Reliving some of life’s fondest memories on the back seat of a Harley-davidson
My mother, Bessie Murray, is 87 years old and recently had the thrill of her life. She was asked by a friend of ours if she would like to go for a ride on his HarleyDavidson and simply couldn’t resist. The time she spent on his motorcycle evoked nostalgic memories from the days she’d dated my father, George “Bud” Murray. He had owned a 1948 Jawa motorcycle and always enjoyed taking trips around the province of New Brunswick with my mom. What they loved most was the freedom, scenery and fresh air they experienced while riding together.
They, unfortunately, could not afford another bike for my mom, as getting married, buying a home and building a family had turned into their main priorities. In fact, money got so tight for them that they decided to sell my father’s Jawa in 1952 in order to help pay their expenses. As a result, my mother has not had the chance to ride on a bike since then.
At around noon on May 29 this past spring, Chuck Meslage and his wife Kim called me to say they were going to arrive at my mother’s house around three o’clock that same afternoon. This all came as a big surprise to my mom, who had simply been reading on her front porch. She was in complete disbelief when I arrived with the Meslages and, when asked if she’d care to go for a spin, she immediately said, “I would like that—i never thought something like this would ever happen.”
Chuck and Kim had brought all of the necessary motorcycle gear. They strapped my mom up with chaps, a jacket, a helmet and gloves. It was so cute seeing everyone help dress her up. Can you im-
agine the type of attention an 87-year-old gets for going on a ride like this? One of our neighbours noticed and began taking pictures right away. Chuck was kind enough to take Mom for an hour-long ride. We were initially worried about her bad back, but we did not hear one complaint once she returned. Chuck told her she was a great passenger and my mom told him that she felt as if she had never stopped riding. But the truth is, she hadn’t been on a bike in more than 50 years. Everyone shared a laugh together and enjoyed hearing about the wonderful moments my parents had shared when they were much younger. Mom absolutely loved the experience—it’s something she will never forget.
35 YEARS OF SERVICE
Chuck has proudly served our country for 35 years. At 19-years-old, he left his hometown of Port- Cartier, Que., and joined the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment (Royal Canadians). He was deployed to Cyprus, in the Middle East, in 1988- 89 and decided to change his career path in 1991, transferring to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), where he became an aircraft structures technician. Chuck retired as a Master Corporal from the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering on July 19, 2017, and now resides in New Brunswick.
Throughout his military career, he has had the pleasure of experiencing the sheer beauty of our nation while based in many different locales, including Cornwallis, Calgary, Gagetown, Ottawa, Cold Lake and Borden. He is also a very active member of the UN-NATO Veterans Group, which was founded in January 2008 by Denis Beaudin. To honour the personal sacrifices our veterans make while serving, the group’s primary mission is to improve the overall quality of life for all Canadian veterans, especially those in need of help and support upon their return from deployment.
“As a military wife, it’s incredible to witness the camaraderie, passion and love shared between all of these soldiers,” said Kim.
Given the priceless gift he bestowed upon my mom, Chuck’s caring attitude obviously extends to other areas of his life. Mom says she still gets a warm feeling when thinking about the rides she used to take with Dad—and now those memories are even closer to her heart.
Left: Chuck’s 2007 Harley-davidson Softail Deluxe; Chuck securing Bessie’s helmet; Bessie and Chuck hit the road! Right: Bessie’s husband George “Bud” Murray on his Jawa in 1950.