July 2006

To: Tom
From: Eric
Date: 7-1-06

Ok... so the brain zapping is part of the expected procedure. Try not to
let it get the best of you... think of it as just a hiccup in the
recovery process.

Glad to hear you got your bike together. Just picked mine up from the
shop this morning... had to get new needle valves and o-rings on the
carbs. They were all gummed-up due to lack of use. Runs great now so I'm
actually going to try and use it this summer.

-Eric

To: Tom
From: Jan
Date: July 1, 2006

Tom,

I was sorry to hear that your news was not as great as we had all hoped. I also apologize because I had the intention on writing often just for the sake of getting your mind off your treatment and encouraging you, but I have gotten side-tracked. Anyway, I will quickly respond to yesterday’s email, and still save the one about your trip to Florida for another time soon.

First, since you are interested in motorcycles, I wish you could see how they ride motorcycles here in the RP [Philippines]. There are no (as in absolutely none) rules for motorcycles, so they may drive anywhere, including sidewalks or weave between cars whether stopped at lights or moving. At a red light, they collect by the dozens in front of the line of cars and take off before the light actually turns green. I hate it when I am about to open my car door in a place where no motorcycle SHOULD be, but there he is and I nearly cause him to run into the car door. Then he gives me the crazy lady look. (I am trying to reform my bad habit of opening the door in a parking place and not checking if a motorcycle is trying to drive between my car and the next oneJ) IF the driver is wearing a helmet, it could just as easily be a child’s toy helmet, and usually it is decorated with odds and ends such as nylon ties or even screws, which I believe makes the helmet as dangerous not wearing one. Actually the motorcycles run as a taxi, a bus, or a car pool in the States would. They charge the equivalent of 30 cents for about 5 kilometers. The passengers (I have seen a total of seven people at a time) crowd on in back or in front of the driver, straddling or side-saddle, and off they go weaving through traffic with no passenger helmets in sight. I have seen a father drive holding a toddler and the wife sitting behind holding an infant. One rainy day I saw a motorcycle driver with a large trash bag over him with a hole cut out for his head. Sticking out from under the bag were three little pairs of sneakers—three kids were under the bag! I have also seen pigs, lots of roosters (on their way to the cock-fight), lots of 25 kilo bags of rice, and construction equipment being carried on motorcycles.

Our youngest child, Ellie, is here with us for June and most of July when she will return to boarding school in Manila. I have been trying to keep her busy, which has kept me busy because there is not a lot a pretty blonde teenage girl can do here safely by herself. We joined the gym and have been working out most days for an hour or two. It was not my first choice of things to do, but Ellie is determined to lose a few pounds to improve her ballet. The real benefit has been that I was fairly addicted to ibuprofen (which is not easy to get here), taking one or two a day for headaches and neck pain caused by the ridiculous driving conditions here. All the exercising has strengthened my neck muscles so that I have taken two ibuprofen tablets the whole month of June. I am thrilled.

I will try to get a good picture of a motorcycle here. By the way, they are called a “motor” (roll the r), a habel-habel (for a row of people sitting front to back), or a “hunda” (Honda).

All for now,

Jan

To: Tom
From: Cindy
Date: July 4, 2006

Tom,

I am so sorry to hear about the changes in your treatment. As you know, you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Glad to hear you are riding again. That always helps when one is on the depression mood. We all have been there from time to time when things get rough.

As to Hawaii, our son Erick will be stationed there in Sept. for about several months. I wonder where he will be in relationship to your land.

Sorry, I have not written lately as I was in NC riding the new Harley. We had fun.

Keep looking on the positive side.

Cyn

To: Tom
From: Tim R
Date: July 5, 2006

Hi Tom,

Chin up lad! Unfortunately none of us have complete control over our situations and lives, all we can do is go along for the ride and try and make the best out of the situations that confront us.

I am glad to hear you got your bike going again and are back in the wind, just watch out for the boneheads in the cages with the cell phone attached to the side of their head and brains up their butts!!

I hope all goes well for your planned move to Hawaii, it truly is beautiful over there (well most places anyhow). When we got married my wife and I spent 8 days on Kauai and loved it.

Take care and keep looking forward toward your move to Hawaii, sometimes hope is the best medicine.

Your friend,
Tim R

To: Tom
From: Art E
Date: July 6-2006

Good morning Tom,
I love your closing line about regaining "the illusion of control in my life".
Again that's an area that Christianity has helped me with. (no, I won't get on a soap box here.) It's just that the bible teaches us that it's God who is in control, not us.  Really, how much control do we ever really have?
So much depends on "others", like the actions of other people, the laws of the land, the weather, luck (if you believe in that).. etc.

Feeling good, is often a matter of letting go, releasing ourselves from the delusion of being the masters of the universe. Riding motorcycles does that (I've done that, it's very cool), it can be allot of different things. For me fishing works wonders, last weekend I was blessed with a trip to Sea Ranch. The kids and I fished off the shoreline rocks and had a great time fooling a few fish.

Depression is deadly, I'm sad to hear your having some bouts with it, and
I'm very glad to hear you recognize it. Life is good, whatever our circumstances, we must endeavor to find the joy (good side) in what's going on. That's been the cure from depression for me.

Take care Tom.
Curtis tells me you are close to moving to Hawaii.
Keep writing, the distance doesn't have to matter.

Art

To: Tom
From: Bro
Date: July 23, 2006

I just got off the phone with Jane.
You, of course, get to determine how you will spend your time.
Our tentative idea is that we will meet you at the airport on Sunday
and have breakfast somewhere near the airport. Then go to
Jane's. You can stay there for 3 or 4 days - I know there's some
kind of bike thing going on in New Castle that week.

From that point there is no definite plan. I know Eric wanted us
all to go out to his place the middle weekend but I don't know if we
can work out the logistics for everyone.

What's your thoughts?