#17 In Roads-Kathleen

Once in a while you meet someone who, at first glance and without a word, you just know will be a friend. Such is the case with Kathleen. As usual I had my face buried in Lazarus, my trusty laptop, and was dealing with last minute deadline headaches while trying to still be sociable. We are both working with a tour group and are waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. She’s thin and nervous and smooths at her hair while settling into the chair next to me as she strikes up a conversation. She started out telling about the nasty fall she took in her own backyard some nine moths prior that resulted in a broken back. I cringed in sympathy at the thought of the lack of mobility and excruciating pain that surely came with such an injury as she stretched and flexed her way through the obvious discomfort she was experiencing. I learned that her home was not far from my daughter’s and we fell into a comfortable exchange of information while getting to know one another.

Kathy is a mother and a wife and a very accomplished writer who has contributed to 100s of publications. From newspapers like the Sacramento Bee to national touring magazines like Road King, she’s pretty much done it all. She tells me she’s even written for Boy’s Life, which conjures up images of Norman Rockwell type wholesomeness, but the fact that she’s had articles in off-road publications gives me an internal giggle since I see her more as the Donna Reed mom who flits about planting posies rather than a camping queen who goes crashing through the boonies while strapped into a quad. She’s quick witted and I found myself laughing uncontrollably at the barbed quip she flung at a guy who dared traipse unsuspectingly into her crosshairs. She’s traveled extensively and occasionally takes her mother, who is now 86 years old, along on her extended excursions.

As I took her photo she suddenly looked startled. “Hey, you’re not gonna put me in one of your posts, are you?” she demanded. She’s the first one who’s known about this project or even asked what I would do with the image. I kind of giggled and told her, yes, of course I was going to post it. What I didn’t realize was that Kathy had scoured the tour participant list and did her homework by researching me in advance. She had read my work before we even met. Suddenly, I felt a bit exposed. I wonder if this is what others feel when they find themselves on the home page of the Thunder Press website.


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