If you see a rather large, faded red-head looking like she lost her best friend, it's probably me. My mom, the Intrepid Ireta, returned to her home in Wyoming last week. After six weeks here, she reluctantly headed home, but not before we had a big send-off for her. Family members cooked up a great adventure for her, and thanks to the local ABATE club, pulled it off.
She had mentioned to a great-grandson, who asked if there was anything she hadn't done in her 92 years that she would like to have done, that she had always wanted to ride a motorcycle. The remembrance of that conversation set in motion a plan that culminated in her wish coming true, thanks to nine members of the Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education club who took her on the ride of her life.
We dressed her in black leather, appropriately cool shades, and she climbed up behind Mike Seaman on his huge Harley, and off they roared. They were accompanied by Craig Rowell, Art and Barb Waters, Shorty and Melinda Carlyle, Sandy Rowell, Don Sobala, and Merrill Silorski, who was driving his brand new Harley Davidson V-Rod.
Ireta loved the whole experience, although she admitted to a bit of panic at the first when they roared up to the picnic we were having in Beaver Creek Park. But true to her nature, she got in the spirit of the event and was rewarded with a grand experience that allowed her to feel the freedom of the wind in her hair, the rhythm of the road and the roar of the engine, all the while giving her an excuse to hang on to a handsome guy in leather. Thanks to all of you for helping to provide the thrill of a lifetime to a grand old gal who began her life riding to school in a horse-drawn wagon.
Thanks also to Chris Marquis for her part in this shenanigan, and to June and Ralph Rector, who helped keep us in other wheels during her visit, and to you, fair reader, who have put up with my chronicles of her visit. She leaves her heart on the Kenai peninsula, and you all have a part in making it such a special place for her. Our house feels empty without her, and we feel like we have been in the wake of the hurricane of this woman's spirit. If I look like I need a hug, it's because I do.
Joan Hanson, Kenai
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