Posts Tagged ‘dicrimination’

Riding for Beth Scarborough

May 31, 2009

By Ed Chasteen

             Beth lives in Texas, my home state, though not hers, Married to a military husband, Beth has lived all over the map. Her daughter, Christy, graduated high school in Alaska. Christy went to college and seminary. She met Jason Edwards. They got married. On Easter Sunday this year, Jason came as pastor of my church, Second Baptist, here in Liberty. So came Christy, Jason and five-month old, Jackson, to our town and church. Beth and husband, Ed, came for Jason’s installation. I met Beth. And learned she was diagnosed with MS in 1998. We talked. I told her about our annual Greater Liberty Ride for MS. I promised to do something special for her.

            This is it. I will ride our Greater Liberty Ride for MS this year in Beth’s honor. I will ride the MS Ride this September for Beth. I knew in the instant of our meeting that Beth lives above and beyond whatever the condition that prompted the cane in her hand. Joy is visible in her face. Her bearing is that of a victor, one at peace with life, at ease in her own skin and with other people. I suspect Beth will journey often from Waco to Liberty in the years just ahead. I find that a most pleasant thought.

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Go the Distance

December 15, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Ten thousand miles every year on my bicycle! That’s my goal. Only once, five years ago, have I actually made it. I most always make a D or better; often a C; sometimes a B; now and then an A-. Then in 2003, an A++. I hit 10,000 that year just after Christmas, then rode a few miles more.

Better than 20 years now I’ve been going this distance. No other medicine to keep my MS at bay do I take. I’ve convinced myself that every day I ride is another day I don’t visit a doctor. The endorphins that come with biking jolt my reluctant body to life as no other prescription ever has or can.

Long retired, I ride to live and live to ride. No vacations! My bike goes with me everywhere. Neither heat nor cold keep me off my bike. Only ice! In every season of the year, I ride. Every day of the week. During the work-week, alone. But Saturday! Ah, Saturday! Then the Greater Liberty riders join me. Two or three to 30 or 40, depending on the weather. And off we ride to a town some 15 to 25 miles away for breakfast.

Psyching myself up when the wind is howling or the mercury plummeting, takes all the mental energy I can muster on weekdays when I ride alone. Sometimes I lose the fight with myself and crawl aboard the stationary bike in my spare bedroom that goes nowhere and leaves me feeling only slightly less defeated than not riding at all.

But no matter the season or the weather, Saturday’s dawn draws me as a magnet to the place where by email the hundreds of us Greater Liberty Riders have been told to meet to begin our ride. Today on this mid-December morn, Rodger and I have come an hour early. He could begin with everybody else, keep up with them, and arrive with them for breakfast. But I can’t. So I arrive in time for breakfast, I’ve taken to starting early. Rodger comes to keep me company.

The mild temperature is offset this morning by winds gusting to 40 miles per hour. Off we go. Three miles we’ve ridden, just to the intersection of Ruth Ewing Road and 291 Highway, when Steve drives up in his car. “I thought I’d catch you at the bike shop before you started. I can’t believe you’re riding in this wind,” he says. “Park your car and come with us,” I say. “I need to go back to the shop and wait to see if other crazy people come,” he says.

Rodger and I leave 291 to descend a fast and meandering ribbon of road into Missouri City. The dogs come out to protect their turf but show no zeal for their mission. We’re soon past The Smallest AAA School in Missouri and back to 291. Soon we spot a biker far behind and coming fast. Lyle catches us. He and Rodger ride on ahead. Two others appear in my rearview mirror. Steve and Rick speak as they pass me. Rodger is waiting where Z leaves 291 for the mile into Orrick and breakfast at Fubbler’s. We arrive together.

Heather is waiting. I called yesterday to say that a dozen of us were riding to breakfast. “The wind got seven,” I tell her. Our table for 12 has been set. We don’t have to ask for more water. We have learned the character of all the places we ride to on Saturdays. Each is distinct from the other. Rather than compare them, we relish their differences that occasion stories among us. When chains and franchises monopolize the land, these little outposts of comfort food differ enough to amuse and enthuse us and keep us coming back year after year.

