Crossing For Cancer

Closer to home…

Posted by crossingforcancer on October 8, 2008

September 29

Hi everyone, to pick up where we left off, I’ve been riding in Wichita, or a small suburb south called Haysville, which is where Tom and his family live.  They invited me into their home upon hearing about the Crossing, so I could complete a portrait.  Tom lost his wife Tammy to pancreatic cancer.  His love for her is undeniable.  His family is so great – such a wonderful bunch and very accommodating.  I felt so fortunate to have met them, learn of their struggle with pancreatic cancer and enjoy some much needed hospitality.

Tom, by Scott Glazier

Tom’s mom is quite a firecracker – so young at heart.  At one point she was jousting with one of her grandson’s and gave him a sucker punch right in the ribs!  Granted, they were just playing around and no one was actually hurt, but pretty funny none the less.  She’s a great lady.

I’m planning to do the portraits of Tom and Chris Davis, who I mentioned in the earlier blog entry.  Chris lives just outside of Kansas City and caravanned down with her entire family.  Tom agreed to have everyone over to his place and I did the portraits outside in the yard.  I felt honored that they all drove down and it was the perfect environment for these portraits, just a great, loving, family environment.  Not to mention the natural outdoor light.  It was a beautiful day.

It was so great to combine two families with such a specific commonality and similar passions.  It’s this incredible feeling of the family unit.  It’s so strong.  I feel the same way about my family – how we all pulled together when my mom got sick.  How my dad was so caring and did everything for my mom.  This is something that I’ll vow to never take for granted.  It’s going to be really hard to leave Haysville, I’ll miss everyone and especially this sense of family.

September 30

I’m moving onward to El Dorado, where I’ll take a bike path around a lake that a local told me about.  I may camp there if it’s the right time and the mood strikes me.  Riding again after feeling so at home is difficult, but necessary.  The moment’s with families always lift my spirits and keep me pedaling.

What’s going on, I’m realizing, is something much more than a bike ride or an art exhibition.  It’s an eye opening and life changing experience.  Not just for me, but for all of the pancreatic cancer survivors, fighters and others who have felt the effects of this brutal disease.

Many people have asked me, along the ride, how long I’ve been cycling and what the training was like for a journey like this.  Well, to answer honestly, the training was slim to none.  I’m not a professional, or even amateur cyclist and that’s part of the reason I chose to embark on the Crossing for Cancer.  I want to mirror the tragic shock and surprise it’s like when someone is diagnosed with cancer and becomes sick.  Tom’s wife, Chris, Cindy, Cheryl, my mom – none of them had time to “train” for their fight with pancreatic cancer.  They just hit the ground running.  That, to me, is the most inspiring thing of all.  In a way, the Mojave desert was my training, I suppose – both mentally and physically.

I’m once again being pounded by the wind – damn!  It’s one of those long straight roads that never turns, cows staring at me like I’m insane, grasshoppers popping and I’m chewing on the wind – or that’s what it feels like.  I’m stopping every mile as it seems I can’t keep my legs going.  I pedal over a small hill and see what appears to be a Sinclair Gas Station Sign. 

No, it’s just a mirage.  Oh yeah, I left the desert a month ago, it can’t be a mirage – not a heat mirage, at least, but maybe a wind mirage.  Nope, I pedal up to Lizard Lips Grill,  Gas and Video Rental – fishing tackle store… and probably post office!  They have it all.  It’s one of those places that was supposed to greet me, almost as if the place moved to this spot on my route, even if it was a mile away before.  I walked in and felt the need to sit and talk for a bit – get away from the wind.

I met another world traveler who worked there – a wandering spirit, her name was Jean Marie.  We spoke of travel and keeping open to the world as your home.  Carleen was another local and spoke of a man fighting colon caner – what a great spirit.  From the sounds of it, he will survive.

It was a nice stop, because in the hour or two I spent there it became evening. As I was leaving, the wind actually died and I pedaled the next few miles in.  I love this place and the people.  In fact, I will not be unhappy saying goodbye to the pounding wind, but I will be sad to say goodbye to the people of Kansas, they are good people – like Kevin and Sheri Patterson at Breadeaux Pizza.  Not only were they great, the pizza was too.  They were really kind to help me out and provide a meal.

 

So anyway, I left the Lizard – they gave me a plastic lizard and I just happened to have some super glue, so he could be a permanent friend to Curious George.  I super glued him to the frame of my bike.  I felt George was a bit lonely anyway.  And after watching the B Movie, these guys are probably talking about life as monkey and lizard while I’m not there.

