by R. D. Fish

Last Tuesday, May 2, Robert “Bonze” Myers was laid to rest. A man known for his charitable work in connection with his motorcycle club, the Midwest Drifters, he was escorted on his last ride by a contingent of motorcyclists.
His coffin was drawn from Versailles to Stover behind a motorcycle, in a custom-built hearse trailer bearing the text “’Til We Ride Again.”
I was given the assignment to photograph the “last ride” as it departed Scrivner-Morrow Funeral Home in Versailles, en route to the funeral at their location in Stover.
As I waited for the bikers to roll out, I had a few minutes to speak with a minister known as “Crossroad” Tony Corado, who was to preach at Myers’ funeral.
“His name isn’t spelled the way you think,” Corado told me.
The man next to him helpfully piped up, “M-Y-E-R-S…”
At the same time, I displayed the thoroughness of my preparation by reciting, “B-O-N-Z-E.” We all laughed.
Crossroad Tony asked me whether I had ever considered riding motorcycles.
I noted I had ridden as a passenger behind my stepdad when I was 12 or 13 years old. But Tony asked whether I thought about riding solo. I said, “Probably not. I’m too accident-prone.”
He seemed to accept this as a wise answer. He has no idea how wise it was.
Two weeks ago, I came home from a two-day, 1,000-mile road trip that went off without incident. The next day, almost my first act on the job was to trip over a sidewalk and fall full-length on the ground, skinning a knee and spraining a shoulder.
The shoulder still doesn’t feel back to normal, but the pain was only disabling for a day or two.
A few days later, I slipped on a linoleum floor after walking indoors out of the rain. If I hadn’t caught myself on the door, I might have broken my head open on my back doorstep. Instead, I just kicked out with one foot and smashed my little toe against the door. It went black and blue, and bled from under the toenail, and I’m still limping.
Most recently, I cut my finger on a piece of jagged metal sticking out of a cart at the Versailles post office while dropping off newspapers.
Accident-prone doesn’t begin to describe me. I’m a master of disaster.
Even while these thoughts flashed through my mind, I had to reconsider my first gut feeling about the 20-plus bikers I saw gathering for Bonze’s last ride. They looked like sons of anarchy, but they acted more like a brotherhood of kindness and generosity.
Funeral home co-owner Jamie Morrow summed it up after the last ride rode. She said something like, “Those are some good people. When I first met them, I thought they were kind of burly. But once I got to know them, I realized they would do anything for their neighbor.”
The quality she was describing is no accident. It’s a gift.

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