To “dip” or not to “dip”

The plans for today changed almost literally by the minute. To “dip” or not to “dip” was the question. “Dipping” the front bike tire in the Mississippi River is a tradition to completing the RAGBRAI. Did we want to ride the last day’s full distance into the headwinds partially retracing yesterday’s route? Did we want to sag halfway and ride into Keokuk with all the confusion and traffic? Did we want to just drive over to the river right here in Burlington and dip there… it is still the Mississippi right? Or should we bag the dipping tradition altogether and head to breakfast at Miss K’s restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, where we enjoyed breakfast yesterday?Can you guess? You got it, we chose breakfast over crowds, commotion, wind, hills…and dipping.

I manage to get in the way when I try to help our very efficient family team with packing up. So I step aside and busy myself. Today I explored the labyrinth in the yard of the Luthern church where we camped. I walked in quiet contemplation of what was needed for myself and the people around me. First was a teammate who had lost an expensive and needed item. My prayers turned towards her as the labyrinth turned me left. I realized as I walked, my turns took me near the center and then in another direction to the walk towards the outside. Facing east then west, north then south. With each turn, I contemplated the many people who had entered my life the past week and asked that the emptiness in their life would be filled.

To the generous people who donated to Davis Phinney foundation in the names of Charlie and Carol. I walked the labyrinth in gratitdue.  My friends, you donated over $3400 to help people with Parkinson’s disease live well. $750 was donated by 250 people from their purchase of “The Ribbon of Road Ahead”. Thank you all for your generosity. The team’s total was $94,000 in donations.

I thought about the people I met on the ride. Again with the intention that any nmeeting with localseed they had might be met. The woman whose husband died from MSA, a relative of PD; the woman who knows my cousin Tom Brumm; People who commented on our kits and ended having an hour conversation; the lawyer who was recently diagnosed and saw our DPF jerseys; a woman whose sister died with another chronic illness…and many more I am not remembering. I sent thoughts of peace and comfort as you find your way; To the couple who came to see me at my cousin’s house I pray you through the challenges you face.

To my teammates: as you finish your ride today and find your way home may there be a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with the miles you pedaled.

And our family who joined me on this trip and supported me. When the symptoms of Parkinson’s really wreaked havoc you provided what was needed. And you celebrated with me when I felt well, watching over me vigilantly yet discreetly. Thanks.

I saw my shadow on the labyrinth It looked the same no matter the direction I walked. It said to me “You are not the shadow, yet the shadow duplicates you. The shadow shows you, the entire you.  You cannot see what Parkinson’s has robbed you of.

Our RAGBRAI did not end by dipping tires in the Mississippi.

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