I made it to the town called Yates Center and was greeted by a man at the motel I was to stay at.  He exclaimed, “welcome, your room awaits!”  Which was a great sentence to hear after all of this riding.  Ted Noble of Adventure Cyclist got my room for me.  He was a good man and had knowledge of cancer as many he knew are fighting, or have lost their fights with it.  Thanks again, Ted.

I have to say, when traveling alone as I often do, a lot of various things open up to you.  Ted and I spoke and reminded me of the Katy Trail in MO.  He ran and got me a map and wow – a 250 mile bike trail across MO!  I’m so excited, this trail is only for bikes and is actually part of the Lewis & Clark expedition somehow.

Thank you, again, to the people of Kansas for being so kind and giving my spirits a lift through the pounding wind.  Leaving this place, I feel like I’m starting to see the end of my journey approaching.  Which is exciting, yet somewhat heavy on my heart.

 

After doing thousands of portraits in my career as an artist, the more and more I go on, I can say that the successful portraits are not necessarily the ones that look like the model, but the one that feels like the model, emotionally.

October 1

I’m now at Uniontown, MO.  Covered 45 miles today, it was absolutely no problem – there was no wind – it was as if I didn’t even get out of bed.  If all days were like today, I wouldn’t have to eat so much food.  Once again I came up to a town with football practice going on.  I sat and watched for a bit remembering when I was one of the little football players and mom could be heard in the stands yelling over the loud speaker for me.

I ended up meeting some nice folks.  One guy named Stan, who’s going to meet me at the Uniontown Bar & Grill, which is where I’m waiting for my burger.  Basically, it’s a gutted house that a guy serves beer and cooks burgers at.  It’s the only restaurant in town; it’s got a jukebox and a pool table and I’m the only person here.  The guy serving up the burgers has a big skull and bones on his shirt – we were immediately friends.  Stan showed up and bought me a beer – I can only handle two these days.  He took me out to meet his mom and dad on the farm.  We talked for hours and had a blast.

Roberta at the Wyatt Earp Inn was really great, which is where I stayed the night.  I rolled out of town and Marshall, the bartender at the Bar and Grill, and his mom, who was the cook, made us some great meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch.  If you didn’t get there by noon you didn’t get anything because it really is the only place to eat in town!

October 4

Rolled through Fort Scott, Kansas and went to the First National Cemetery.  Stopped at a bookstore in town, met some nice folks.  Now I’m headed to Stockton for some relaxation and days off.

October 5

I did 45 miles today and once again, didn’t even feel like I got out of bed.  So, I’m here in Stockton now, which is, a lot of people don’t know, but where I went to highschool.  My mom used to be the cook at the school here.  I spent part of my time here after my parents moved to Chicago, so I’ve had half city life and half small town.  The local paper, The Cedar County Republican, interviewed me and is running a story.  It will be available online too – I’ll include a link soon.

After this, I’m headed to St. Louis and will be there from October 13th – 15th.  I’ll be in touch with anyone participating in a portrait soon and want to thank you in advance for all of your well wishes and offers to help – it’s what keeps me strong these days.

Until next time…

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Closer to home…”

  1. Chris Davis said

    Hi Scott! I want to thank you once again for allowing my family and me to be a part of your incredible journey. When we arrived at Tom’s house we introduced ourselves to two people who were strangers to us. By the time we left we knew that our family had grown by two. Yes, this disease is horrible, but it does bring along with it many blessings–like getting to know you and Tom and the closeness and love that oozed out of every moment of that wonderful day. Your “Kansas familiy” will treasure the time we spent with you and Tom and hold the memories close to our hearts.
    We wish you safe passage as you complete the task you have undertaken and a joyful reunion with those you love at the end of your ride. I know that your mom must be so proud of you and has been with you through the heat, steep climbs, grasshoppers and wind. She will be right by your side as you tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
    I hope that you will check in with us every now and then. You can follow my journey by visiting http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/christinedavis. Again, thank you so much for the portrait, for sharing your time and talent with us, and for being part of the ever-amusing, weird and wonderful Davis clan.
    Hugs and prayers,
    Chris

    P.S. I hope you have been able to find some nice, crunchy celery along the way!

  2. Cousin Lori said

    Scott, It won’t be long until you get to Illinois, sounds like the trip has been very eventful and quite an experience. I look forward to seeing you soon.

    Love, Cousin Lori

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: