Bicycles, a Truck and the FBI

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Michigan

Michigan

My husband Floyd and I, on short notice, planned a trip to the Thumb area in Michigan with good friends Diana and Stuart.  They were cyclists and Floyd and I had new bikes; that was about all we had in common on the bicycle thing. Anyway, I had a work trip to Washington, D.C. that preceded the biking  trip. 

Stuart and Diana circa 1995

Stuart and Diana
circa 1995

My mom begged us not to go to the Thumb. It was well known to be “militant territory” in Michigan. We assured her we would be fine. Everyone we had met on several trips there were kind.

On one trip, I explained, we went to visit the Frank Murphy Museum in Harbor Beach, Michigan.  Most folks in Detroit were familiar with the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice near downtown Detroit.  The Museum was closed and a passerby told us to go next door and knock on the door. So we did and Judge Frank Murphy’s daughter answered the door.  She invited us into her home.  She was in her nineties.

We talked that day, went to visit again some months later and even corresponded for a while. The most memorable story was of her dad when he worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her grandfather refused to have a telephone installed in their home, so when Judge Murphy came home to visit, the President had to call the gas station and wait for someone to “go and fetch” Judge Murphy.  

Justice_Frank_Murphy

Justice Frank Murphy

However, this heart-warming story did not change my mother’s opinion. She promptly responded, “Y’all go on up there in them back woods if you want to and let somebody drag y’all off and kill ya. Stuart is Jewish, Diana is a Catholic, and the two of you are Black. Y’all just the folks they’re looking to wipe out!! You’ll never get me up there!

Only the last sentence of her tirade came true.

Anyway, the four travelers decided we would have a great time getting away from the city, staying in country cottages and bicycling. We drove two vehicles. The ladies led out with the guys following.

Now, Diana and I began to talk and laugh about some of our escapades. (Click here to read, “When I Left The Stage, They Were Still Yelling For More!”) I was driving and forgot all about the guys were following us. Good thing they had a map!

Whoa! Whoa!! I slammed down on the brakes. There were police and FBI cars all over the place.

The Oklahoma bombing, April 19, 1995, took place while I was in D.C. Now how was I to know that McVeigh and Nichols (convicted bomber and conspirator) would have their hideout on the same road we were traveling?

We had just drove to within spitting distance of Nichol’s former house. The local police and Feds were swarming the place.file000525410078 Diana and I were amazed to have popped up in the middle of a real live newsreel. I beckoned to one of the officers at the roadblock. When he approached the car, I asked for alternate directions to get to the cottages. He sent us down some real back roads. We stopped at a country grocery store and hoped that Floyd and Stuart would take the same detour and find us.

Sure enough 10 minutes later, they pulled into the store. The first thing Floyd said was,

“You left us 50 miles back when you were driving like a bat out of hell! When I saw the road block half a mile up the road, I just knew you had an accident and tore up the car!!” 

Floyd calmed down when he saw the ladies and the car were unharmed.  We then drove to the side by side tourist cottages.  The evening was uneventful.  We made dinner on the outdoor grill, drank wine and had pleasant conversation.

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Floyd in the Thumb

The next morning was when the reality of “not having much in common with bikers” started to creep in.  Floyd and I were sleeping when Stuart and Diana knocked on the door.  (This was before cell phones were popular in the circles we travelled.  And, if anybody had one, it was giganic compared to today’s slim phones.)  We got up and promised we’d be ready in 30 minutes.

After breakfast, the four of us decided we’d bike to town.  I think it was 2 miles.  When we arrived, Floyd and I were “winded” and very, very glad to stop and browse through some of the shops.

The Antique shop was a gold mine of quaint interesting items.  They even had an elderly dachshund whose hind legs were elevated on a wooden cart with wheels.  He was rolling around the store like he owned the place. 

Floyd and Shar with Bike Vancouver, BC circa 1995

Floyd and Shar with Bike
Vancouver, BC circa 1995

After 20-30 minutes of window shopping in town, Diana said, “Hey, everybody let’s get to the bikes and continue on!”  My legs were tired.  My bottom was sore.  The portion of my mind that urges me to perservere had completely shut-down.  I could go no further.  I couldn’t even ride a bike back to the cottage, much less to go further.  My mind was trying to think how to get me out of this situation!  What I really wished for was a padded magic carpet to fly me back to the cottage.  

Now this is where the term “good friends” kicks in.  

Diana and Stuart would have been justified saying any of the following:

“Why did y’all come on a biking trip and you can’t bike?”

“Why didn’t you say you could only bike for 10 minutes?”

“Why didn’t y’all just drive beside us in your car?”

“Y’all just messed up the whole week-end!”

But they didn’t.  

Do you know what our dear friends did?  

Stuart volunteered to bike back to the cottages and get his truck so we could load up the bikes and drive back.  I was so thankful and relieved.  I’ll always remember Stuart’s heroic deed.  

