Maybe it’s the time of day that gives us a different light on the same old scenery. We win either way.

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I’m lucky to be surrounded by familiarity and memories. For those who know me also know of the area around me. You are familiar with my landscape and landmarks as you know them as well. Take the long way home – not every day, but someday. Pull over and take it all in and let the scenery take you home.

 

 

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A Day in the Life

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Walking down the halls of either the White City grade school or high school brings back plenty of memories. Not only was the grade school big for a small town, there were plenty of steps to keep Mr. Otis or Mr. Haun happy with our physical fitness. A small gymnasium was the focal point of a lot of activities like recess when the weather was bad, basketball practice when the big gym in the high school was in use, but it also served as a lunch room, and a place for prom to be held each year. How many times did I sit there in class smelling the lunch that I was about to eat? Plenty. And what about a milk break in the morning? Why yes, thank you. We spent a big part of our lives going up and down those stairs, from class to recess to lunch and back. How many times and how many steps? We’ll figure that out someday in math class.

Worrell’s house on the corner, which by the way is no longer there, took up some of the play ground, and next to their house was a make-shift baseball diamond where I broke my ankle in sixth grade. School was almost out for the summer in 1974 and now I had a broken ankle. Who knew that in a month I would have my first motorcycle and no way to ride it? Bummer. I think it was Stan and Ron, or maybe it was Rusty and Steve that carried me from the East side of the school property, past the wind-break/walkway that separated the high school and grade school buildings to the office. My mother was called to take me to the hospital, while some of my classmates told me to quit showing off in front of the girls! Whether or not that’s what was said, that’s what I heard. If you know my mother, she drove the speed limit to Junction City getting me to the hospital, all the while, with my leg crossed and my foot dangling. Good times.

We often think about those days when school was anything but fun, but it is a compilation of the good times and bad that makes the experience what it was. Worrying about homework or a test the next day wasn’t very productive and as we all know as adults, worrying about the small stuff still isn’t productive, but it’s in our nature. When our kids are going through school, we often worry about homework, tests and grades more than they do. But we all got through it. Some better than others, but that doesn’t take away anything from those that received less from the experience than some. We all have our own personal experiences and memories of those days and it takes getting older to put it all in perspective. Maybe that should be a class; “Perspectivism: A guide to putting it all together to figure it out.”

If you sit and think about all the bus trips, field trips, games (home and away), and where Mr. Albrecht took us in band, and how it all comes together with so many students and teachers trying to achieve the same goals, it’s amazing we accomplished it at all. Being an average student, using humor to mask a lot of insecurities deep inside that full head of hair I had at the time, I look back and wish that the guy I am today could have told the kid I was back then to relax and be yourself. Comparing now to back-then isn’t fair for me but that is how it is. We grow up and realize who we are and even though we feel we haven’t changed, we did – even if just a little. We find that strength inside and we become who we really are, even though it was there all along.

What seemed like an eternity to get through school, I look back and realize, just like today, the years fly by. Thanks to all of those that had a hand in my education and helping a small town kid realize those insecurities were all in my head. While humor will get you pretty far in life, it helps to have a few friends that are willing to carry you when you need help!

A Gift

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The ride into work this morning on my Road King, although frosty at 20 degrees, gives me time to reflect on yesterday and get’s me prepared for today. Of course I’m speaking mentally as my fifty-year old body doesn’t need much preparing. It has had ample time to put on a winter’s worth of fat to keep me warm on just this sort of ride. As I headed out, the sun was just starting to come over the horizon and I knew by the blue sky and dark blue scattered clouds that this sunrise would be amazing. I have about twenty-three miles to get to work and I’m either heading West or North at any given time and with little effort I can take in the beauty of any of the morning’s wonders.

So as I’m heading out, it doesn’t take long before I can see in my mirror, through my fogged up Fulmer helmet  face-shield, the sun as it is climbing its way up over the hills as I’m West-bound. Beautiful-and I never get tired of this. Sure it’s cold and I will only get colder, but you can’t take anything away from a gift like this. To me, both the sunrise and sunsets can put everything in perspective. Although difficult sometimes, each day is a chance to start fresh-and make a difference. Whether it is your life or someone else’s, today is the day.

Today, like every day, this gift I witness before me is awesome. I am humbled by God and the gift He gives me every day. No matter what happens the rest of this day, I’ll be OK.

For the rest of my ride I thought about how my day ended yesterday and how I woke up at 2:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. And how today would probably be a long day because of it all…and I realized that I can’t change yesterday and today is short when compared to the bigger picture. Instead of complaining today I will give thanks for it-and the opportunity to make this a good day as well. Did I mention it was 20 degrees when I left for work? I didn’t notice it at all!