Friday, September 21, 2007
A Visit With Family
If Bike the US for MS were to have cheerleaders, Elaine Petry, my grandfather's wife would certainly be the head. Along with my grandpa Russ Petry, I'm pretty sure Elaine tells literally every person she meets (or knows) about our efforts. Through letters to her many friends, bulletins in her church newsletter, and conversations with someone as unlikely as a passing fellow patron in a restaurant, Elaine tells EVERYONE about what we are up to and is sure to pass out the pertinent literature she carries in her purse.
Russ and Elaine both being octogenarians, it is difficult for them to hop on the internet and check our status. So they regularly go to a nearby office supply store and employ the help of a nice young lady who leads them through our website and prints out updates. Their letters to us and their words of support throughout the planning stages of this trip and on have truly been inspiring to all of us.
Wednesday found Karl, Mason, Don and I in Odell, Illinois a very small farming town about ninety miles south of Chicago. We were there to meet Grandpa and Elaine who had been given a surprise trip to meet us by the mayor of their Chicago suburb River Grove. Mayor Marilynn May and her incredibly kind administrative assistant Jeanne Walsh were so appreciative of Russ and Elaine's positive involvement in their town that when Elaine brought our trip to their attention they felt compelled to charter a luxury sedan for them both to ride down and meet us as we passed near Chicago. Not only that, but River Grove's kind leader also found an anonymous donor to buy all of us lunch.
Our visit was excellent; the love, support and excitement that exuded from these two wonderful people was so apparent to all of us. For me personally, being able to spend time on this journey with two of the most important people in my life was something so positive that it's tough to put to words. My Grandpa's eyes told me instantly that he felt the same way. The unending support and love he's always shown me was thick in the air around us there in Odell, and I nor the other guys could have asked for better company.
Thanks so much to you Grandpa and Elaine for the kind cards, the tasty snacks, the fun conversation, but foremost for being such kind, caring and interested grandparents. You both are so appreciated and loved.