Greetings from Inverness, Florida.
I have sooo many stories to tell. So much fun to share. But I will save you from yawns by telling you only two of (what I think) are the best.
If you have been reading these letters for over five years, you will remember this.
These pictures are of George's trike when I had it for sale in 2017.
He won first prize at a Catrike Rally for the lovely paint job on his trike. He was active on the recumbent chats online. His alias was Whitecat on Bentrideronline.com. His first Catrike was white. But then he had this Catrike Expedition custom painted by a motorcycle painter in Tampa.
I sold George's trike to friends Kim and Bill. They are Windemere neighbors and Kim is the daughter of my amazing and loving friends and biking buddies, Margaret and Zip.
When I sold the trike, George was at a stage in his dementia where he wouldn't notice it was gone. But still, it was heart-wrenching to part with it knowing what it meant to him at one time. We had so many adventures on our trikes together. That trike was part of George's identity.
Yet it was also very heart-warming to know it was going to people I really liked that lived nearby.
Fast forward to this year. Steve is (and still is) riding a diamond frame bike. We are having tons of fun riding together and with our group. We even have a couple of tours planned for this summer and fall on our two-wheel bikes.
In January, Steve had mentioned he was wanting to try a trike like mine. He was thinking he might get one some day and was asking other riders about their trikes.
One Thursday on our regular ride with the group, I rode a while with Zip. Zip is the father-in-law to Bill who had bought George's trike. Zip had just gotten a new e-assist trike. He told me that he had given Bill his old e-assist trike. He then said that Bill would be selling "George's trike".
Wow! I told him that Steve might be interested.
I called Kim (Bill's wife) and left a message. I told her I had heard it might be going up for sale and that Steve might be interested in trying it.
She called back when I was in the passenger seat of Steve's car. He was driving and I hadn't told him about this possibility yet. I didn't know how to approach the subject. I mean, this all might be a bit freaky for Steve. Kim was thrilled with the idea and I set up a time for Steve to try the trike.
After I hung up I tried to explain what the call was about. I tried to gently introduce the topic by saying I didn't know how to mention this because I didn't want him to feel any pressure from me. "If you don't want to try this trike, that's ok."
But Steve was excited about it. Then he asked, "But I am more concerned with how it will make you feel. Will you be ok with me riding it?"
"I would be sooo thrilled to see you enjoying it," I told him.
So Saturday after our Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders' breakfast at the Hen House, Steve and I went to Kim and Bill's.
As we drove up the trike was waiting for us in the drive way.
Steve went for a ride. He came back smiling. "It really goes," he said. He liked it. He wanted to buy it.
And here is the kicker...
Kim and Bill said, "It's yours, take it, it's free." FREE!!!
Steve was prepared to pay. They insisted, it's free. Zip had given Bill a trike and they said they discussed it with Zip and Margaret and all four of them decided if Steve like it they were giving it back.
They were kind of paying it forward. OMG!
Steve's and my relationship has already seemed so blessed and miraculous. We joke that it is our departed spouses that are manipulating things from the other side of life. Getting us two energetic, grab-the-gusto, fun-loving, vegetable-eating, star-gazing, fit old folks together... And now this!
We put the trike in the truck and Steve went right to the bike store to get new pedals that work with his bike shoes. He is making little fixes to it ever since, getting it ready for a multi-day tour we are planning to do in Florida next winter. And he is loving it.
It is fun to see him riding with the trike smile.
A huge thank you to Bill and Kim and Zip and Margaret for this lovely little miracle/gift.
We are so blessed.
The other day we were out on the trail and we stopped at the bike shop. Up rides Sharon and Dennis and as we chatted, Dennis commented on the paint job on Steve's trike and Sharon got a look on her face and turned away. I realized she recognized the trike but didn't know what to think or say. I then realized I had not yet shared this story here or she would have known, since she and Dennis read this blog.
So thanks Sharon for reminding me to share this great story. Ha ha. Now you know the rest of the story.
The Good Laugh
I find myself laughing a lot with Steve.
We have our spring/summer/fall travel plans. In order to get into the nice State Parks and Campgrounds, I made reservations well in advance.
When we decide to go to a concert, I get online and buy the tickets.
Steve and I usually split the costs. But I had not tallied the charges for a while. Steve asked me how much he owed. One day I sat down at my computer with my charge card statements and tallied up the amounts in excel and divided by two.
I didn't look at the final amount before I copied my excel list and figures to an email that I sent off to Steve.
The next time I arrived at Steve's house he wrote a check for the dollars owed and then with a flourish he presented me with a half penny.
It appears my tally divided by two turned out to be 1204.005.
I laughed and laughed.
"I don't want you holding a grudge cause I still owe you that half cent," he joked.
Later he told me he had fun finding the shiniest penny and carefully cutting it in half.
I kept it, it makes me smile.
Hurricane Ian Rebuild
I told you I had signed up for helping out with the re-build efforts through Sister-Corps. I had thought this was something that Steve and I could do together. It would be fun and a good thing to do.
But then I learned that Sister-Corps is a women-only event.
Since then I have been searching for somewhere that we can both work together or at least have projects for Steve and we can camp together down in Ft. Myers area. I have tried Red Cross, United Way, some Builders union, and Habitat for Humanity. The woman at Habitat explained it to me. Permits are required, materials are on back order, coordination between owners and the volunteers is a process that takes time. I was getting frustrated.
Then Linda, who we stayed with in November when we went down to Ft Myers, contacted me. She put me in touch with the lady that is finding projects for the Sister-Corp. She has more projects than she has volunteers and would very much like to have Steve's help getting things done. YAAAY!!!
She will send us a list and Steve can work his way through it.
So April 11th or 12th we head on down to North Ft. Myers. We plan on staying 10 days. I will work with Sister-Corps for six days and then help Steve on projects after that.
We are excited. Another adventure before we start our zig-zag journey north at the end of April.
I just hope we don't get attacked by fire ants again.
Thanks Linda, for your help in putting Steve to good use. We look forward to seeing you soon.
"Use me like a tool," he says.
Thoughts, Prayers, Love
Our friends Keith and Jean tested positive for Covid. I tested myself and I tested negative.
Today I learned that my dear friend, Margaret, mentioned above, has been diagnosed with COVID. I know she is well known and loved along the trail and in the area. She is an active 86 years old with a heart of gold.
I am announcing it here so that you all can do what you do in these instances. Send love, say a prayer, keep her and her family in your thoughts.
Someone said, “Will this ever go away?” Only those reading this in the future will know the answer to that.
There was an Author's event. Instead of selling the books I gave them to people who donated to The Alzheimer's Foundation. The next day I was able to mail the Foundation $70. Now I have a few books left over to share as I travel.