Episode 55:  What Happened to Laura?

The Sheriffs Officer said that her name is Laura and that he would try to keep an eye on her.  But unless she broke the law or got hurt, I think there was little he could do.

My intent for today’s episode was to celebrate the great success of this past Sunday’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.  It was fabulous, but if it’s OK, I feel the need to share with you the experience that I had out in the country on my motorcycle just 2 hours ago.

It’s a holiday weekend coming up here in the US.  Memorial Day is Monday.  I’m excited to take time away from work and of course, ride my motorcycle.  I got a jump on the weekend by taking a quick ride after work today, out to the northwest.  There is a place about 25 miles outside of Fort Collins, Colorado called The Forks, toward the Wyoming border.  It’s a very friendly, small store and restaurant.  I said hello to my friend Jeanette who works there and she made a vanilla latte for me.  I grabbed a Mary’s Mountain cookie too.  Chocolate Chip.  I took it to the large porch on the side of the building and just sat at a table as I’ve done countless times before, looking at the mountains.  Saying hello to folks as they walk up.  Always looking for the next conversation with a stranger.

I heard a young lady talking and laughing, a bit loud, walking up the wooden steps to the store.  There was no one with her, she was talking to herself.  She didn’t look toward me, but I said hi.  She didn’t respond.  She was small, maybe mid-twenties, about the same age as my daughter.  

A few minutes later she came out of the store with a Sheriff's Officer right behind her.  I could clearly hear him talking to her.  He was especially kind to her, telling her that he wanted her to be careful.  As she walked away, across the parking lot, she didn’t go to a car like I would have assumed given how far we are from town.  She walked out toward the highway.  

I thanked the Officer for being so nice to her and I asked him if he could tell me her name.  He said that her name is Laura and it’s the first time he’s seen her around here.  He said that she told him that was trying to get to Minisota.  We both kinda smiled and said that’s a long way from here.  He said that he would try to keep an eye out for her and that he hoped that she didn’t get hurt.

I watched her from the porch for a couple of minutes as she slowly walked toward highway 287.  She was wearing sunglasses and for a moment she starred up into the sun then laughed and continued to talk to herself.  Highway 287 is not usually busy, but cars and trucks are doing 60 plus miles per hour on the very corner where she was walking back and forth.

I got back on my bike and started south down the highway.  She was there, walking inches from the side of the road.  Alone.

Ironically, about an hour earlier, I ran an errand with my wife in our car.  Just down the road from our house, on Wilson Street here in Loveland, several cars had pulled off to the side of the road in front of us.  It was a loose dog running down the sidewalk right next to the road.  Of course, we stopped too, my wife quickly gave me a granola bar that she had in her purse and I jumped out of the car to try and catch that dog.  It’s not a busy street, but as I expected the dog to dash into the road, I stepped into the road first, like the police officer that I am not and turned to a Jeep that was coming toward us and gave my best “Halt” motion with my hand to make the driver slowed down.  

The granola bar did no good.  The dog was clearly scarred and dashed past me.  I ran in that direction a little bit, but another person trying also help was in a car that was closer so I let them continue the chase.  There were several dog-loving people out there, hoping that dog could be rescued. Hoping that dog would not get hurt.

In the same way that so many of us love dogs and will do most anything to help a stray who’s in trouble, including standing to block traffic like I did, how is it that a young girl like Laura could also be out on a road, clearly in danger, and remain alone.  I don’t know what is wrong with Laura.  Mental issues like Schizophrenia maybe, I don’t know.  It broke my heart to watch her.

There was a day I’m sure, when Laura was a baby, loved by her mother or a caregiver.  She probably went to elementary school, maybe loved to sing and loved to read.  We may never know why she, and so many others mentally ill, wind up in such danger sometimes.  Honestly it’s too hard to even speak about it more.

I have been very intentional about not bringing a particular faith or talk of religion into this podcast.  I have my beliefs, but I never want to isolate any of my listeners, so I don’t share much about that.  I care about you all independent of your beliefs.  But my friends, I prayed for Laura from that porch as she walked away.  I asked God to protect her now and that she, just like that stray dog, wouldn’t get hurt and could be rescued.  

Yeah, I fully intended to talk about last Sunday and the pure joy of that day and I will in a later episode.  But the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is more than just a rally of classic motorcycles and dressed up riders.  The DGR raised funds for mental health programs and support for those suffering, the very thing that I think Laura is in need of right now.  

From the feedback that I’ve gotten this past year about this podcast called Peace Love Moto, quite a few people have commented that the topics of Peace and Love are important in our world, independent if it’s associated with motorcycling.  I appreciate hearing that.  I believe that to be true too.

May I ask you today to have Laura in your thoughts and prayers.  There are lots and lots of Laura’s out there.  So many people suffering from mental illnesses, abuse, depression, poverty.  We talk about it all the time, how very very lucky we are to have our motorcycles and our joy in riding.  Perhaps before you go on your next ride, ask the stars above to give you the heart for others and the eyes to see those who may need your help.  I’ll do the same.

Thank you very much for listening.  I wish you peace.  I wish you love.

Music by William_King and Geoff Harvey from Pixabay