Dateline Quinnesec, Michigan: So there Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider was, just riding along, minding his own business when he sees a sign.
OK, I’ve been seeing these roadside drive throughs, restaurants, and various other types of establishments advertising “pastys”, but being a good boy (and not wanting to get into trouble with the boss), I always drove on by. This morning that all changed. Yours Truly made an executive decision to check it out. Apparently I chose the right place to do so!
As it turns out, it’s not a “pasty” at all, but a “pass-tee”. But I, being a mere Seattleite, walked in and asked “So, what the heck is a “Pasty” (long ‘A’ of course.) Chelsea doesn’t miss a beat. She laughs and tells me the correct pronunciation and then educates me. Turns out these are a wonderful flaky pastry filled with all sorts of meats, potatoes, onions, and the like. The perfect meal for Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider who was a little chilled by the Northern Michigan morning air, and in need of a little sustenance.
And then Chelsea starts asking me questions like where I’m from, who I am, and of course “What the heck were you thinking??!!” I told my story, and as Chelsea nobly fights back her tears, I learn that she too has lost people to cancer. And, a very close friend who had cancer, died in a drowning accident. Wow. I just had to ask how old she was and found out that she’s only 19. At 58, I can only pray that I have her strength.
All this time there was another young lady sitting at a table. Finally Chelsea introduces her as her sister Annette. Chelsea’s losses are Annette’s as well. They run the show here at The Pasty Oven. As we talked, Chelsea apparently decided to support Cancer Ride America and handed me a donation. Wow again. What a wonderful couple of ladies. It is my privilege to know them.
And now to the beginning of the day. Yours Truly had stayed at Fayette Campground in upstate Michigan, where Cassie and Mike took very good care of me. After I checked in Cassie asked me what time I was leaving. I didn’t now why she asked, but I told her around 0900. Well, this morning I woke up early, packed up, and was headed out of the park around 0800. As I rode up the drive, suddenly here comes Cassie in her car. She pulls up and exclaims (a little upset) “You said you were leaving at nine”!! And then she asks if I will take this picture with me on America’s Perimeter Tour – “To The Ends Of America To End Cancer”. This is a picture of Cassie, her Grandmother, and her Great Grandmother. OK, I admit it. I had trouble seeing for the next ten miles or so. Cassie, it is my honor to accept this responsibility.
Earlier that day I had stopped in at a state rest stop and met Sue, the state employee responsible for the rest area maintenance. Again, she heard my story, and supported this effort. Along with giving me directions to Fayette and telling me that if I had any trouble at all, just return to the rest stop, pitch my tent out back, and sleep well. Another wonderful lady.
Yours Truly rode on. It turns out that now that I’m in YooperLand, gas stations are few and far between. After foolishly driving by one gas station I was getting on empty when I saw my salvation. I pulled in, filled up, and pulled off to check my maps. And then walks over a lovely lady who is riding a large scooter touring around this part of America. She’s from Canada, is a Reverend, and celebrated her 60th birthday the day before yesterday! We got to talking about riding, cancer, and how God just seems to orchestrate stuff.
And I’ll be darned if Milly didn’t tell me a story. She ran into a couple of “Trikers”, who later invited her to breakfast. They wanted to support her, so they gave her a 20. Fast forward to when she’s with me. She tells me the story, says she wondered why God would give her this offering, and then reaches into her wallet and hands it to me. She tells me now she now knows. It was intended for Cancer Ride America all along. Milly, I can’t tell you how much our prayer together, and meeting you, meant to me.
OK….at last I’ve solved the mystery. What the heck is a “YOOPER”?? Well, as it turns out this area of America is called the “Upper Peninsula”…..the U.P. So the locals all just call themselves Yoopers, this is the Yoop area, and so on. Chelsea and Annette educated me big time. Here’s a couple of examples that were in a translation dictionary they provided;
BABYSITT: That yellow stuff in diapers.
GAY BAR: Redneck bar in Gay, Michigan.
GOVERNMENT BEEF: Hunted all year-round, usually at night wit a shot gun and flashlight by unemployed Yoopers who can’t get direct relief ‘cuz they own a camp or house and gotta feed their family.
TARTS: Tings you trow at a tartboard.
SNOWED IN: What a Yooper is when da wife is laid up and can’t shovel.
WISCONSIN: Banana belt of Yoopsconsin.
Another day to remember in the life of Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider.