A Knight Riding An Indian Motorcycle


From robschief

From robschief

There’s an old saying, I don’t where it’s from, but it says, “Time and tide wait for no man.” I was reminded of this recently when I received a really nice letter from a reader telling me how much he appreciated a story I wrote in a local entertainment magazine.

The story was about motorcycles and motorcyclists, and although it heavily featured Harley-Davidson’s  – if only for the reason that the people I talked with had settled on Harley’s as their preferred bikes. The letter was from the PR Manager at Victory and Indian Motorcycles who saw the story I wrote when he was out here in California on business.

As I read his letter of appreciation and saw which motorcycle company he worked for, I was immediately transported back in time. I was 8-years old and my mom met, then married my step-dad. He was a presence whenever he walked into the room. He not only was intelligent and well-educated spending his career educating others, he was self-taught at pretty much everything he did, from woodworking to rebuilding cars, trucks and motorcycles. And everything he did, he did well.

Although he ended up riding Harley-Davidson bikes as he got older, it was the story of his experience on his very first motorcycle, an Indian, that forged itself into my wide-eyed 8-year old mind.

He would regal me with the story of how when he was just a young man, he and his Indian motorcycle rode from South Dakota out to California, and back again. In my mind’s eye, he was like the greatest of adventurers, fighting the winds and weathers, cruising across the country with the sun setting in the background while he rode on his white Indian motorcycle. For many years, I would get him Indian bike memorabilia for gifts on his birthday, at Christmas and on Father’s Day.

I realized as I thought about the memory I have of him on his bike, that I never really got the detailed story of his ride. I carry around an image of him as a knight of sorts riding a white Indian steed, with a backdrop of the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota as he rode steadily on a black ribbon of highway heading West.

You would have thought with me being a writer, a gatherer of people’s tales, that I would have gathered the details of that particular one, but I never did. My dad is older now and the place in his mind where the details of that ride live is locked away in the recesses of his memory. The key that would have opened that box in his memory is lost forever. So, there is no way for me to truly ever know what the details were, I waited to long to ask and now there is no way to coax it from him.

Yes, time and tide wait for no man, and in this case, no woman. Yet, the ride and the picture it draws in my mind, no matter how limited the details, in many ways represents the way that he has been in my life. A knight riding a white Indian motorcycle who rode in at just the right time.

In many respects we do the same type of thing with our own children, or others children who are dear to us, when it comes to telling them about the LORD and all He has done. We give them the basics of Him and neglect to tell them the details of His greatness, His love and His faithfulness. We leave them in the situation that if they don’t ask they don’t know, until it is too late to ask.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

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The Boomer, X & Y Equation of Lists

Sandwich Generation Equation. :)

Sandwich Generation Equation. :)

#caregiving #lists #sandwichgeneration

I am a firm believer in lists – those lengthy, or short, notes that keep you on track even if you don’t want to be kept on track. I don’t know when this began. I certainly don’t remember making a lot of lists when I was younger, but now almost every evening I make a list for the next day. They usually begin with “Sierra Lodestar story” and go from there.

The funny thing about lists is that even if you don’t write one down, you probably carry one around in your head all the time. Without even realizing it you’re mentally keeping track of items that are on the top of your list, with those being the most important items to you, while those at the bottom are sort of to-do items with the tag-along thought of, “They’ll get done when they get down.” Just because something’s on the top of your list doesn’t mean it will get done quickly. That being said, the odds are good that the items at the top will get done in a timely manner, while the ones at the bottom of the list, well, not so much.

There’s also another twist in the list arena, especially if you’re a caregiver of any type. Those are lists you keep for other people in our minds. So, caregivers can have more than one list in their heads at any given time, and depending on how many people they are taking care of, the lists multiply. I always think of it as actually carrying around other people’s brains for them. I’m not so sure if that’s helpful or not, but there you go.

Not only am I a firm believer in lists, but I’m also a firm believer of the inevitable time when lists collide. Having experienced this many times, I have found that there is no other more-fertile ground for this to take place than in a multigenerational family structure. My immediate family’s generational structure encompasses a Boomer, an Xer and a Yer (also known as a Millennial, because it seems that generation is so large it actually warrants having two interchangeable names just to confuse us all).

In my household, this clash of lists can happen at any moment and can take on the appearance of a mathematical equation if you’re not careful, because the clash of lists can take place between Yer and Xer, Xer and Boomer, or Boomer and Yer.

First example, my list for my son and his list for himself are extremely different. I think the top priority on his list should be to get great grades, while the top spot on his list is whether or he can build the perfect winning team on Madden. Since our lists dictate where we focus our time and energy, you can see how he and I can have a clash of lists with his focus being on football and mine being on him improving his schoolwork.

