This day there were a few good climbs, but none that I needed to walk on. As it goes, I’ll take Texas hills over Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and New Mexico every day of the week. We divided up the miles into three roughly equal lengths between Mineola and Winnfield and there was a little convenience store called The Grub Sack at Scottsville.
I was riding along with the trees all around (East Texas is prettier than West Texas, just saying), and passed a cemetery. I’ve passed hundreds of them, to be sure – but about a mile up the road I could see a funeral cortege coming toward me. I pulled safely over, took off my helmet, and as the hearse had tiny flags on the front, put my hand over my heart. Several pickup trucks, seeing me pull over, followed suit, and we all stood honoring the deceased. When all the cars had passed and people got back into their trucks, I was putting on my helmet and the gentleman who had stopped in front of me was running toward me in his cowboy boots and hat. He wanted to shake my hand and thank me for showing the example and reminding him that he wasn’t in a hurry – that it was the most respectful thing he’d ever seen a cyclist do, and he appreciated it. He wished me a safe ride and we were all on our way.
Guys, it took an extra 5 minutes, if that. The deceased didn’t care. I have no idea if anyone in the cortege cared or noticed. But I know, and even if I had been the only person who stopped, that is who matters. What I’m doing doesn’t matter nearly as much as who I am, and I stop to show respect. I help people if I see that need – on the bicycle or in life. There is nothing so important that I’m doing for myself that comes before doing the right thing.