I believe God brings the right people into our lives at the right time, so I have a story to tell:
A dark blue one-ton Dodge dually with a big enclosed trailer pulls in along the edge of the parking lot. It has the car wash attendant’s attention.
He watches the man open the door of the trailer and lower the ramp.
The attendant walks over and sees the man untying a big motorcycle. “Thought you were unloading a horse!”
“Well, it’s a ride, anyway.”
The man gets on the motorcycle, cranks it up, and pulls it into the first bay.
The attendant, once a motorcyclist, says, “It’s an Indian!”
“Yep, friends ride Harleys, but not me. I ride an Indian. And tomorrow I’m taking my bride for her last ride. She loved this bike. I don’t want it to be dusty. Going to have a memorial service for her tomorrow.”
He begins to reach for coins.
“Wait, this one is on me,” says the attendant.
“You don’t have to. . . .”
“No, I want to. . . .”
The attendant backs away, letting the man wash, rinse, dry his bike in peace.
Next, the attendant walks over and says, “Sorry for your loss. What happened?”
“Cervical cancer. Can’t catch that with a mammogram, you know. You have to have a blood test. If you have a woman you love, tell her to get tested.”
The attendant told him that his wife had breast cancer six years ago and gets her blood tested yearly.
“Good,” said the man. “Never caught hers in time. Stage 4 when we caught it. She didn’t last long. Hard to watch her die.”
He went on, “You know, the hardest part was that she and her sons from a previous marriage hadn’t spoken in two years. We sent word to them of her sickness. One did not respond. The other one came in the house saying, 'When you die, I want this and that. . .' She looked at me and said, 'You need to go to the workshop. I got this.'”
“You know, I don’t care to give them old photos, a few things, but I’ll do it on my time, not theirs.”
The attendant asked, “They coming to the service tomorrow?”
“Yeah, the mouthy one is in town.”
The attendant smiles and says, “Well, if he starts anything, why don’t you just take him out behind the workshop?”
The man grins, “I won’t have to. My buddies who ride Harleys will take care of things.”
He continues, “Her family is in Pennsylvania. She wants to be buried in Pennsylvania. After the service, I’ll take her there.”
“You taking her on the bike?”
“No, long way to ride this late in the year. It can snow out there before Thanksgiving. I really don’t know if I’ll take her before it snows or if I’ll wait until Spring.”
“Well, she won’t mind either way,” says the attendant.
“No, she won’t mind either way.”
A quiet moment.
The man got back on the bike, ready to put it back into the trailer. He stuck his hand out saying, “Thank you. Appreciate you.”
The attendant watches him close the trailer, step up into the cab of his truck, look back toward the office and wave. The attendant waves back.
A handshake. A wave. You may have to know where to look, but they are out there.
Slowly the man pulls the rig out of the parking lot.
My appreciation to each of you,
Photo by Brad Elbrader of his bike in Southern Utah.