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Miles 7030-7115

May 19, 2008

August 27th
From Ed Chasteen

Four ears of corn lay on Ray Gill’s desk. All different sizes. None large. The kernels are rock hard. “Just right,” Ray says.

Ray is a long-time and big-time farmer. He has planted lots of corn and soybeans. Some of his corn is irrigated, so the drought hasn’t wiped out everything. “If we get rain in the next four or five days,” he says, “the beans will be okay. If not. . . ” His voice trails off.

For some reason I can’t explain that notion that a stalk of corn has only one ear keeps running through my mind. Ever since Otis Miller told me, I’ve been wondering why. Or if it’s true. I’m from Missouri after all. You have to show me. So I ask Ray.

“That’s right,” he says. “They breed field corn to have only one ear. And not the biggest ear.” He holds up his hand with finger and thumb stretched about as far as possible. “About this size,” he says. He tells me how many ounces of corn they prefer to an ear. It’s not a big number he says, though I didn’t write it down and don’t remember exactly. I’ll ask him next time I come to Richmond.

I’m early getting to Jerry McCarter’s office. I told him yesterday that I would be back today about 11. It’s 10 when I arrive. I’ve brought books for all the Richmond people who helped with our Century ride back on May 31st. I will leave them with Jerry. He will get them to everyone.

I wonder if it’s a test. To see if anyone will notice. If so, is there a prize? Where do you go to claim it? Coming into Rayville on C Highway from either direction, signs say the town’s population is 204. But U Highway announces that 197 people make this place their home. Reminds me of the signs in Stewartsville and Prathersville. Coming into town from one direction, the town name is missing a “s”: Stewartville and Pratherville. The little things you notice on a bike. Brings to mind a song that was popular when I was a kid: “Little Things Mean a Lot.”

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When Laura Remembers Harry Potter

May 19, 2008

From Ed Chasteen

When Laura tells her children years from now the story of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, she will remember where and when she first heard the story. On the way to her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday party on the beach at Corpus Christi. Four long days from her home in Liberty and back, strapped in the rear seat of Papa and Nana’s big car, stopping every couple of hours at Burger King or McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and a toy. Listening every minute on the road to the 17 tapes telling the story of Harry’s struggle with Lord Voldemort. His friendship with Hermione and Ron. His love of Sirius Black. His suspicion of Snape. His awe and admiration of Dumbledore.

Laura may not remember the blowout we had at 70 miles an hour on I-35 just out of Temple. The noise was that of a giant semi bearing down on us from the rear. We pulled to the shoulder and scrambled out of the car. I-35’s reputation as trucker’s alley from south Texas to Canada is well earned. Giant 18-wheelers two abreast roar by just inches from our stalled car. We run from the car across a grassy area and an access road to stand beneath a scraggly tree. I call AAA on my cell phone. Forty-five minutes later a Temple Tow truck drives up behind our car. A few minutes later, the driver has replaced our blown tire with the baby version that all recent model cars now carry.

Gary Crossley Ford in Liberty had put four new Goodyear tires on our 99 Crown Vic just days before we left for Texas. “About 10 miles,” the tow driver said when I asked for the nearest Goodyear dealer. “Ask for Roy or Nathan.” “I’m Nathan,” said the man behind the desk a short time later. A few minutes later he showed us a tire filled with ground rubber. He had drawn a small circle on the tire wall. “See this hole?’ He asked. “That’s what caused the blowout.” He said we would have to buy a new tire.

“But it’s a new tire. What about the guarantee?” ” Something punctured the tire. It’s not guaranteed against road hazard.” Our conversation is beginning to heat up. “Let me call my dealer back home,” I say. When Todd Crossley comes on the phone and I explain everything to him, he says, “Tell them to put on a new tire. Bring me the bill. We will reimburse you.” My love of my hometown and my faith in its local business people is again affirmed.

