-----Enjoying All That Nature Offers-----
Several months ago I decided it would be nice to start our own Blog. This is something I had never done before but I dove in head first. I am pleased to say that I’m so glad I did this because it has been so rewarding. Through my Blog I have made friends with many fantastic people. Some I still have yet to meet but through our frequent communication I feel I know them very well and look forward to someday meeting them.
I’m not real certain why I decided to name my Blog, “Enjoying All That Nature Offers” but I didn’t lay awake night after night trying to come up with some catchy title. Pretty much it was because we do enjoy all that nature offers. As I make this entry into my Blog today it becomes perfectly clear that the title carries more meaning than I had ever intended.
So what is this all leading up to you are probably wondering. Well, I will get to that shortly. Up to this point, all my posts have been pertaining to wildlife, nature and outdoor activities. This post will be a bit off topic and it’s something that I have labored over more than you can imagine. But this is something that I decided I wanted and needed to do and after all it’s my Blog so I’m going for it. And to be perfectly honest, it has a lot to do with nature.
This post is about our dear friend George (George Lockey). I know many that read this will not know him and please believe me when I say you missed out big time. We were blessed with having him as a friend. George was taken from us in March of 2010 on the banks of the Red Moshannon after crossing the finish line of the Red Mo Downriver Race. I will never forget this tragic day as long as I live and I replay it in my mind over and over and over.
This past weekend would be the first time I will have raced since that tragic day. I vowed to race the Red Mo Downriver race in 2011 in honor of George. Well, that’s not entirely true. I needed to race the same river again for selfish reasons. I hoped so strongly that it would help me to sort things out in my head. I did it to remember and maybe connect with my friend. It did help me a lot but stirred up a ton of emotions. When I paddled past the island where I last spoke to him I found myself smiling. The smile was from remembering his silly grin and fantastic sense of humor. Oh what a prankster he was! Minutes later as I paddled along, the smile turned to tears which quickly froze to my cheeks from the 20 degree temps. I actually welcomed the spray from the rapids hitting me in the face to wash away the tears and snap me back to reality. So George, I raced this year for you and also for me. Thank you for smiling down on me and keeping me safe. I know you were right with me and enjoying the ride.
George Lockey was an amazing man. He was a loving husband, father and son.. He was a very proud grandfather and spoke often of his grand daughter. To many of us he was a dear friend and a constant source of inspiration. He was a retired fire fighter from DC. He was also an amateur photographer with an incredible love of the outdoors. Nature meant so much to George and he spent countless hours building and improving trails in the Quehanna Wild Area. Without question I can say that George enjoyed all that nature offered. So you see how this all connects to my Blog.
All of us that have come to know and love George have found ourselves with a void that seems impossible to fill. The hurt is sometimes almost unbearable but yet we do move forward as George would have wanted. Losing him was horrible but never having got to know him would have been such a loss for all of us. One day we will see him again.
I won’t go into all the details of that awful day but sometime after his passing I was asked to write a story for the United States Canoe Association. This story would tell about George’s life and what happened on that tragic day. If you request, I will e-mail you that story but won’t go into it on this Blog.
Below are a few pictures of our friend George. These are pictures of how I like to remember George. What a fantastic smile he had!! We will never forget you my dear friend.
George was a lover of the outdoors.
As you can see, he was such a character. He was so proud of that flag made out of my underwear.
Before the 2009 Red Mo Downriver Race.
Check out that smile and positive attitude!
This was taken at the staging area for the 2010 Red Mo Downriver Race. Is this the picture of contentment or what. This is how George lived his life. He lived a life that many only dream of living. Perhaps someday we will accept that it was his time.
It's so hard to believe a year has passed. Paddle hard my friend, we will see you at the finish line!!