Now my mom’s list and mine are a totally different story having nothing to do with schoolwork and football games. These lists revolve around medical appointments and necessities as opposed to going out, two words that seem innocent enough until you consider that the definition of going out can be as different to two people as the lists in their heads. In my mom’s and my case, the difference of what those words mean to an extrovert and an introvert also plays into the mix, with my mom being the extrovert and me being the introvert.

At the top of my mom’s list is always the desire to go out and do something, which she defines as shopping, seeing friends or just, “Getting out into the land of the living.” Going out for her means doing those types of things, while going to medical appointments of any type doesn’t fit into her definition, but those do fit into my definition of going out. You’re probably beginning to see the possible conflict in our lists, which is that anytime we leave the house to go anywhere including medical appointments, which can be as many as two or three a week, I count it as going out, but she does not. So, for her one of the top slots on her mental list of important things to do isn’t happening, while I feel like we go out a lot – maybe not to do anything social, but there you go.

The upshot of competing lists in the family dynamic, is to deal with it in much the same way communication in a family works – or at least the attempt – and that is to figure out which items on everybody’s lists are important, then making a valiant attempt to honor other family members’ top slots. With my son, this involves a fair amount of wrangling about football games and schoolwork, while with my mom it means encouraging her to go out with her friends more. To make this work, it takes a whole lot of compromise and getting creative, words that top the list of anyone who’s part of the Sandwich Generation.

This column was first published in the Calaveras Enterprise

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The Sandwich Generation: Help!

How to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

So here’s a post that I thought you all might enjoy from a column I write called the Sandwich Generation that’s published in my local paper, the Calaveras Enterprise. #sandwichgeneration #caretaker #aging #caregiving #caregiver #help


There I sat in the dimmed theater, my son on my left with my mom to his left. This in and of itself is a rare occurrence. The last time we all went to a movie together was when we went and saw “Oz, The Great and Powerful,” I don’t know how many years ago. During that last go around, I glanced over to see my mom had fallen asleep in the “Wizard of Oz”-inspired film, which proved to be far more interesting than the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West became the Wicked Witch of the West. Honestly, by the end of that film I wished I’d fallen asleep with my mom.

Be that as it may, this time, as my son, my mom and I watched the movie “Joy,” my mom was as far from falling asleep as she could be. Her eyes were bright as she watched Jennifer Lawrence portray the QVC/Home Shopping Network queen Joy Mangano on the big screen, while I seemed to be absorbed – let’s say struck – by one scene very early on in the film.

In that scene, Lawrence has pulled up the hardwood floor in her mother’s room because of a leaky pipe underneath it. The mother hangs onto to her daughter’s every movement as Lawrence gets a wrench and tries to fix the problem. Even as she works, they go back and forth as to why the pipe is plugged, spewing water straight up into the room. Even after Lawrence tries to stop the leak, water continues to shoot straight up and her mother asks her the inevitable question that every member of the sandwich generation knows (and if they don’t know it, they will). It goes something like this, “What do you mean you can’t fix it?” spoken in a tone that says the speaker can’t even comprehend a world where said fixer can’t do something.

It’s then that Lawrence spoke the words that resonated with me. “No, Mom, it’s beyond my capabilities. I have to call a plumber,” she says as she tosses the wrench back in a wooden tool box, which just happens to be under the nearby table with its placement just happening to point out how many times she has done the very same thing before.

Those words, “It’s beyond my capabilities,” sang to my soul. How many times have many of us done the exact same thing over and over, only to find the problem just recurs despite our best efforts to fix it? Then just by some weird twist of something, the fix we usually use just doesn’t work anymore, causing those around you to stand agog that, somehow, something that we can usually take care of with aplomb is beyond our capabilities.

That “something” can be almost anything. I think the most important part of the process is coming to the conclusion that something is beyond your capability, that you need to bring someone else in to help fix whatever the issue is because you just can’t resolve it, and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

From what I’ve seen, many of us are usually at the end of our very-frayed rope before we even think of admitting that something is beyond our capabilities. We have so many plates spinning in the air, that the very thought that we have to bring someone else in to help with something actually adds one more plate to the action rather than take it away, in spite of the fact that doing so actually does help with the load instead of adding to it.

So, the next time you fellow members of the sandwich generation find yourself facing anything that you know deep in your soul is beyond your capabilities, resist the urge to try to take care of it yourself once again and face the reality of the situation at hand. That, for one of those rare times in life, you have found something that is beyond your ability to take care of on your own, and repeat after me, “This is beyond my capabilities.”

Even saying it will make you feel better!

Sarah Lunsford is a freelance journalist living in Murphys You can reach her at selunsford@gmail.com.

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