Monday, August 20, 2007
To everything there is a season
and a time to every purpose under heaven.
That's the Honda Gold Wing, ready to leave tomorrow with the new owner. It does make me sad to lose it, but there truly are seasons in life. One season ends, another begins.
Cliff and I married in 1966, and soon there was a long season of play-farming and raising our babies, of seeing how many varieties of animals we could squeeze onto twenty acres, of raising big gardens and canning the produce.
The "cow-milking" season of my life began back then, and lasted a long time; it really controlled many facets of our existence because, if you milk cows twice a day, you can't travel far. Much butter was churned, and gallons of home-made ice cream were consumed.
The children grew up and left home, and it was time for the grand-baby season (overlapping the latter part of the cow-milking and calf-rearing season). We babysat a couple of local toddlers at times when the grandchildren were too far away to spoil sufficiently, since we were still homebodies. Cliff had some ill fortune with one job and another, and we couldn't afford to go far anyway.
Then he studied for and got his GED, and landed the job he's held for over fourteen years now. Raises were frequent, and he was allowed a week's vacation after only six months of employment. The one thing tying us down was our milk cows, so we soon got rid of our last two... a registered Jersey and a Holstein-Brown Swiss cross.
We went to Colorado, our first real vacation in years. Wow!
I've always loved camping out, and with paid vacation time in our future, we bought a used pop-up camper. Cliff isn't so fond of camping, but he loves tractors and somehow got me hooked on old iron and tractor shows. This worked great, because we saw tractor shows all across the midwest, and I got my camping fix. Never mind that it's usually primitive camping at those shows, which means no showers, and having to use those horrid, stinking portable johns.
So that was our tractor-show/camping season.
Cliff restored several tractors of his own during that spell, and ended up with quite a collection: as many as nine at one time, although they came and went.
In 2004, Cliff's sister and her husband bought a Harley, which gave Cliff the motorcycle fever. We attended a Harley open house in autumn of 2005 where people are allowed to stand in line for a turn riding the Harley of their choice. Cliff rode two with me, and two alone. We started shopping for motorcycles.
And Cliff started selling off some tractors.
We knew we wanted a Honda Gold Wing, and we didn't want to pay the price for a new one. In October, 2005, we found just the right used motorcycle, and we were on the road. There was a nice weekend that November when we rode to Branson, our very first big road trip! Even the fact that we broke down on a busy stretch of highway didn't really spoil things much. Looking back, that weekend is a highlight in my life, and one I'll never forget.
I was always a tad nervous riding; not that Cliff wasn't in control, but running through my mind were thoughts like this: "What if we have a blowout?" "What if somebody going the other direction loses control and hits us?" I shoved those thoughts aside and had fun anyway.
Cliff had a quadruple bypass in 2006, starting another season. He stayed completely off the Honda for three months, then found out he had lost so much strength he could barely handle it. He began working out in the weight room where he's employed and was soon stronger than ever.
But lately, no matter where we go, we seem to see a motorcycle wreck. Every day on the news, we hear that someone was killed or maimed while riding a motorcycle. Our son broke his leg on his motorcycle, this year.
Cliff began to get a gut feeling that we had cheated fate long enough, and that it might be time to sell. He admits he isn't as confident as he used to be.
So yesterday a man and his wife came looking, and they're going to buy the Wing. I've had so much fun during the time we've owned it, I can't help feeling sad. Although Cliff is probably right to get rid of it while we're ahead.
After we bought the motorcycle, if I mentioned being low on bread, milk, or any other essential, Cliff would reply excitedly, "Well then, let's just hop on the bike and go for a little ride!"
The most mundane errand became an adventure.
We've had picnics galore at state parks, roadside parks, and in parking lots. In fact, we've had more picnics on the bike in less than two years than we had the previous thirty-nine years we were married. I'll miss that.
But I eagerly wait to see what the next season brings.