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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘meeting people

Meeting Judy

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Shortly after the first time I signed up to do this epic adventure of biking and camping for a week, I learned that a cherished coworker’s sister always did the Klobuchar ride. I’d never met any of my coworker’s family, but if they were anything like Bob, I couldn’t wait to meet them.

He was more excited than me about the potential connection, and spent a fair amount of energy drilling me on details of her name so that I would remember who I needed to seek out.

Of course, her name. Then, her husband’s name. Their last name, because it was her married name and different than his. He told me I could remember the last name because it was like a Minnesota Twins ball player’s name, only with an ‘S.’

He was seriously excited over the prospect of my meeting his sister on this trip. It was infectious enough that I became just as excited over the possibility.

However, there were a lot of other details I needed to think about. I had never done this kind of thing before. I was traveling with a teen neighbor whom I didn’t really know more than passing from his role as a part-time sitter for our kids. I was also perseverating over having the right gear and packing the right clothes, not to mention where to put everything.

Honestly, Judy’s name was not on my mind as Brian and I made our final visit to the car that first Saturday morning, prior to departing with our bikes. It’s a critical moment of the trip, because it’s the last time you will be anywhere near your vehicle for the rest of the week.

Take what you need, leave the rest. Ideally, stepping away fully prepared for what lies ahead.

As we walked our bikes between parked cars toward the swelling collection of other camping cyclists –all strangers, who would soon become friends– we came upon a couple going through their similar critical last moments with their vehicle.

In a flash of inspiration, upon noticing the man was using a 12V compressor to top off the air in his bike tires, I overcame my normal reticence to bother a stranger. I figured, we didn’t know anyone on this trip, so what better time to break the ice and get over the hump than to ask if we could use his electric pump for our tires, too.

Before I got to the end of my request, I saw that he was actually winding up the power cord to put it away. He was done using it. My brain quickly chastised me with evidence that my bad timing was the very reason not to bother someone you don’t know, blah, blah, blah.

I quickly apologized for inconveniencing him, but he just as quickly talked over my hesitancy and insisted it was no trouble. The awkward start had stumbled all over the more traditional polite practice of introducing oneself, so as we crouched over bike wheels and the buzzing pump, I thought to identify myself.

He responded, “I’m Ed Beckers.”

My eyes got big. I think he wondered what he’d said. My eyes got really big.

Knowing I had the upper hand, I played it for all it was worth. What were the odds?

“THE Ed Beckers!?” with increasing animated excitement.

Confused stare.

“Ed and Judy Beckers!!?”

A woman’s face peers around the car door at this maniacal stranger exclaiming her name.

My coworker’s sister and husband were the very first people we met.

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2017 at 6:00 am

Another Source

with 2 comments

The air is completely still outside this morning. Maybe that is why my internet connection is more stable today than it was yesterday. The signal is not being disrupted by waving tree leaves.

The calm is in contrast to the disruption swirling in my mind. We have been stretched into another batch of new experiences over the last two days, taking us places we’ve not been, introducing us to new people, and giving me an opportunity to pull a flatbed trailer behind our sometimes trusty old pickup.

I’ve never done that before.

Luckily, I didn’t need to do any backing up.

We own horses. We need hay. Over the now several years that we’ve been on this equine adventure, that’s the key priority that pushes me into doing tasks for which I have no previous experience.

Last year I was feeling pretty smug over having found hay to purchase and hauling it myself in small batches with the truck, and augmenting that with bales from our own field. Now I have come to understand that what we purchased wasn’t considered prime quality fodder by our horses, and we’re admitting to ourselves that our field isn’t yielding much better.

Cyndie checked with new acquaintances and then made a connection with another hay grower. Grass hay is the term used to clarify what we are after for our horses.

I was on the far side of our property yesterday, trimming the 4-foot tall weeds that have grown along the southern border of our back pasture, when Cyndie and Delilah appeared and interrupted me. The new hay source was available immediately and leaving town for a two-week vacation tomorrow. We had to act now.

Suddenly we are checking maps and venturing down dead-end roads among farms that don’t get many visitors, looking to connect with someone we won’t know when looking at them. Kids on bikes check us out immediately, when we pull in a driveway and try to figure out where to go.

DSCN4954eWe are not surprised to discover Lonnie is friendly guy, and the kids are his grandchildren who live across the road and they love to help with hay. Mostly, they like to talk while we toss and stack bales. Lonnie offered up his flat-bed trailer to allow us to haul a hundred bales in one load and off we dove into another of my firsts.

I relied on his method of stacking and strapping to secure the load. He generously offered to come rescue us if any of the tires went flat on the trip there or back. How reassuring. I noticed he put a registration sticker on the trailer before we hooked it to the truck. I guess it hadn’t seen any road use for some time.

We made it most of the way home before a middle bale worked loose and dropped off the front. I had just turned off Highway 63 onto a rural road, so the drama was moderately reduced. I know now that we should have used that 3rd strap he considered putting across the load, but didn’t.

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Written by johnwhays

July 16, 2016 at 8:16 am