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My hardest goodbye

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Ahhh, Jimi…how we miss your poetry

Saying goodbye to my favorite fella felt like my heart was being ripped out.

Smitty! Don’t forget me – I’ll see you soon!

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Smitty leaving the house in RI.

What? You didn’t think I was talking about a human, did you?

I bought Smitty (my 2003 Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster) in August 2003. That’s how long we’ve been together.

I experienced my first motorcycle ride when I was 6 or 7. My best friend’s father took me around the block, and I was hooked.

When I was a teenager, I sought motorcyclists to befriend.

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In 1990-ish with then-boyfriend at the Canadian border. We were detained on our way back into the States!

It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that I could get my own motorcycle and stop relying on others to go for a ride.

The biggest obstacle to buying my own motorcycle was my mother. I can’t say I blame her… I’d been in 10 car accidents – one severe enough to land me in the hospital for two weeks.

My brilliant idea: Take Mom motorcycle shopping and have her pick it out.

You may think that was crazy, but my mother had a knack for choosing good vehicles. Plus, she was the best negotiator I’d ever seen firsthand.

So here I was, 32 years old – a homeowner – taking Mom and Dad with me to pick out my motorcycle.

She chose Smitty. I chose his name. She negotiated an unheard-of $4,000 off the asking price.

And, you know what? It worked. Mom doesn’t worry as much about me riding.

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My friend Bonnie in Bluffton, SC, letting me know Smitty arrived safely!

When I’m sad, stressed, or generally feeling unsettled, Smitty and I hit the road. No one has ever made me feel as good. His magical healing power is the reason I decided to move South – so we could spend more quality time together.

If you ride, you get that.

So remember when you hit the road in the warmer weather: Please pay attention to the road. My fellow riders and I are out there trying to shake off the blues, or de-stress.

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Smitty, safely bundled up while being stored in my friend’s auto body shop in Bluffton. He added the “pigtails” to the mirrors to personify me! The employees are intrigued, I hear…😂

 

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“How old would you be…”

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Mark Twain knew his shit.

“...if you didn’t know how old you was?” ~Satchel Paige, American Baseball Player

Age is another concept that we like to think of as malleable … especially as we get older.

You’re only as old as you feel,” and “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” are two of the more common sayings we trot out to justify behavior that may be seen as immature.

But I’d argue that it is really just our normal, playful nature peeking out that our age and confidence allow us to act upon.

For some, that new behavior is encouraged. Others find themselves having to justify their “immature” behavior to family and friends who haven’t yet developed the self-confidence to buck the system, so to speak.

I think about these things when I go visit my Pepere in the nursing home. Ten years ago, he was adamant that he didn’t “want to live in a place with all old people because all they do is complain about their health.”

On March 24, he turns 98. In the last year, he has begun to show his age.

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My grandfather circa 1970 on my father’s motorcycle. Born to be weird.

But always, his brain is sharp, and he knows exactly what’s going on around him. “I thought you’d be long gone to South Carolina,” he said when I stopped in Sunday afternoon.

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Pepere admitted that he’d probably fall asleep during the big game. “Me too,” I replied (I did, BTW).

“I’m in no rush to go live with Mom and Dad,” I replied with a huge grin. He grinned back. “I understand,” he winked.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to go visit our elderly relatives because we don’t know what to talk about with them.

The truth is, they don’t care. Just be there to break up the monotony – it’s all any of us really wants.

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We did a lap!
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I’m a Canuck (pronounced KUH-nook)

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The Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket. Opened in 1997.

Rhode Islanders don’t get out much. We (not-so-jokingly) say, “If I’m driving from Woonsocket to Westerly, I’d better pack an overnight bag!”

Woonsocket to Westerly is 57 miles.

“I’m not driving ALL THE WAY to Providence to go to a bar.”

It’s nine miles.

Leaving the state is challenging for Rhode Islanders because our roots are planted very deep. I’m the third generation of my family born in Woonsocket.

Woonsocket was known for its French Canadian population. We were a city of Canucks. But we don’t pronounce it like the hockey team. Or the rest of the world. We put the accent on the other syllable.

WOONSOCKET: KUH-nook

REST OF WORLD: kuh-NUCK

And yet, I’d never been to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, despite the fact that it’s housed in the former mill building my grandfather worked his whole life.

SPOILER ALERT: Tiny opted to stay in the car.

My overall impression was that it’s pretty cool. But you’ve got to give yourself a couple of hours. There are video exhibits that take some time. And I got to chatting with a couple of the very friendly and helpful volunteers. Who, as it turns out, are mothers of former high school classmates. Small world.

Go to the museum. See how my city was built. Throw a few bucks in the donation box. Check out the interesting books in the museum shop.

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Shocked to discover I’m not in this book…yet! Maybe next edition.

And, by the way, it’s “wuhn-SAH-kit” not “WOOOON-sock-it.” There, now you sound like one of us.

 

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Idle hands

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I look like this on the outside, but in my head, it’s like a pack of dogs vs. a vacuum cleaner.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is what people say to encourage each other and themselves to stay out of trouble by keeping busy.

There’s a stigma to being. Just being. Being still, being contemplative. Oh, sure, all the online articles advise us to take a moment for ourselves… “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and “Self care isn’t selfish,” blah blah blah.

We share the pre-made graphics with pretty colors and appealing fonts displaying these sayings, encouraging each other to care for ourselves.

But we don’t really. We’re too busy.

I’ve been stressed for so long that it’s my de facto state. Between my job, nursing my two elderly French bulldogs, being the handler for my alma mater’s mascot, and renovating my house, I have either been busy or feeling guilty for not doing what needed to be done.

Then the days I worked for arrived: No house, no job, and, unexpectedly, no dogs.

While I revel in achieving most of my goals, I also find myself a little lost and feeling more than a little guilty. From age 16, I’ve had two jobs, or I worked full time and went to school. What am I doing, laying around all day?

That’s where friends come in: Stop. Breathe. You’re not on a time table. Enjoy your sabbatical – you won’t have this opportunity again until retirement.

We all need reminders. I am exceedingly grateful for my friends, many of whom seem to know when I need that pep talk.

For now, I’m going to concentrate on being. Just being. Screw the stigma.

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Rhode Island’s Death Grip

what-if-i-ojbwrmHere I am, on day 5 of what SHOULD be my life on Hilton Head Island. Still in Rhode Island at my parents’ empty apartment in North Providence.

Following my move from my home in Smithfield, RI, I spent the next five days utterly exhausted beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. The sheer physical and emotional toll of moving 17 years’ worth of stuff was unexpected.

As I began to feel more energized, I started ticking through my “to-do” list.

Which resulted in a speeding ticket and the discovery that my car’s registration was cancelled. I got lucky. The police officer gave me a warning on the registration violation. The car should have been towed.

My extended stay has resulted in two problems: I burned through my phone’s data in 3 days, and I have nowhere to do laundry. My parents keep the laundry room key for their apartment in North Providence where it makes sense – in South Carolina with them.

So I bought 30 pairs of underwear.

You can’t say I’m not a problem solver.

NEXT UP: Why don’t underwear manufacturers offer packs of just solid, dark colors?