“Haven’t we stopped here before?” Laura asks as we pull up in front of Osceola Cheese near seven o’clock in the evening on our last day out. We had just spent the day at Silver Dollar City. We had gotten soaked on water rides first thing that morning and walked around wet all day, giving us relief from the 100 degree heat. “Yes, we stopped here another time on our way home,” we say to Laura. “It’s tradition,” Laura exclaims as she jumps from the car.

The last Harry Potter tape plays out near Clinton. Laura asks to hear tape number two again, the one where Harry visits Sirius. It ends on the outskirts of Liberty. “I’m anxious to see Daddy,” says Laura. “Can I run up to the door as soon as we stop?”

Time with family we seldom see. Playing in the waves at the beach. Pizza at the pool. A giant birthday party. A day at Silver Dollar City. Staying enroute with artist friends and viewing their work. Dinner at a Czeck Restaurant in West, Texas. The bucking inflated rubber horse at the pool in Kimberling City, Missouri. Eight days and 2300 miles on the road. All the time hoping that Dolores Umbridge will be deposed as Hogwart’s Grand Inquisitor and Dumbledore will regain his position.

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Flat Tires and the Law of Short Intervals

May 19, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Yesterday on the way to Orrick. Today coming from Camden Point. Flats! First on the front; then on the rear. Julie to the rescue yesterday. Rich today.

Rich Groves, Dale Ahle and I met in front of Biscari Brothers Bicycles yesterday at 7 AM. We wanted to try out an alternate departure route from Liberty in case the tornado damage along H Highway is not cleared in time for our planned Century ride two weeks from today.

Across the shopping center parking lot to Brown Street. Right on Brown to Progress. Right on Progress past the post office to Withers Road. Left on Withers to Holt Drive. Left on Holt to Birmingham Road. Right on Birmingham to Ruth Ewing Road. Left on Ruth Ewing across 291 Highway to Liberty Landing Road. Right on Liberty Landing to Old 210 Highway. Left on Old 210. Then straight ahead for five level miles of river valley road before coming to New 210 and a long gradual climb up past Missouri City.

Dale is riding my blue bike, my back-up bike, the one I ride when my red Trek is in the shop for some quick repair. Both have drop bars and narrow leather seats, with bar-end gear shifts. Today is Dale’s second day on the road. Yesterday Dave Biscari loaned him a hybrid Trek with shocks on the fork and on the seat post, a wider seat, wider tires and straight up-right handlebars. That bike was more Dale’s style, a fact he discovered after just a few miles sitting on that seat and leaning too far forward to work the brakes. But he’s a good sport. He has done well for the ten miles before we come to the hill.

“My first time out I fell twice and hit a pole. It’s okay to walk up. The only wimps are those who stay at home.” Dale wants to do this. And I want to encourage him. His legs begin to cramp, and Dale calls Julie, his wife, to come pick him up. “You and Rich ride on to Orrick. Julie and Emma and I will meet you at Fubbler’s.

Rich and I have gone another mile or two when it happens. My front wheel begins to bob and weave. I can’t hold it steady. Without a sound all the air has escaped and my tire is limp and shapeless. I pull off the road and release the front wheel. I’ve gotten the new tube in and remounted the wheel when Dale rides up. “I kept pedalin’ after I called Julie. Then I saw you up ahead and thought you might be having problems.”

