The Season for Giving, Reflection, and Toy Rides

BY Laverne Lewis Gaskins TIMEDecember 19, 2012 PRINT

The other day, I finished my third motorcycle toy ride. No, I wasn’t riding a toy. A  motorcycle toy ride is when a group of respectable looking, and unsavory (seemingly) looking, Santa Clause looking, leather clad folks follow a patrol car for a  few miles to donate toys for underprivileged children.  These rides offer a great opportunity to interact with others, and purchase a toy that you imagine you would want to see under the tree if you were a child.

This time of year encourages most of us to focus on giving. Some of us are fortunate, and thoughtful enough to make last minute, end-of- the-year donations to our favorite charity. As the year comes to a close, typically, we reflect on the accomplishments of the past twelve months. However, the Holiday Season invokes a heighten reflection.  Maybe it is the expectation of joy that encourages reflection. Maybe it’s the giving that allows one to reflect on what’s truly valuable.

Sometimes it is an event that triggers the memory of experience and enhances reflection. Yesterday, when I was surrounded by hundreds of motorcycles, I was for a few minutes transported back to a group trip I made to South Dakota.

I remember when we were about 50 miles from Kansas, I was admiring the vibrant colors of red, blue, and violet that covered the sky in a distance. As we got closer to that pretty picture of colors, the wind started shaking the bikes. It was at that time that I noticed a few cars parked on the side of the road-I guess the folks there knew something we didn’t.  When we started losing our ability to control the bikes, we had to stop, and find shelter fast. We ran for cover at a nearby farm. We had two trailers with us, but because the rain started pouring down so fast, we had little time to act.  My husband told me to run toward the haystacks for protection. He was right for a little while, until I spotted a huge spider trying to share our space.

Let’s just say that after I saw the spider, a ton of people were packed inside one truck riding out a storm. In Nebraska, we saw portions of land devastated by flooding. While we had to make some detours that prolonged out trip just but our inconvenience paled in comparison to those property owners. We experienced some awesome sights: the mountains in Tennessee, the windmills blowing in endless Iowa cornfields, the crisp white, clouds decorating the bright blue skies of South Dakota, and the beautiful rivers of the Missouri and Mississippi. While in South Dakota, I visited Mount Rushmore, gazed in awe at the Crazy Horse Memorial, and rode winding roads in the magnificent mountains of the Black Hills. In seeing various parts of America’s beautiful landscape, I witnessed the beauty of God’s awesome power.  

That trip gave me child-like sense of anticipation, joy and excitement. Yesterday, as I rode with the soothing, humming engine noise surrounding me, I imagine the reaction of the children when they received their toys.  While not identical, I hope that my contribution will make some child experience comparable joy and excitement.

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