Pan Mass Challenge Training Ride #4

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Over a week ago, I went on my fourth “long” ride in preparation for the Pan Mass Challenge. I actually did this ride the day after my 51 mile ride with Colby.

I went on a 40 mile ride, taking the Boston Post Road (aka Route 1) from my town, almost to the NY border and back. It was early on a Sunday morning, so I pretty much had the normally busy road to myself. I really enjoyed this ride, although I missed Colby’s company. I do love the scenic rides, like the one I took with Colby and the ones I take in the farmlands and beach areas by my house, but I’m a city girl at heart, so a long ride on a commercial road was right up my alley. I don’t have a bike computer or any sort of Garmin or GPS, and riding on a main road let me really see the progress I was making because the scenery and signs changed so rapidly. Sometimes when I’m riding through winding rural roads, it is hard to tell if I am actually getting anywhere.  Not so with Route 1 – all my favorite and not-so-favorite stores acted as milestones, and there were plenty of signs letting me know as I entered new towns. It was a lovely morning and a nice ride, and I was happy to see that I could do long-ish rides two days in a row without any problem. Phew.

I dedicated this ride to my Aunt Mary, affectionately known as “Auntie Mame.” She christened herself “Auntie Mame” when she first became an aunt upon the birth of my older sister (she now has 14 nieces and nephews) because she wanted to be like the heroine of Auntie Mame – a free-spirited, madcap, lovable aunt who could lead her charges on zany adventures. And she has.

Auntie Mame has suffered two bouts of breast cancer in recent years. Prior to her diagnosis, there was no history of breast cancer in her family, so it came as quite a shock. It just wasn’t something we ever thought much about. We have a large family, and plenty of health issues that run in our family, but breast cancer was not one of them. Now that both she and my mother have had breast cancer, we can no longer say that, of course. But when Auntie Mame was diagnosed the first time, it was a huge, unwelcome shock. Fortunately, she is doing well, and knock wood, will continue to do so.

I have always had a special connection with my Auntie Mame, as she is my Godmother. In my family, godparents are a big deal. All of my aunts and uncles were good to me growing up, but Auntie Mame always had a particular affection for me and made a big deal about our special status. When I was very young, she started calling me “Lovey Buckets,” and I truly don’t recall her ever calling me by my real name. I’m always Lovey Buckets to her.

She never lived close to us, and she was my first, and most constant, pen pal. We would regularly write each other letters, and tried to close each one with an original “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem. I loved writing to her and receiving her letters. As the middle child of a large family, it was so nice to have something – and someone – just for me. Now that I am an adult, I appreciate even more how much time she spent writing to me. She was a busy woman with a demanding career – and she used some of her precious downtime writing me “Roses are Red” poems? Seriously? What a saint.

Visits from Auntie Mame were always a special occasion – for everyone in my family, but especially for me. She would always carve out some time to do something special with me alone, despite the fact that we lived near a lot of family in her hometown and she had plenty of demands on her time during visits. What a treat!  Could be lunch, the movies, or a trip to the bookstore. It really didn’t matter. All that mattered to me was that I got to do something alone with her. And she made it happen. Every time she visited. Despite all of the people she wanted to see and things she wanted to do. What a saint.

If it wasn’t enough that she wrote all of her wonderful letters and took me on all of the wonderful adventures, she certainly cemented her status as Best Godmother Ever when she bought me my first pair of designer jeans. They were Sassoon baggies purchased at Filene’s and had the perfect back pocket for holding the big plastic comb that was the “must have” accessory of my junior high school. They were awesome and I felt like a million bucks in them. I’m pretty sure that I proudly wore them to my first junior high dance. Probably with a shaker knit sweater, and definitely with a comb in the back pocket. Auntie Mame could have turned to a life of bank robbery or murder and it wouldn’t have mattered to me – she would always be known to me as the woman who bought me my first designer jeans. (For the record, she did neither, and has remained on the straight and narrow.)

Auntie Mame, this ride was for you. Thank you for your love, your generosity and your wonderful adventures. I’m so lucky to have you as my godmother, and so glad you are here!

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