Funerals, Bikers, Love, Pie and Great Friendships
I apologize for not writing last week, I had to attend the funeral of my great Uncle Orman Blythe. So many great things happened that week too, but I was unable to finish and frankly I was not motivated to complete it before Thursday. So this week is a mash up of everything and yes once again I have a section of love, I swear I may never get another blog post without some type of mention of love. Oh the tragedy of being a hopeless romantic!
Yes it is a sad day when you have to attend a funeral, especially of a relative. But one thing I learned, is sometimes not all funerals are all that sad. Don’t get me wrong, losing a loved one has to be one of the hardest things to experience, but in this case my great uncle “Bly” was 93 years old and lived a spectacular life. He is only outlived by my great aunt (his sister) who is 97! My uncle was in WWII and a member of the Waco Police Department for over 30 years. He lived an awesome life, loved his children, grand children and great grand children. Now he is with the love of his life again and I am sure happier than ever. With full military honors, it was definitely a funeral that took your breath away once taps started playing. We will miss you Uncle Orman!
I have been a “Biker” since I was 16 years old. I may not be the “Hells Angels” type of guy you typically think of when you hear the term biker, but that doesn’t mean I am also just a weekend yuppie. Yes I take trips all over the country, yes I wear leathers and yes I have tattoos. Just because a chosen few give most of us a bad reputation, the majority of people who ride motorcycles are not bad people. My mother is a “biker”, my father is a “biker”, and my brother is a “biker” and I have a ton of friends who ride. We are not criminals, we are not Sons of Anarchy material, but we ride.
So it is a shame that the situation in Waco happened last weekend. Everyone has a point of view, I think there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered but at the end of the day, please do not crucify the rest of us for the poor decisions of others. I would argue that there are probably 80% or higher of motorcycle clubs who do nothing but charity work and charity rides. The Patriot Guard Riders with whom I also ride with, are not bad people. So don’t be afraid of someone on an motorcycle and please watch out for them.
Speaking of biker stuff, if you happen to be in Washington D.C. this weekend, it is the annual Rolling Thunder ride. They honor the POW/MIA along with anyone who has served and was lost during our wars, conflicts or whatever you call what we are currently doing. I expect there to be close to a million motorcycles there for the parade which starts at the Pentagon and ends up at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. I have partaken in this even four separate times and every time it was more breathtaking and emotional than the time before. If you get a chance, grab your lawn chair and watch the parade, salute the veterans and enjoy the sound of rolling thunder echo throughout D.C..
Random thought of the day
So when I was at my uncle’s funeral, there was a poem in the program, which was my uncles favorite poem. The poem is called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. Below you will find the whole thing, but here is an excerpt that I love the most.
Let that sink in for a minute. I think I have mentioned this a few weeks back, crazy, it doesn’t matter what we own or what we have all that matters is how we spend our dash. Go ahead and read the poem if you must but in a nut shell it talks about how we are born and we die and what we do in between those to dots or end points is our dash.
Well you know how I am living my dash, you see it every week. You think I am crazy, I am a traveler, an adventurer and seeker of fun. Well I say YOLO!! When you come to my funeral, I hope you know I lived my life to the fullest and I truly had no regrets in life. Which leads me to the next favorite verse here:
Another example of what I have been trying to do. One of my goals for the year was to love harder. I think I have been doing that exceptionally well! So if you are in my life and have become more than just an acquaintance, get ready for the wild ride and know I choose carefully the people in my life, so I love all my friends and would give anything for them.
Without further ado…here is the poem:
by Linda Ellis copyright 1996
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?
When I was at my uncles funeral, a friend messaged me to give condolences and then as we were chatting asked me this question which caught me totally off guard “What was his greatest accomplishment?” I was stumped for a second and I wasn’t sure what to answer, so I asked my cousin (his daughter) this question and her answer was “Finding my mom”. She thought that over his WWII service, his 30 years as a decorated police officer, finding his true love as she put it was his greatest accomplishment. Then the stories went of them cooking in the kitchen, vacations, how family oriented he was and how he loved his family more than anything. A marriage that lasted 57 years and only because his sweet Dot passed away did it not go on longer. I admire that, I admire that a whole hell of a lot. Finding love is so difficult and to have it that long is amazing and something I hope to have someday. Love Hard…live your dash…
Two weeks ago on our roadtrip to Austin (coming soon) we stopped at one of my favorite restaurants on the backroads to ATX. So the new motto after this trip is “Pie Fixes Everything” and now I firmly believe it does. So if you are having a bad day, just go and get yourself a nice piece of pie! (PHRASING!)
Friendships seem to be hard to come by for me at times, sure I have a lot of acquaintances but if you know me really well and have reached my inner circle, that is saying something. With that said, over the last year I have submerged myself into racing and traveling and the whole OCR world. I have met and become friends with people all over the country. Over the past two weekends I have met some new people who I am sure are going to be good friends and I also created bonds with current friends which have only grown stronger.
I am so proud of my friend Melissa, she asked me one month out from her event to hold her accountable. So we started training once a week together. I put together a program to work on her trouble spots and we worked on her breathing. This was her redemption race as she called it. She wanted to do it without help and all by herself. So we trained, trained and trained. On race day she wouldn’t let me go with her, she wanted to be alone. So I waited. I figured what her time might be and I camped out at the finish line. I even made friends stay with me and we all waited. Then we saw her, she struggled on the last couple obstacles and did burpees, but she knocked them out like no ones business. I was able to give her, her medal as she crossed the finish and a great big hug. She had no idea that I was going to be there, or anyone for that matter. But as a coach, how could I not. One of the best feelings in the world is watching someone accomplish something they worked so hard for and you helped them attain it. Plus this woman holds a special place in my heart, last year when I finished the Spartan World Championships in Vermont, after 7 hours and 43 minutes, she was the only person there. She was cheering and hugged me as I crossed. When you are tired and nearly exhausted, that is the best feeling in the world. I was very happy to be a part of her redemption race! Congrats Melissa!
One of the highlights of the second weekend was getting to walk the second super with my friend Meg. With my torn up ankle and she had calf issues, she talked me into walking the super. One of the best times I have had in a while, just not being overly competitive, but hanging out with a good friend for 3 hours while having fun. We even finished the fire jump with dueling cannonballs!
Other friendships sometimes take a different turn. My friend Natasha and I ran the sprint on Saturday and now have a bond forever. She truly inspires me, when I think my life is bad, well it is not. If you want to read about our adventure, you can read it here.
Finally, I have to say I have met some pretty incredible people over the last couple of weeks. But a huge shout-out goes to the friend who set their alarm the morning of my race because they know I get up super early, I mean I get up at 3am. Just to talk to you, just to say good luck, keep you company as you prepare for your race. These people are very rare…keep them.
Another random thought:
My name is Travis and I talk to strangers!