By Norma Shull Smith

Next month is deemed Motorcycle Awareness Month & as I see awareness signs along the rural routes, I am reminded of my friend Mary Lou. Mary Lou was sweet 16 when she began seeing Ron and on a September day in 1961, the two married in a small country church. She in her long, white, wedding dress and her man all dressed as her knight in shining armor!!
The union brought them 3 happy children. There first and only son Keith, and two daughters Kristy and Kelly.
It was no secret that both Ron and Keith were drawn to motorcycles. Mary Lou not so much a fan, rode only to be a part of their joy.
June 30, 2001 was a beautiful, warm, Saturday and a good day for a ride. Their son, who was 38 at the time, decided to mount his bike for a spin. Who would have dreamed that this happy man with a beautiful wife, 2 little girls and a baby son due the following month, would never return from the ride.
Mary Lou says, “We got the terrible call from Keith’s wife as we were setting up for communion the next morning. I was hurting and so upset when news came, but I look back & know God put this calm over me that is so hard to explain. I know it was a GOD thing, but for my husband, he would just get on his bike and ride.”
Mary Lou believes and is thankful that in times of distress, God makes us feel numb so we can absorb the shock to our souls.
Ron continued to ride, but Mary Lou held back for awhile. Eventually she went just to be with her man.
Just 5 years, 1 month and 22 days after their son died, the unthinkable happened. The two high school sweethearts went for a ride. They were hit and Mary Lou was in ICU for 5 days with memory lapse, in and out from a severe scalp injury.
Ron was rushed to surgery after the Medevac Helicopter ride from the scene, enduring yet another surgery, back to back for a left leg injury. “I remember they pushed my bed by his before he went to surgery and he made a heart sign for me with his hand. For the next 18 days Ron was put into an induced coma and then passed from this life into the next,” she said. He was 65 years old. “God surely had His hand on me and I was just in a quiet place; I only went through the emotions of just living,” she continued.
Mary Lou’s testimony is that without God she knows she wouldn’t be here. She is thankful that she has found peace and is thankful she had her faith and church going, born-again parents to help her through.
“We went on the bike that day to have pictures taken for our soon to be 45th wedding anniversary. We wanted pictures of us in front of the Country Church where we were married. Ironically that day, on the Church Bulletin Board was John 3:16 and that is the verse I cling to. Ron loved the song by Allan Jackson, “I want to Stroll through Heaven with you,” and made a point of telling me that was our song. I had it engraved on our tombstone.”
This May and every day, please watch for motorcycles, because bad things can happen to good people. Above all, be prepared and be ready, because Eternity Matters!

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