This holiday season wasn't the "normal" holiday that our chapter usually experiences. Yes, we supported the "Turkey Lady" in her efforts to provide Thanksgiving meals for those less fortunate than ourselves. We also were able to contribute with four other local GWRRA chapters towards the Cookson Hill Toy Run, although due to schedule conflicts were not able to participate in the ride itself.
During the month of December our plate was very full. Our usual weekend lighted bike rides became week night rides, as the unusually wet weather required us to reschedule many of our rides. Even with the rescheduling we found ourselves riding in a drizzling rain at times.
Fortunately the dismal weather didn't dampen our attempt to spread Christmas cheer to those in our community. We were able to visit our military veterans at the Bay Pines Veterans Complex, where we expressed our gratitude for the service that they rendered to keep our country free. While there we were able to display our lighted bikes and gave each of those present a small token of our appreciation for their service.
On the Sunday evening before Christmas we had 19 decorated bikes and a members truck that we filled with gifts which we took to the RCS - Grace House. There we provided gifts for 30 children. Each child was presented with a gift of clothing, as requested by a parent, and a toy of some sort that the child requested. This was quite an emotional experience, as the Grace House provides temporary housing for those families that would otherwise be homeless. They have nothing, so imagine the gleam in each child's eyes as they opened their presents. The smiles and tears say it all. Isn't this is what Christmas is all about... giving... sharing a Christmas wish ?
Of course we also had our lighted rides through some of our area malls, where we wished and were wished Christmas cheer. Christmas shoppers would look out or stand at the entrances or shop windows that overlooked the parking areas and wave, and take pictures with either their cameras or cell phones. Upon stopping, many people would take time to come over with their children and get a closer look at our lighted displays.
Over the past few years we have found that not only is this an enjoyable tradition, but it also has brought about an interest in folks joining our chapter. This is an excellent way of representing GWRRA to the people in our community and we enjoy doing it.
The link below is a series of photos that were take at the Grace House as we presented the families their Christmas gifts. The smiles and tears say it all. There is one photo that was take of a letter that the children gave to us. It as news to us that we were now a Harley Davidson Club... It doesn't matter in that they remembered us as the "motorcycle group" that helped make their Christmas a little more enjoyable.