Re­liv­ing some of life’s fond­est mem­o­ries on the back seat of a Har­ley-david­son

Our Canada - - Contents - By Mar­lene Parker, Camp­bell­ton, N. B.

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.


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.

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