The tiny pump I carry requires maximum effort for minimum effect. After much exertion the tire is inflated. But just barely. “Why don’t you take my bike and ride on? I’ll put yours in the van.” I exchange bikes with Dale. Rich and I pedal on. Level except for the railroad overpass and with a wide paved shoulder, the five miles into Orrick on 210 are pure delight. Until!! Until we pass over the Fishing River Bridge for the last mile and a-half. The shoulder here has been ripped apart by giant farm machines. It’s a maze of rough and jagged asphalt. Mortal enemy of skinny tired road bikes. I abandon the shoulder to take my rightful place as a vehicle on the road in company with cars and pickups and 18-wheelers. I feel safer.
Then we are there. Dale is standing outside as we pull up. His blue van is parked in front. Julie and nine-year old daughter, Emma, are seated inside. The biscuits and gravy are superb. But more time has passed than I had planned. I’ll be late getting home in time for LaVonna McKinney’s surprise birthday party at Tryst Falls Baptist Church. Dale has a plan. “You and Rich start riding back. I’ll take your bike home. Then take Julie and Emma home and come back to get you.” We have made it back to Missouri City and are just about to attack that long hill when Dale arrives.

This Sunday afternoon Rich and I have driven to Ferrelview and parked my car at the Christian Church. The ride up Interurban Road to Camden Point is scenic and pure pleasure. Interurban and Old 210 are the only two level roads of significant length anywhere in these parts. Our mission today is to check out the bridge over the Little Platte River, a few miles this side of Camden Point. The old wooden bridge that we’ve ridden several times was closed over a year ago and slated for replacement. We want to see if it has been done, and, if so, what the new bridge looks like.

Before we come to the bridge, we come to the pavement’s end and a sign: ROUGH ROAD. My skinny tires are not gravel-friendly, but if I ride where cars have gone most of the rocks have been kicked aside. I ride slowly and straight ahead. And there’s the bridge. The old wooden bridge had a metal superstructure to either side and high over head. The new concrete bridge has a shiny metal guard-rail along both sides. Efficient. But not aesthetic.

At the softball diamond in Camden Point a woman and a young girl about nine are playing as we ride up. The woman is pitching to the girl. They stop momentarily and come over. The woman is impressed that we have ridden 13 miles and will ride 13 back. “Do you ride the MS-150?’ She asks. “He does,” says Rich, pointing to me “Actually, this year I’m riding 10,000 miles to raise $100,000 for MS.” I say.

“My mother had MS. It’s a horrible disease.” She says. “Well, it’s the only one I’ve got. I don’t know how it compares to others.” I say.”Good luck,” she says, “I know you’ll make it.”

We have not ridden twenty yards on our way back when I feel that bump in the back. I’ve felt it before. My rear tire is losing air. Rich is up ahead. No need to call out yet. Several miles later, I must. “Rich, hold up.” When I pull abreast, I say, “I’ve got a flat. Take my keys and ride on. I’ll ride as long as I can. You come back and get me.”

I get to the bridge and find a good spot where Rich can park the car while I mount my bike on the carrier. I sit to write until he comes.

Actually, this is three flats in three days. Friday was Dale’s birthday. We met at 11 when Dave opened his bike shop. Dale picked a bike he thought Dale would like. We loaded it in Dale’s van and drove to Liberty’s Animal Shelter on Old 210. We set off from there on our bikes. Past the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex. We stopped beneath the underpass where New 210 crosses Old 210. Then past the intersection with Raines Road. We had gone two miles. And the rear tire on Dale’s brand new bike went flat.

I rode back. Put my bike on the car. And drove to pick up Dale. I took my bike off, put Dale’s bike on. “Meet me at Liberty Bend Fish Market, just up the road from the Animal shelter. I’m buying your lunch for your birthday.” We get a barbecue and a fish sandwich and each eat half of both. Then we drive back to Biscari Brothers. Dave puts in a new tire, and we drive back to the Animal Shelter. We make it to the end of Old 210 and back. Ten mile round trip. Plus the two before the flat. A good first Day for Dale. He falls in love with that bike. “I’ll see if Biscari Brothers and I can make a deal. I create a website to sell their bikes in exchange for this bike.”
Don Gielker’s Law of Short Intervals has certainly operated these three days. Don teaches physics at William Jewell. He tells me that the most likely time for a rare thing to happen is immediately after it just happened. I go for months and for thousands of miles without a flat. Now in three days and less than a hundred miles: three flats. I hope the law is not in effect tomorrow.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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