Now, the truck was only a two door small pick-up.small pickup truck  How was four adults and three bikes going to fit?  I was determined to make it fit.  Floyd was talking about two trips with the truck.  Diana and I were sure we could push and squeeze the four of us in the cab and arrange the three bikes in the truck bed. 

Well, Stuart soon returned and we got the three bikes in the truck bed in such a way that no bike would become mangled in the trip back to the cottages.  

Now to the people packing.  Stuart quickly sized up the situation and volunteered to drive.  The driver would have the most room because no one could slide under the steering wheel with you.  So the passenger seat was left for Diana, Floyd and me.

Floyd was fussing the whole time.  He was worried we’d get stopped and not have seat belts on.  I was trying to calm him down and still be a respectful wife in front of friends, but in my mind I was saying,

“WE’RE ALL GOING TO FIT IN THIS TRUCK!  I’M TIRED AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO FIT!”  

So the line-up was this.  Stuart driving.  Diana next to him; really next to him; under his arm next to him.  I’m next, jammed up between Diana and the door.  Then Floyd on my lap.  

Anybody thinking about the little circus car with 50 million clowns piling out of it?Clowns  

Well, we get moving down the road.  We are just roaring laughing at our predicament when we saw a police car approaching us in the oncoming lane.  

He passed us and turned around to pull us over.  

Floyd was quietly hysterical now.  (You sense these things about someone you love and know well.  And he was in the midst of a prophecy come true and we are in militant territory in Michigan, one of the last places you want to be picked up by the police, and everybody is on HIGH ALERT.  Remember the road block and the FBI YESTERDAY!)  

Before he could say something like, 

“What did I tell you!  What did I tell YOU!!”

I quickly said, “Everybody be quiet.  I’ll do the talking.”  

I got no rebuttal in that truck.

I peeked out the window behind Floyd’s back, with a smile on my face, “Hello, Officer.  How are you?”

He looked through the window and the expression on his face said, “I know there’s a story in here!”, but he just smiled and said, “I’m fine.” (Pause…) “Do you all have seat belts on?”

We all laughed.  I explained the incredible situation to him and that we were only going a short piece up the road to the tourist cottages.

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Shar enjoying the Thumb!

He nodded his head, “OK.  Just don’t do this again.”

“You won’t have to worry about that!  Thank you, Officer!”  

Some weeks later, Diana and Stuart went on a 35 mile cycling trip.  Guess who  they didn’t invite?  Guess who wouldn’t have gone if they had been invited?

Shar

 

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.    Elbert Hubbard 

friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.   Proverbs 17:17

 

 

Posted on by Shar in Family Life, Friendship, Mistakes 9 Comments

About the author

Shar
Shar

Shar lives with her husband, Floyd, and two teen children in South Carolina. Shar loves to grow and preserve vegetables, herbs and fruits. Shar is a Torah keeper and believes in Yeshua (Jesus'Hebrew name). She has a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Educational Research/Evaluation. Shar's work experiences include administration, report writing, teaching, and public speaking.

9 Responses to Bicycles, a Truck and the FBI

  1. Shar
    Shar

    Thanks for reading and especially for commenting. I love to hear from readers. Thanks again!

     
  2. Lesia

    Shar,
    That was reallllly good. Not that I expected anything less. I hate it took so long for me to take the time to read it. Cannot wait for the next one.

     
    • Shar
      Shar

      Thanks for reading it. Did you read the 2 stories and the Interview for subscribers only? I think you’ll like those too, especially the Coffee Enema Journal.

       
  3. DIANE

    oh by the way at is at not ay hehehehe

     
    • Shar
      Shar

      Thanks! I’ll change ay to at.

       
  4. DIANE

    ROFLROFLROFl this is the best story so far I can just see Floyd ready to clobber you and he is the first one the officer sees. I can just imagine how he felt <3 🙂 😀

     
    • Shar
      Shar

      Thanks! As I was writing, I’d break out laughing too! I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

       
  5. Carol

    That is hilarious Shar!!! hahaha 🙂 I’m beginning to think that you have a knack for getting yourself into sticky situations! 🙂 I’m seeing a pattern here. I’ll be watching for more. 🙂

     
    • Shar
      Shar

      Carol,
      Just today, when I finished this story, I told Floyd, “You know, I’m amazed at the life I’ve led.” He looked ay me with a grin and shook his head and said, “Me too!” 🙂
      This hasn’t even scratched the surface of predicaments, follies, oddities, bewilderments that I’ve been through. Someone said you need to live life first then you’ll have something to write about. I guess that’s me. I Praise Yehovah that I have a wealth of real-life material to write about. 🙂 I think it would be too hard for me to write fiction; too many different characters to make up. With my own life, I just have to remember! 🙂

       

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