When my sort-of wonderful niece, Amy, heard about my fund-raising 150 mile bike ride (READ ABOUT IT HERE AND CLICK TO HELP ME MEET MY GOAL PLEASE!) she volunteered to join in the cause, do the ride, raise the funds, and help me train. Believe me, I’ll be T-R-A-I-N-E-D! She has the stick-to-it-ive-ness and determination I lack, so, good.
Speaking of wonderful, my nephew, Ger, periodically texts me with interesting news items, remarks, and, lately, family photos his brother, Nick, is finding while going through their Mom’s stuff, their Mom being my sister, Peggy.
This is my aunt, Sissie, as a baby, being held by her grandmother. I cannot recall ever having seen this photo. And this, he sent me today:
That’s me in the lower corner in the awful Levis shirt with my hair parted in the middle! Starting clockwise, behind me, JoAnne, then Leo, then Peggy, then Jenny, and seated between me and Jenny, Debbie. We used to take pictures whenever all 6 of us were in one place, which, now, will never happen again, but which, actually, hadn’t happened for quite some time even before Peggy died.
I don’t remember much about that day, but I do remember that all of my sisters were touching me when the photo was taken. I never, ever thought that I was in the least bit attractive, and I never thought there would be a time when those touching connections would be destroyed – I wish I could go back and tell that boy that he was pretty, that he was smart, and that he should not believe he had to be what everyone else wanted in order to deserve to live. And that destruction happens, and the worst are committed by the living.
But I can’t. Who he might have been had he known that is as lost to me now as Sissie and Peggy and the days when everyone touched.
And so, I’m doing this bike ride because … no matter what, only two choices, and the one I am making right now — today at least, no guarantees about tomorrow — is here I am, going.