J.P.’s Primary Cover

J.P.’s Primary Cover

By Janis Perfetto
Greetings! I’m so excited about this issue that I could just squeal like a little girl! We have so much in store for you, that this time around you really should get something in your mug, glass, stein, or Yeti, and settle into your favorite chair. This is going to take some time!

Please see page 12 for the All Member Mileage Contest Starting Form. The deadline to get this in is May 15. On pages 14 and 15 you will find the BOT Notice of Election and the Nomination Form to BOT membership. Please ASK the person you wish to nominate prior to nominating! On page 18, you will find the information for the 8th Annual Special One-Day-Only Photo Contest in conjunction with the International Female Ride Day. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your WOW spirit on THE day that celebrates women who ride.

It is with great joy that I introduce you to our newest feature, When Oh When. Our vision is to include as many “blasts from the past” from previous magazine issues as possible in every issue. We have had as many of our magazines scanned as possible, all the way back to when they were just newsletters. For those of you who have been with us for many years, we hope you will be reminded of the great times you’ve had with this fabulous organization. For those of you who are newer to WOW, we hope you will see the progress, the fun times, and the camaraderie that makes us so famous. You will see some familiar faces and names, and we hope you will have as much fun reading the history of our organization as we have had.

Trying to choose articles for this first feature proved both difficult and easy. It was difficult in that once I started cruising through the past issues, I couldn’t quit. I was hooked. I have been a member for about 16 years, and I have every single one of my magazines (of course!). But what a treat it is to read the stories and see the faces prior to my arrival! The easy part in choosing the article I chose was because once I found the July/August 1996 issue, I knew this was the one I had to feature. Susan and Don German have been members for nearly 30 years (from what my records show, so maybe longer!), and that’s their daughter Michelle on the cover from the July/August 1996 issue. I first met these awesome folks at the Idaho Ride-In™, and it was then that I learned about Michelle. I will let you read her story, featured on page 24. I think it is appropriate to consider this Michelle’s tribute while we honor her memory. Thanks to the Germans for their longstanding memberships and for being just awesome WOW people!

In reflection for a worthy topic for this issue, I was continually reminded of the art of appreciation. Things just kept happening that were “beating me over the head,” to acknowledge this art. I received a thank you card from someone for something that I did that I really considered my pleasure. The card reminded me that to give appreciation is something that is truly a gift in itself. I was thanked by an 8-year-old just today, and it was totally out of the blue. He thanked me for something I had done for him earlier and it dawned on him to come downstairs just to say thank you to his Mimi. What a pleasure that is!

To feel appreciated is a feeling that I believe can only be topped by being loved. I tried to think of other feelings that might be topped by feeling appreciated, and while I did come up with some good ones, such as surviving a near death experience, popping bubble wrap, or even that moment right before a first kiss by someone you are falling in love with, feeling appreciated has to rank right up at the top. And yes, I have survived two or three near death experiences, and yes, one was on a motorcycle. Yes, I love to pop bubble wrap, and I have even just laid right down on a big ol’ sheet once and popped it with my whole body. And that first kiss? Well, let’s just continue on with appreciation!

So, I started wondering about the word, appreciation, and the difference between appreciation and gratitude. Are they the same? Do they share a common definition? Appreciation is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something, while gratitude is the quality of being thankful. So in essence, the two are not exactly the same. I realize that perhaps I am more grateful in my feelings toward my family, friends, and workplace people than I am appreciative. Not that I do not appreciate them, but I am grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life. I am grateful for my many blessings. And I am grateful for WOW, for providing me with so many opportunities for friendship.

One of the most awesome things about Women On Wheels® is the appreciation shown to others. We “breed” appreciation and gratitude! It is a very rare thing not to receive huge thanks from our Board Members in every single email message. When I first became editor, this was a quality I very quickly recognized as a major component of WOW. It is very awesome to be appreciated. It is usually expressed like this, “Thank you for all you do.” What a powerful statement. For ALL you do! I love that. It is appreciation and gratitude all rolled up into one simple statement, and it allows for the appreciation of not just the thing being appreciated, but also for everything included, and perhaps something that might have missed. Take a moment when you see our Board Members at the Ride-In™, and thank them. Remember, they are ALL volunteers who freely provide their time, which often includes their own resources, to serve Women On Wheels®.

It is a very easy thing to just say, Thank You, when someone does something for you. Showing gratitude speaks volumes about a person’s character. I am proud to be a member of this awesome organization whose actions continuously show the character of such outstanding members. Thank you! My gratitude includes being appreciative for everything you do.
See Page 5…