Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Thursday, September 18, 2014

C is for Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, that beautiful community in North Carolina, is the home of my daughter Asila and her husband, David. It’s also the home of the University of North Carolina, and was one major destination on my first solo cross country ride in 1997.

Asila and David were newly engaged, and it was on this visit that I would meet his parents, Eileen and Steve, for the first time. I wanted everything to be just right. At home, I decided on the dress, shoes and jewelry I’d wear the evening we were going to dinner at the restaurant where David had proposed. 

Packing space was even more limited in Big Red’s saddlebags because I anticipated passengers on several legs of my journey.  I would be taking my extra helmet in one saddlebag. So, I mailed my dinner clothes before leaving home and hoped they would get there by the time I arrived. 

Steve and Eileen were both educators, so with common careers, interests, and family values -- and loving each others’ child -- we had much to discuss. During one conversation, they had a number of questions about me and motorcycling. When they said they wanted to have a ride, I saw in their faces that they meant it. “Sure, we can do that,” I said.

Pride swelled in my heart, but so did humility and a bit of trepidation. I felt honored that they trusted me enough to want to climb on Big Red and take a spin. But it is a huge responsibility to have someone else’s lives in your care while riding a thousand pounds of machinery running on two 4-inch patches of rubber.

Me with Eileen
Between all of us, we were able to outfit Steve and Eileen with appropriate riding gear. It was hot and muggy, but we all wore long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and gloves. My size Medium helmet worked, though Eileen’s short-cropped hair didn’t take all the head room. And as for Steve? The helmet fit extra snug, and we practically had to pry it off him.

One after another, I gave them passenger instructions, “Mount from the left, put your foot here, sit easy in the saddle, and just go with the bike.” Then we struck out on the nearby route David suggested. It was perfect, not too long and with a few curves and turns. 

As I steered Big Red onto the roadway, with treasured cargo seated behind me, I thought, I have my future in-law on this bike. Oh Lord, don’t let anything happen to them. But I proceeded as if it were an everyday occurrence. We talked and they sat back and enjoyed the ride while we communicated over the intercom system.

And at the dinner party? We enjoyed the superb restaurant, with its fine food and delightful ambience, and another evening of thoughtful conversation. It was fun to listen as our kids retold the story of the night they became engaged and to see the spot where the waiter had presented the desserts, among which was the diamond David had chosen for Asila. 

This precious time together in Chapel Hill built a mutual respect among us parents and began the blending of our families.

~ xoA ~


  1. Annis, What a lovely story of meeting the new family members. I'm sure there was a bit of nervousness with everyone, but I'm sure your confidence of riding put your passengers at ease. That's one way to impress the new family!

    1. Thanks, Joan. It was fun to remember and write this sweet story. My daughter Asila had to scan the photos and send them to me. xoA

  2. Ha! I saw that this was a meet-the-in-laws story...and spent the entire read waiting for disaster to strike! What a wonderful thing...for that classically disastrous be instead full of fun and new adventures! Lovely post!

    1. It was a sweet time, Anna. Thanks for reading and commenting. xoA