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Reflecting from my office across the dealership at Sierra Motors in Jamestown I ofton wonder what little things in my life took place to lead me to become a GM.
I’m sure with a smile in my heart this is one of them.
We all have experienced disappointment at some point(s) in our lives. Friends, relatives, parents or children, not to mention jobs, athletic endeavors and relationships, all have their pitfalls. But do you remember your first disappointment?
As I grew up my Dad set a great example by having an excellent work ethic. He was never unemployed and always provided for our family. In retrospect, I always knew that my Father was very fortunate to work for a good man. Things were different back in the 60’s. Guys that worked together seemed to do family things together.
My dad’s Boss was Jim. It seemed to me as a kid that Jim was family. My Dad went and spent everyday with him at work and our families did things together on evenings and weekends. I even called him “Uncle Jim”. It never crossed my mind as a child that it was any other way.
I walked out of Jim’s front door, to go into his garage, where he and my Father were working on some project together. I heard Jim say to my Dad “I sure like it when Eric calls me Uncle Jim”. My five year old mind and body froze. I couldn’t even think of all of the ramifications of that statement.
On the way home, I asked my Dad, “Why did Jim say that he like me calling him Uncle Jim… isn’t he”? In my mind I addressed all of my Uncles and Aunts in the same manner. Weather it was Uncle Bill or Aunt Pat, it was their relationship followed by their first name. Then the bomb dropped. My Father told me, “He’s not really your uncle you just call him that.”
I couldn’t believe it. I had been duped. I knew that I would never call him Uncle Jim ever again. I was so disappointed!
I must have gotten over it soon though, as I happily spent time with Jim over the years. We did things like fishing together. When I was having trouble learning to water-ski he yelled out from the boat, “Ride it like a skate board” and I did. My back foot was sideways for the first summer of skiing. For some odd reason, he called me “Chicken Kid” and I called him “Chicken Man”. He still influences me to this day.
But, I really thought he was my Uncle. And at the end of the day it’s not blood it’s the heart. I love you uncle Jim…I mean chicken man…
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First & foremost, I love my nephew Mikey and am very proud of him. I am positive that Mike was born to be a Marine. He took to boot camp like a duck to water. He is on his second tour in the Middle East. He is currently stationed in Iraq. A man that volunteered to go into harms way for the protection of others, what a Stud. He and his wife Stephanie are just good people.
Just before Mike was set to go, I asked him what he wanted to do before he left Lancaster. His answer was as simple and straightforward as the man himself, “ride Five Deer”. We have ridden mountain bikes together for years. This one trail is special. It is lovingly called “the toughest downhill you will ever climb”. Although only 12 miles long, it is full of intense, rocky, rutted, windswept, breathtaking fun. In other words just right for the occasion.
Our early morning start was greeted with gusting 35mph winds and rain clouds. The best place to park is where Spunky Canyon road and Bouquet Canyon road meet. The cloud level was about 20 feet over our heads. Off we went. The ride started with a five mile climb. The steepness and lack of traction was compensated by horizontally blowing stinging rain. Sometimes I could just make out Mikes silhouette ahead of me in the clouds.
Upon reaching the summit we are usually greeted by a great view, not today. We rode a couple of miles along the ridgeline to get to the trailhead. The actual force of the storm up on the ridge was awesome. We found the trailhead, ate a couple of power gels and took off down Five Deer. It is a narrow trail with little room for error. The wheel swallowing ruts that have head size rocks in them were now filling with runoff water. The technical climbing portions were even more fun. An epic ride.
We were soaked, muddy, breathing hard and smiling ear to ear. This is a ride that has to be experienced. We somehow reached the fast portion of the ride and went blazing down the road back to our truck. Barreling down hill I spotted a major mud pit just ahead. With Mike just in front of me, I had to time it just right. Expending all remaining energy to accelerate, I hit the mud just in front of mike and covered him with thick southern California mud. We coasted to the truck, laughing.
I could not imagine a better way to send off Mike. It was a perfect day. Did I mention that I love my nephew and am very proud of him?