A few words on our dearly departed friend summer
Before we say our final goodbyes to our dear friend summer, it’s appropriate to share a few thoughts and memories.
She was, of course, a great friend to all in Wisconsin – the kind who seemed to bring everyone together for an impromptu gathering or a big event.
Sure, she might have gotten a little hot and tough to live with on very rare occasions. And let’s face it. She could be pretty green, too, but we all know that’s a huge part of her charm.
We will remember her more for her signature state of warmth, which encouraged us to be that way ourselves.
She always reminded us to pull up a lawn chair, invite a neighbor, crack open a couple of cold drinks, and trade a tall tale or two. She constantly encouraged us to pack up the family and hit the road for a new adventure.
She was responsible for introducing us to some great new friends this summer. Wyalusing and Wissota in Wisconsin. Skalbekken, Birch Coulee and Beaver Creek in Minnesota.
She made sure we didn’t forget our old friends – those nearby, like Hartman and Bukolt, and even those far away, like Hermosa in Costa Rica.
She’s survived by her good friend autumn, who we all know is pretty cool and colorful herself.
If there’s a lesson here – and we know summer would be the first to remind us of this – it’s that life must go on. There’s still plenty of fun to be had.
As I was grieving this week, a friend of hers told me that not only would summer live on in our hearts, but she’d be back, like the white walkers from “Game of Thrones.”
Comparing her to those zombies might seem weird and ominous, but when I thought about it, it made me laugh. I think it would make summer laugh, too.
She could be mercurial, but she was always fun.
Now that she’s gone, the school year begins. As we move on with our lives, we should remember to hold on to that part of her and never, ever let go.
Moving on, pokily …
It’s been a slow week in recreational terms, but appropriate that we did manage to get the whole family out for our first chance to meet with members of Poky Pedaling. They’re a loose affiliation of community members who come together on occasion for bike rides, generally with some type of theme.
Our Wednesday evening pizza ride was a four-miler through neighborhoods east of downtown, on or past “P” streets as we could: Pine, Plover, Prais and Portage.
We met Aug. 24 at Point Area Bicycling Service downtown. PABS is a frequent rendezvous and a primary supporter of Poky Pedaling and events like this past weekend’s Bike Extravaganza. That’s a three-year-old gathering that drew dozens its first year, hundreds in its second and, from the looks of it, more hundreds this year.
I write “from the looks of it” because I spent Sunday afternoon contradicting the spirit of summer – sitting in my home office working on class preparation and doing some indoor writing. I did take a break for a workout at the Y, and both there and while looking out my office window, I saw unusually large numbers of bikers out on the street and sidewalks, as well as in the Y parking lot.
As much as I regretted missing the event, I was consoled by having been able to ride earlier in the week.
On that mid-week ride, the first thing we noticed is that the group certainly lives up to its name, as taking the time to both enjoy the scenery and to be safe are among its paramount values.
Poky Pedaling’s spiritual leader, Chief Bike Fun Officer Bob Fisch, had us go over group riding rules – signaling, obeying all stop signs, sticking together, and more – before departure.
A small group of us, fewer than a dozen, were on hand for this ride, and we also got to hear about upcoming events like the Extravaganza, which featured challenges, prizes, the local band Armchair Boogie, and a potluck, among other things.
The kids, of course, were antsy to get started, and I got to thinking we needed a corral to keep them from riding off without us. When the group finally started, the kids wanted to zip ahead, but they eventually settled into the spirit of a dawdling, meandering ride that went south on Strongs, east on Wisconsin, and through several neighborhoods south and east of campus.
Eventually coming back into downtown from Third Street on the north, we finished at Polito’s with a quick bite and socializing.
My family sat with Bob and learned a little bit about why he chose to retire in Stevens Point after a career at Intel in the Pacific Northwest. The beautiful physical setting of Point, its relaxed lifestyle and pace, and bike friendliness and ease of getting around were critical, he said.
Bob and the members of Poky Pedaling, the events they put on and the businesses and organizations who support them are among the reasons life in central Wisconsin can be so grand. They help make the transition between seasons easy – and fun.