Fifty Plus (50+) - Burma road ride
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After some 25 years, I finally went on the Burma road ride. Burma road is the nickname for the road going up to Jerusalem from Bet Shemesh via Tzuba. It was constructed to bypass the main road as a route to bring supplies to besieged Jerusalem in the 1948 war. Flowers and trees were blooming, the scent of pine filled the cool morning air, and the views were breath taking- not to mention the climb up to see them. This ride coincided with my fathers' passing away 20 years ago - he was my riding companion in in those fondly remembered yesteryears. I plucked a blooming almond twig from a tree growing on the very roadside we passed together on one of our numerous saturday routes, put it in my back pocket, brought it to the kibbutz where he is buried some 100 km south, and placed it on his grave during a remembrance ceremony we carry out every year. RIP
Well, you sure put things in perspective for me this morning. Your words were a touching, beautiful tribute to your father.
02-11-06, 11:30 AM
Many of us have fathers (and hope to be remembered as such) whom we wish to honor, remember, and carry with us....a warm hug from Dad is a longed for fantasy. Your ride today was just such an act of honor and remembrance......I admire you Berts (and your Dad, too). Thanks for your post.
My dad taught me to ride, but, like JPPE below, we never rode together. We did spend countless evenings playing catch in the street. He would very much approve of every ride I take today and, were he still here, would roll me out of bed every morning with a "Rise and shine, time to ride the bike...breakfast is on."
02-11-06, 01:19 PM
Burma road is a name given to a great number of direct routes from A to B. How they get their name I do not know as from my memories of Burma- Nothing is straight, direct or quick.
I had a friend whose ashes are scattered at a memorable point on one of our rides. Never have time to reminisce with him as it is on a tricky bit of track and at 25% gradient- I am always working hard going up the hill, or the adrenalyn gets me going down. However he still gets a rebel yell whenever I pass to let him know I am stil riding and thinking of him.
A wonderful post and another example of what some of us are able to take away from riding. I usually find some time on my rides to talk to my Dad, who died 5 years ago. While he was not a cyclist, we walked down many a fairway together.
Old Hammer Boy
02-11-06, 05:18 PM
I'm lucky, my Dad's still with us. He will turn 85 next month. Posts like this one help me appreciate what days we have left together and not to take them for granted. Thanks, Berts.
02-12-06, 06:06 AM
A beautiful tribute! Thank you for the inspiration as I work on prayers for this morning's service. Amen.
02-12-06, 06:41 AM
I am a born again christian. My father remarried and moved to California. He was a musician and upholstering was his trade. It was not until I was widowed that I actually became closer to my dad. I traveled to California to visit him many times.
When I first rode bikes with him we were together in a three wheeler. What fun! if you like taking the corners on two wheels still on the ground. hee hee. He was probably in his 80's then and still walking around the block.
The last time I ever rode bikes with him was when he got on his four wheel Amigo, bright red. He bought it with his own money (not wanting to owe no one especially the gov.) and I on my Trek 2200. He took me to the post office and on over to his favorite Cocsco store. We rode up and down side streets like crazy.
He was 91 years young.
My dad died January 14, 2004 at the age of 92
He loved gadgets. He had a five dollar wrist watch that had a rooster crowing sound on the hour. My brother buried dad with that watch on...
He was an avid motorcyclist and airplane pilot. He owned a 1942 Coupe. The name fails me.....
Because I am so active, my oldest brother whos is 74 rides his bike one mile every day. He has had both knees replaced.
I can only imagine how beautiful the Burma Road is. bc
Your responses are overwhelming and I am very happy to be able to share my thoughts and feelings on this wonderful forum.
My father was a good man who was beloved by all who knew him. His humor, vitality, love for life and spirit irradiated and lightened wherever and with whomever he was present. At the early age of 62 he was stricken by a form of leukemia which managed to overpower even his seemingly inconquestable constitution. I am sure his spirit is still alive in all who knew him including one of his grandchildren (my youngest son) with whom he unfortunately never had the opportunity to embrace.
02-12-06, 12:10 PM
What a wonderful thread and tribute to fathers. I've been a little down lately, and this thread brought things back into perspective which makes me so grateful. I'm about to take an all-afternoon ride and I'll now be thinking about my father throughout the day.
My dad is a pretty robust 82 year old man, nearing his 64th wedding anniversary with my mom in Florida. A veteran of WWII (he was a navigator on a B-26), my father built his own home beginning in 1954, and helped my mom raise a family of four children there. They remained in that house for forty years.
His professional and academic dreams cut short by the war, my dad was never wealthy, and spent my childhood years working two, and sometimes three jobs. I resented him at the time for not being around as much as I wanted -- and now I understand, appreciate, and acknowledge all he sacrificed to put food on our table.
When time allowed, we played some football together in the back yard, and he took me camping a time or two. A quiet man, he looked a bit like Mickey Rooney as a young man, and later, became almost a spitting image of James Cagney (so much so that strangers occasionally asked for his autograph!).
One of the traits that describes my dad was his knack for engaging strangers in conversations -- waitresses, bank tellers, other shoppers, the guy taking the parking lot money, you name it. My dad would talk to everyone (as my mother rolled her eyes impatiently) and made friends easily and everywhere.
These days, my parents still go ballroom dancing several times a week; he plays drums in several senior center bands, and he sends jokes (some quite questionable!) over the internet to a long list of people every day. It's taken me over fifty years to understand my father as much as I do, and to appreciate him for the gifts he bestowed.
Forgive me for rambling on and on (my father would NEVER write more than three words in a post if he were on this forum!). I'm going to go ride, and remember my dad.
I haven't shared this with many folks but I actually think being with my dad and seeing him deteriorate with Alzheimers/Parkinsons was the catalyst for me starting to ride. I witnessed a fellow who as physically and mentally strong as anyone I've ever met being ravaged by diseases that had no cure. It may have shocked me into realizing I too was once very physically active and needed to get a little more fit. There were probably other factors but I can't help but wonder if that didn't have a lot to do with it.
Like many of your Dad's, mine was also in WWII and flew the P47 Thunderbolt. After the war, he would talk to civic groups about his experiences in the war and entertaiin them by showing films from his gun cameras. My bedtime stories growing up were of his stories of his experiences in the war. I loved hearing those as long as he was able to tell them.......
02-12-06, 02:47 PM
Seems much of our generation are brothers of sorts. Somewhat like JPPE, I spent several days with my dad in ICU as he slowly died...and I determined to stay active as long as I could--not to avoid death but to embrace life. Like many of you, I still feel my father close by while cycling, hiking. Dad landed at Normandy and walked/crawled through Belgium, Holland, Germany while my mom waited on the farm dreading the Western Union man. Classic Great Generation people. I'm a sort of faint bridge between people of the Depression and WWII, and my own children who have, relatively speaking, a very different view of the world and their place in it.
As Victor Hanson put it, people burned to death in the skies over Germany so, among other things, we and our children can dream of many futures but, sadly, sometimes forget our past.
*** first it was haiku, now reminiscence. For a cycling forum, we do wonders.
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