unique natures of rmh and HeD cannot be explained by their participants
to people not "in the know." It is simply impossible to have the
unitiated understand what the people come to mean to you, and how
that could happen.
They say "But you've never _met_ some of these people, and you consider
them as close as family?" In order to be as straight to the point
as possible, this then (to me) is the crux of the matter- these
people come to _be_ family, not just "as close as" family. People
who have never experienced these internet mediums just can't relate.
I participate in a couple of other usenet groups, and while many
of the other longtime participants seem to know each other well,
I have no doubt that it doesn't work the same way with these other
groups. Although these people may love the same type of music or
are very passionate about the works of a particular author, the
chances of these people traveling long distances to enjoy these
interests together is slim to none. There is just something about
our common interest in motorcycles that brings us together. And
it's not just the excuse to ride, although admittedly that is a
part of it.
Having said that, it is this very real concept of family that partially
explains Eddie Kieger's current involvement in and relationship
with rmh and HeD and their participants. He was one of us, is still
one of us, and will always be one of us. He's family, and families
take care of their own.
And let me tell you, after 7 years of being unable to actively participate,
he sure can still stir up the thoughts and emotions of people who
came into the picture long after he had departed. This I know personally.
I've felt it happen, seen the people in action, and being a part
of it has been a thing of which I've been very proud.
It's hard for me to put this idea into words, but for me Eddie represents
something larger than himself in terms of where we are today. In
relation to rmh and HeD he is not one man alone, but "everyman"
or rather "everyone." What I mean is, this terrible thing that happened
to Eddie (or worse) could very well happen to each one of us every
time we swing a leg over and saddle up. It's the luck of the draw.
We can do our part to minimize the odds, but that doesn't make the
possibility go away. Every time I reach the destination I am thankful
that my number didn't come up. This time.
Finding rmh and HeD and becoming involved in them, meeting their
members, changed my life. Meeting Eddie almost two years ago changed
it again. I can honestly say that I look at a lot of things differently
since that first time I met him. I think of him often, and at sudden
moments. I may be doing something arduous, or might be at the gym,
and I'll think that Eddie would give anything to be there in my
Riding in the rain or cold has taken on a new light. They're not
quite as uncomfortable as before, and I take a certain amount of
joy in them when it happens, because I know that Eddie would give
anything to be there with me, experiencing it once again. I know
that I am a better rider because of Eddie. I try at times to make
a special point of showing my appreciation to loved ones and friends,
knowing there may come a time when I am unable to do so, as has
happened to Eddie.
These are only a couple of examples. There are many others. I cannot
stress how profound Eddie's affect on me has been. I like to think
that there are some of the same elements, maybe less or maybe even
more, in other peoples' thinking- those that knew him, have met
him after the accident, and who know of him through rmh and HeD.
I am afraid of what happened to Eddie. I think that any rational
person would be. I think about it every time I ride, but the ride
is the thing. It always wins out. It's a conscious decision- I know
a reasonable amount of fear is not a bad thing, but am I willing
to give something up just to rid myself of a possibility? Not so
far. An element of the fear I mentioned has to do with living with
the possibility of hearing of friends' injury- I am ever fearful
of getting that phone call, that email telling me of a friend's
From my perspective, Eddie is part of what rmh and HeD are all about.
He is a special part of them, and he is someone who brings people
together for the right reasons. I will continue my part in supporting
him and his mother, Ann. They are good people who deserve our help.
I urge you to go and meet them; it means a lot to both of them.
You won't be disappointed if you do; I think you will come away
with far more than you arrived with.
And that's a larger part of what rmh and HeD are all about- coming
away with more than you arrived with. For me, the rewards of knowing
people from these groups have been deeper than I ever thought possible.
And I know that most of the people I know from these groups would
agree with me.
Go meet Eddie. Make him a part of your life, however small. It may
not be easy, but your rewards will be immeasurable.
thoughts from LESDL
letter from Ann