Life and Death
What’s to say? I went to 2 memorial services in as many weeks.
Don Murphy - Today was for Don Murphy. I didn’t know Don, but a bunch of people did. There were about 1500 at the service. He left a wife and 2 almost grown daughters. He volunteered at a half-way house, working with recovering men, helping them get their GEDs, and otherwise doing what he could. He gave out 20 dollar bills to some of those at the half-way house to help them setup their first-ever checking accounts.
He was struck in a hit-and-run before dawn on Wednesday of last week while he was out riding his bike with 2 of his best friends. His friends gave him CPR while the car sped away. The driver was later found and has been charged. Unlike the man who killed Armas last June, she wasn’t drunk She was apparently just not paying attention … but how could she just drive away after he bounced off the hood into her windshield, shattering it? She dragged his bike under her car for a mile and a half before she stopped. She was later found (bike debris littered her path) and taken in custody.
Joanne Penseyres – Joanne lost a very long battle with depression a few weeks ago, at 65 years of age. There was a memorial service for her last Saturday. She was life-partner with Pete Penseyres, legendary ultra-distance cyclist. She crewed for cross-country bike race teams something like 13 times, supporting the cyclists’ dreams. There were so many people that spoke of all the support they received from Joanne. But she didn’t save quite enough support for herself. She was also a very articulate poet. Here’s one she wrote “for all cyclists”:
Come Share Their Dreams
I’ve been there many times,
To care for the men who ride after their dreams,
Seen their foreheads glazed with perspiration,
Their faces taut with concentration,
To the public they’re crazy men, gone insane Over riding a bicycle,
But I know them better; I’ve been there.
They’re riding their dreams.
If you doubt me, come see them.
Look past the pain, the sweat, watch their eyes.
You’ll see the dreams coming true.
Come share their dreams,
And you may catch a dream or two.
Rod Armas – About 25 years ago Rod Armas bicycled the Grand Tour Double Century put on by the Los Angeles Wheelmen. This past June he wanted to introduce his 14 year old son the this great adventure, so he dusted off the helmet he used on that earlier occasion and started out with his son. I saw them in mid afternoon. I was sagging the ride, and they were the last riders on the course. We gave them some water and drove ahead to the lunch stop, where they arrived a bit later.
They were in good spirits, but the lunch stop was almost closed. We scraped up something for them to eat. I noticed that they didn’t have anyplace to keep their route slips, and I taped a metal binder to the handlebars on each of their bikes and put a fresh route slip in them. I didn’t see them any more that day, but Jim Watrous took the attached photo of them after they left that rest stop. I had to drive someone who had DNF’d to the end, and drove home after that, not seeing them again. You probably know the rest. They were hit by a drunk driver along PCH not far from the finish of the ride. Rod was killed; his son Chris had many broken bones, but survived.
What’s to say? Life is so precious and fragile. Don’t miss any opportunities to tell those close to you how much you love them, and how much they mean to you. No, don’t miss those opportunities ….