Yesterday I got Marshall's trike out and took it for a ride, trying to figure out all the bells and whistles. I went to a big parking lot and practiced. It was very bittersweet. He loved that bike so much. But I made progress and plan to get it out more often and maybe even some day take a longer ride than just around town.
For those of you who weren't reading this blog when Marshall got the motorcycle, he had it custom painted to represent his year in Vietnam and he took it to shows to not only commemorate his unit in the Air Force but to promote prostate cancer awareness. He passed out brochures and talked to everyone who would listen about men paying attention to subtle symptoms. It always amazed us that the men never wanted to listen, but the women would stop and get the brochure. Men!
The front fairing of the bike has a replica of a piece of the Vietnam Wall and it contains the names of the men who died in his unit. The cover to the trunk has an eagle with its wings spread holding the United States in a protective manner. One of the back fenders has a map of Vietnam. The other back fender has a reproduction of a photo of the men in his unit who survived being shot down. One of the front fenders has an AC-119 gunship firing on the enemy. The other front fender has what is called the Ribbon of Death. The gas tank has the POW "You are not forgotten" symbol on each side. And what makes this all so special is that the artist who painted the bike did everything in such a subtle way that you have to really look closely at the bike to see all this stuff. It sounds gawdy but it truly isn't.
The artist also put the US flag all over the bike but you really can't see it unless the lighting is perfect. It is phenomenal. Marshall was able to take it to three different shows before he died and he won top honors at each show. When he knew he would never ride the bike again he asked me to promise him that I would take care of the bike and that I would continue to show it. I told him I would take care of the bike but that I couldn't promise to show it -- I just didn't have the confidence for that.
But now, oh how I wish I would have made that promise. It would have meant so much to him and now I'm actually feeling like I could show it.
Another thing he badly wanted to do was ride with the Patriot Guard. They are the group that -- when invited by the family -- accompanies a serviceman's body to the cemetery. They try to gather as many riders as possible and it makes an awesome sight and a very moving sight, sometimes as many as a hundred riders. Marshall never got to do it because the opportunities were always too far away and he didn't have the strength. But I get his emails now and I see the Patriot Guard information and I'm thinking I could do that for him. Stay tuned and we'll see.
Today I went to see the Veterans Service Officer but he wasn't in so I'll try again tomorrow.
Then I went to Pueblo and picked up my new glasses. Not sure if I like the frames all that much (see photo) but it sure is nice to have better vision and the larger glasses help in that regard. The trip to Pueblo was a little depressing because I wanted to see him next to me. We would always go to Pueblo to have lunch after a doctor appointment.