The Riders

The Riders
The end at Yorktown

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Tribute to Gary

A Tribute to Gary

On Monday, June 20, we said goodbye to Gary.   He has become a part of the team, and it feels like something is missing.  Tonight I had to cut the lettuce for the meal, something Gary always did.   So what can I say about Gary?

In so many ways, Gary is like me.  He is a strong Christian, and that defines our lives.  He is a strong family man, and can articulate real family values.  Like me, he is a social worker.  So many of our beliefs about life and living are in sync. Issues of politics and poverty are important to us both and this carries over from our professional training and life experiences.  .

We both love bicycling.  That’s where things part.  While I am not strong on a bike, Gary excels.   He has the unusual ability to appear to ride effortlessly, especially when climbing hills.  He earned the nickname “mountain man” from gliding past Pete and me on the steep mountain passes, and does this in much higher gears than normal people could tolerate.  He has this remarkable combination of stamina, leg strength and conditioning as a runner that enables him to be the outstanding biker that he is. 

As for me, I have to try to use every little edge I can find.  Things like drafting, which means riding in the slip stream of a bike ahead is necessary for me, but for Gary is a nuisance that interferes with the joy of riding and a better view of the scenery.  I speed up on a downhill to get a better run at a difficult up hill ahead.  For Gary that is unnecessary, as he simply glides up the hill.  He has a different style that comes from strength, mine from weakness.

Gary also has a remarkable memory.  Things like “where did we stay three nights ago” are so much easier for him than for me.  Bits of trivia are a part of his life, and when I asked him who was on a winning world series team from 50 year ago (1957 to be exact), he named the starting players without a hitch.  Who else would remember Henry Aaron, Warren Spahn, Del Crandel, Johnny Logan, Joe Adcock, Bobby Thompson, Billy Bruton and Eddy Matthews of the Milwaukee Braves?   And, the positions they played!!  What can I say?

So we say farewell and God bless, and hope to get together to share pictures and stories together with our families when we return to Grand Rapids.  . We hope he has a wonderful vacation in Colorado with his wife and family and a safe return to Grand Rapids. 

Submitted by Dave G.  

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