In late 1995 we were riding our tandem, Zippy across remote West Texas. We were 30 miles from any town, enjoying the warmth and sun, racing winter in New Mexico. A seventies era car passed us slowly, dented and rusted, and pulled over on the opposite shoulder a hundred yards ahead. Being alone, on our bicycle for about 11,000 since leaving our home in Washington State six months before, we naturally looked carefully at unusual cars and unusual behavior. As we neared the car, a man in his 70’s emerged from the car and waved us down. He looked harmless, even cute, so we stopped and smiled as he approached with his antique camera, and took this picture.
We received this letter, and the photograph, this week. We have been writing back and forth since 1995. He is now in a nursing home in Kentucky and obviously enjoys our letters as much as we enjoy his. He seems to be anticipating his passing, and is going through his possessions, passing them on to people who might enjoy them.
Seeing ourselves fifteen years ago, on our first big adventure ,
is certainly a blessing. Knowing one man from rural Kentucky has been thinking about his meeting with us so long ago, on his great adventure of driving to see the West, now in the twilight of his life, is priceless. We remember that moment, among a thousand moments on that trip, as special.
We are always a little surprised, and always delighted, to receive these letters. There have been two in the last few months. The first told a long story of his finding something valuable on the railroad right-of-way,returning it and getting a letter from the president of the railroad. He sent us the ORIGINAL letter from 40 years ago; this is why I know he is preparing for the end.
Someday there will be no more letters from: Phillip Ashley, R324, Nazareth, Kentucky 40048. We may take a year to notice; then we will look at this picture and cry for an old friend, so brief, yet so special.
If any of you remember how to hand write a letter, and lick a stamp, write him a note, send him a picture of yourself, and mention that you know, Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Claire Rogers.
Thank you for taking the time. You will bring one person great joy. You will receive 100 fold.