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Free Range: Grateful guest

By Felicia Morgan

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There are several friend couples I visit during my travels and I always look forward to spending time in their company. To be invited into friends’ homes, especially married friends, is a privilege I do not take for granted. It’s inspirational to be around those who love and respect each other, working as a team to navigate the day-to-day of life and to be allowed to enter their inner sanctum is a big deal and I view the invitation as a huge honor. It’s typical to ride away after a visit feeling overwhelmingly blessed to experience that kind of generosity; the kind that includes making room for me and sharing their lives, love, and family. And their hearts.

A married couple’s comfort with each other transfers to those in their inner circles and beyond and it’s touching to witness the thousands of little ways husbands and wives show their love for each other and their family without even realizing it. There’s no room for selfishness and the first thought is always for their partner, how they feel and their well being, yet they also tend to themselves and their lives as individuals and manage to balance all the intricate details that involves. There’s no pettiness. Healthy marriages where two people function as one, yet can keep a firm balance and vision of who they are personally, is such a joy to watch and I look forward to visits to my friends’ warm homes.

They tell me that my lifestyle scares them as they try to keep track of my whereabouts through social media and occasional texts. I get fussed at for being a poor communicator when I fall off the grid for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. Meanwhile, they struggle with children, grandchildren, jobs and life as they daydream about the next vacation and the occasional road-trip getaway. We discuss what’s next in life, theirs and mine. Retirement plans, book deals, relocating, or settling down as we try to figure out where the next level of utopia might be found. They struggle with trying to extract themselves from the complicated webs they’ve woven as I check with Siri for a weather report and share tales from recent experiences of the two-wheel life. And we reminisce about the days when we were young. Somehow the process seems to bring us all closer and balances us each out. I appreciate the touch of normal life and they enjoy a glimpse into the not-so-normal.

During a recent trip, my route included visiting married couple households at every stop. I was taken aback each morning by the quiet expression of love as I layered up to leave my friends. The ritual of departure became a sort of routine, though played out with different participants at different homes each day. I’d start out at the curb with packing the Beast before tending to my personal gear as husbands and wives flitted about. It was usually a silent experience since saying goodbye can be hard. With no exchange of words, one hubby brought out cleaning products and quietly washed the Beast’s windshield as his wife helped prepare me for the nasty weather, zipping me into leathers, tucking in straps and snapping snaps securely. Another couple further down the California coast repeated the departure tasks but my husband friend washed my helmet face shield as his tiny little wife tucked packaged wipes for later helmet cleaning into my pockets. As we eyed the sky, he offered an alternative route since the mountain passes might have been washed out. In the desert, another hubby dug through his spare bits bin for a bolt I’d lost somewhere across the border as his wife checked the load for loose straps and secured bungees. A city friend tucked fresh fruit into open spaces in the luggage while her man removed the dipstick to see about the Beast’s oil. At each stop there are shared visual inspections of the Beast, offers of tire pressure checks, best route tips and snacks crammed into saddlebags. Packs of chewing gum and Emergen-C are slipped into little nooks, and those who know me best giggle as they try to find a place where the peanut M&Ms won’t melt. Sometimes there are little notes or money secretly tucked away to be discovered later. And they all hug me tight as they wish me well, then stand hugging each other in the driveway as I roll away, fortified, to the next adventure.

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