C minus (almost) 3 but who is counting…why am I posting ridiculous things about Maryhelen?

My  friend  Maryhelen has posted some unusual happenings as of late. A skunk attack while she was hiking, an uninvited bear visit to the community of Fossil. These give me fodder for fun. You see,  Maryhelen and have shared some interesting and challenging  life events. And we have a mutual history  going back to our childhood  that was not identified until we were adults.  Some of the history of our friendship has been based in deeply spiritual encounters, and some has been etched into our lives as  pure mischievous, practical jokes and play, not to exclude water fights and a pink bunny squirt gun.
When I saw the Facebook picture of the “league of adventurous women” my imagination started running wild. The fodder became fuel.   I remember a card Maryhelen sent me picturing a woman trick rider at a rodeo in maybe the 1920’s.  From that time on I thought of us as the “Godmothers of the Rodeo.” There was a trip to Seaside when, upon  discovering the bar at the Shilo Inn was closed because of a special visitor, a  certain Tricia did a sheik imitation and Maryhelen and I were her bodyguards.  Flying out of Rome in first class on Air Aitalia we chose to rewrite the script to the “Three Musketeers” movie and annoy the passengers who paid for first class with our hysterical storyline.  

Life connections come  through many different avenues. I had just met Maryhelen through Diosesean church activities when we saw each other at her “aunt” and my “godmothers ” funeral in Walla Walla. Loretta often mentioned taking me to Fossil to ride Arabian horses with her nieces. So it took me until October 1994 to trailer my paint horse to the Dusty Saddle Ranch and ride with Maryhelen, mounted on a grey Arabian, probably a descendent of the horses she and her sisters rode as kids.

Sitting on the steps outside the church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the church of St James, we shared deep personal stories of giving, receiving and letting go. We joined thousands of people from around the world kneeling in prayer so powerful that some souls were physically overcome as Satan left them kicking and screaming in the losing battle against the Holy Spirit. 

We walked daily from our lodging in a visionary’s home to the church of St James, praying and playing.

And in a few days we will walk on another path, west towards the Cathedral of St James. We will walk as far as Maryhelen has time.  And then, another year she will return to sit on the steps of church of St James. Santiago de Compostela.

I laughed hysterically looking for the pictures of the wing walking women. It took my mind away from wondering which clothes to discard in order to make my pack lighter or if i calculated the correct amount of medications I would need for the trip. Or if I was going to really catch the commuter flight into Pendleton after flying  Madrid to Frankfurt to Portland and going through customs and passport control.  

Laughter is so good for the soul. It washes away anxieties and fears and worries of our ineptness. Thanks Maryhelen for allowing me to poke some fun at you.  It’s all pure fun. You know I’m not actually a crazed lunatic setting you up to do rolls in a crop duster. And I know that if I ever was to reach a breaking point, you would put me back together with duct tape and bailing string and all would be well.

Wednesday Thursday and then Friday we fly.





Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty she was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from her career as a speech-language pathologist she decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. Her first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired her to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Carol blogs about her everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her honest, humorous and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of Carol’s resilience and acceptance. Her blog, sharing the name of her book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University Carol received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. She provided speech pathology services and was a program director for 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association she received honors of the association and the presidential award for her work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Carol presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. She was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licencing and consumer protection agency. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Carol has become active in the Parkinson’s Community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. She was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected Carol to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, Carol presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulaiton. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan she presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Her book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 she rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project she read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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