Jeffrey here. In a moment, a word about promises. But first:
Today, with no help from that 1-pound kangaroo-court puppet, I pedaled 101 miles – the last 40 or so in the rain, the last ten in pouring rain – to Chicago.
Every story needs a cute dog. Meet Charlie, my hosts Michael and Karen’s companion. He hunted for Joey on the trike, but Joey was safely sealed in our yellow plastic dry-bag.
Michael snapped this pic of me before Joey and I hit the road.
We rode along the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, through fancy Milwaukee suburbs, then through Milwaukee itself.
We paused at an open drawbridge. This time no one had to call me “idiot” to keep me off the bridge! Here you see the deck being lowered, and an iron bridge pivoting back into place.
The only subject cuter than dogs, is kids. Aspen, Gigi and Brandon asked about the trike and its sign when I stopped in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to buy a sandwich. I told them in simple terms about persecution, refugees, and Human Rights First. They put Joey stickers on their shirts, and I hope they will see themselves on this blog.
Dan works for a Wisconsin electricity provider. He told me about the utility’s state-of-the-art pollution controls. I told him about Human Rights First.
We reached Chicago via a combination of highways, city streets, and bike paths like this one in Lake County, Illinois. (Its counterpart in Kenosah County, Wisconsin, was paved.) Some of the roads we encountered, particularly in small cities like Racine, Kenosha and Waukegan, were terrible jumbles of cracked pavement, potholes, and lumps of asphalt, which made pedaling difficult. When it began to rain hard, water covered the worst hazards, making them tough to avoid.
When I reached her Chicago neighborhood, daughter Deena came out in the pouring rain to lead me to her home. Son-in-law David carried in our bags. Here is Deena in her building’s basement, where we stored the trike. And here I am, safe in Chicago.
Now . . . about those promises!
We promised you that we would visit all five Great Lakes on this journey: Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, Superior. Done!
We promised you that we would pedal 1500 miles from the sea to the Great Lakes. Better than our word, we pedaled – so far – 1555 miles (2519 km). Done!
Riding 1555 miles in 20 days – an average of 78 miles per day, rain or shine, with no days off – required persistence. If we kept going, sooner or later we would keep these promises.
Other promises are harder to keep.
Remember what you promised yourself long ago. You would not sell out. You would do great things, help others, civilize the world.
And you have! But not as much as you imagined you would. Doing great deeds turned out to be hard. There are bills to pay, family and friends to care for, too many demands on your time and not enough hours in the day.
May I humbly suggest an easy way to become closer to the ideal person you want to be?
Acts of lovingkindness are greatest when the love they express is unrequited.
If you haven’t already done so, donating to Human Rights First will help save someone with a well-founded fear of persecution abroad on account of her or his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. You won’t know whom you’re helping, and that person won’t know you. The volunteer lawyer found and trained by Human Rights First will get the refugee/asylee’s thanks and love. Neither client nor lawyer will realize that without you and your donation, s/he would have had no lawyer.
What will you get out of it? You will be living your dream. You will know that you have saved a refugee’s life, and enriched a volunteer lawyer’s life, from pure selflessness, because it is the right thing to do.
Oh, and you’ll also get a souvenir postcard, signed by Joey and me.
Think about it. But not too hard. Just click here, and take the plunge.
If you already have donated, thank you for showing tanglible support for justice for refugees.
Tune in tomorrow. We’ll tell you about our visit to a school on Chicago’s South Side.