It’s always worrisome when you hear about an accident, but especially when you live in a small community like the Old Mission Peninsula where you know everyone. When I heard about the accident at the corner of Center Road and East Shore Road yesterday, I immediately started praying for the people involved, because that’s what I do.
It wasn’t long before I learned that someone had died at the scene, and that someone was my good friend, Kathy Hardy. I don’t know the details, but she had been riding her bike on Center Road, and a vehicle ran into her. She was likely going to her job as a charge nurse at Foster Family Community Health Center (the old Osteopathic Hospital). She loved that bike, and often rode it to and from work.
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In fact, she rode that bike all over the Old Mission Peninsula. She lived south of me on Bluff Road a few miles, but I would often see her riding down roads on the far reaches of the Peninsula. If you live out here, chances are good that you probably saw her riding her bike, too. I bet she smiled and waved if she saw you.
She asked me once who owned the horses on the corner of Kroupa Road and Center Road, because every time she rode by, she felt like they were her horses (as did so many OMPers who drove by that corner – I like to think of them as community horses). She was so excited to learn that they belonged to my brother and sister-in-law, Dean and Laura Johnson, and that their names were Sugar and Summer. After that, she always stopped and said hi to Summer and Sugar on her ride-abouts around the OMP.
Kathy was a couple of years ahead of me in school. I think she graduated in 1976, and I graduated in 1978. She told me her maiden name was Carboneau, and I kind of remember hearing her name back then. I didn’t look her up in the Year Book until today, and there she was, that same sweet smile she had every time I saw her in recent years. According to the Year Book, her activities included the Pines, National Honor Society, Pep Club, and both band and orchestra for all four of her high school years.
That’s when I realized that we probably played in orchestra together for at least one year – me as a sophomore and her as a senior. I can’t remember what instrument she played, but I have a knack for looking at people and guessing their instruments. I’m guessing either flute or clarinet for Kathy. If you know, tell us in the comments section at the bottom of this story.
It doesn’t surprise me that she was in Pep Club, because she continued to pep everyone up throughout her life.
Kathy and I have done yoga together at the historic Neahtawanta Inn for many years. Our Wednesday night class with teacher Sally Van Vleck is a devoted, close-knit group who’ve been together for years. Before class, we always have a check-in time, and Kathy was always this bright light of warmth, love and laughter. She usually had a funny story to tell as part of her check-in.
A few years ago, Kathy sent a picture to the yogis of her doing a tree pose on one of her travels – I think from Italy. Since then, some of us have been sending pictures of tree poses to the group. I can’t find Kathy’s at the moment, but here’s me doing one in Yosemite, inspired by Kathy, where I traveled with my daughter after Tim passed.
During the pandemic, a few of us started hiking together on the trails out at the north end of the Peninsula. It was our way of staying connected in the fresh air and calmness of the woods. When the weather was a little dicey and others decided not to walk, I could always count on Kathy to meet me out there in any kind of weather. That’s when I knew I’d found a soul sister, because I, too, love to hike in all kinds of weather. It didn’t matter if it was raining. We took our umbrellas and walked a couple extra miles, talking about everything under the sun (and rain).
Here we are on one of those rainy hikes … note the cheery smiles…
Kathy, I am still processing that you are no longer on this earthly plane, and I probably will be for a while. Having lost Tim in January, I know these things take time.
I will miss our long hikes, our yoga sessions, and our funny (and sometimes gripey) texts. I’ll miss seeing you tooling down the OMP roads on your bike. And I’ll especially miss your sweet smile and always-cheery attitude about life. I will honor you, Kathy, by carrying that forward in my own life and hiking a few extra miles when I’m on the north end.
Instead of goodbye, Tim always said, “See you in the trees.” I will definitely see you in the trees, Kathy, and on the other side when I get there. Can’t wait to hike with you again.