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At 84, 'Granny' rides again

By Tamara Lush |The Associated Press March 8, 2009 BUCKHEAD RIDGE - What do you get an 84-year-old for her birthday? That's what Carol Brown was thinking a few weeks ago. Her mother, June Pearce, was turning 84. The idea of giving more stuff didn't appeal to Brown.

"When you're 84, what is there?" she thought.

Pearce lives in a slow-paced retirement area near Lake Okeechobee in rural South Florida. She's been married to the same man, Fred, for 64 years. Pearce is a wife and a mother. She's had a few strokes, which have robbed her mind of short-term memories. Lung cancer has claimed much of her strength.

But one memory has stuck with her: riding on the back of a boy's motorcycle in the 1930s.



"I wasn't scared at all," she remembers.

It was exciting, possibly one of the most thrilling moments of her life. Pearce remembered sliding off the bike and scraping her leg, but loving it just the same. "It was during the Depression," Brown said. "Not a lot of excitement happened then."

Brown thought of that story as she racked her brain. Then she had an idea.

"Come Give Granny A Ride On Your Hog," she typed into an ad on Craigslist.

In the Internet posting, Brown asked if anyone would be willing to give Pearce a ride for her 84th birthday. She got one response, from Ron Borowski. He said he'd ride his Harley-Davidson Low Rider — electric blue, with dark-blue flames and a chrome kickstand shaped like a skeleton's foot — from his house in Palm Beach County to June and Fred Pearce's home, 65miles away.

"My mom passed away from cancer, so the ad touched me," said Borowski, 45. "I just figured it would be an adventure."

Brown wasn't sure how her mom would react if a strange person showed up in the driveway with a Harley. So Brown told her mom the day before, and June Pearce spent the day calling everyone she knew. On Friday, Pearce spent most of the afternoon walking up and down the driveway, waiting for Borowski. Just before 4p.m., Borowski thundered into the driveway.

"I'm your chauffeur today," Borowski said, grinning and taking off his helmet. Pearce's eyes widened. She made her way slowly toward the bike and touched the seat. Borowski asked June Pearce if she wanted to take a ride. Pearce shook her head — how on earth would she ever get on the bike? "No way," she said.

Borowski, Brown and the granddaughters said they'd help her on. Pearce ran her hands on the black leather and, with a bit more coaxing, sat on the bike near the tank. She allowed her leg to be swung over the seat and then Borowski gently lifted her onto the back.

"I wish I was a lot younger," Pearce said, adjusting her helmet. Borowski climbed on.

"Hold on tight," he said, and started the motor. The bike was so loud the grass near the driveway vibrated. Pearce's husband watched. "I've got all of my fingers crossed for her," he said, with tears in his eyes. For the past three years, he's been caring for her through her cancer treatments. "I hope this gives her another six months."

June Pearce wrapped her arms around Borowski's chest and he took off, slowly. They went around the block twice, past the retirees watering their lawns, past the pastel-colored mobile homes — and Pearce wore a tiny smile as they rumbled into the driveway.
 

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Great story. And very kind of that Harley rider.

Last year I took my 82-yr old widowed mother for a ride. Unbeknownst to her, had a few members from the local GWTA chapter waiting in a near-by parking lot. As we rode up to them, my mother was asking who are these people, what are we doing, what is going on? After some smiles and hellos, we left for a one-hour group ride to a popular motorcycle hangout. We stopped there with dozens of other bikes and had coffee, talked and visited. After about an hour we all headed back home. It was such a highlight for her. She keeps the framed picture of her on the bike in her living room. She, and the other retirees in her residence, keep asking when is the next trip. And there will definitely be another one this summer.
 

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