I’ve been looking forward to today’s ride for the past six weeks, ever since I received a phone call from Mr. Hilbert “Bert” Joseph Gramelspacher who lives in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I didn’t know that I had a relative in Poplar Bluff until Bert called my office just before I left for this cross-country trek. At age 89, Bert regularly searches the internet for other Gramelspachers. He reports a couple million hits but apparently follows me since he says that I’m mentioned on most of the Google pages.
During one of these searches, he came across this blog and saw the small map that shows us traveling across southern Missouri. He assumed that we would be coming through Poplar Bluff and called to invite us to visit. Like me, Bert was born in Jasper, Indiana. He left Jasper at age 14 in 1934. I believe that his grandfather (and my great, great grandfather) John was famous for fighting on both sides in the Civil War (changed from the Confederate to the Union side as the tide turned). Bert said that his father, Joseph, was 77 years old when he was born to a younger Schneider. I’ll have to get my family’s help on the genogram.
What a treat to stop at Tom Crutchfield’s home to greet Bert and his new bride, Frieda. Since I talked with him several weeks ago, Bert has had some serious medical problems. He recently spent a week in the hospital and will soon travel to St. Louis for additional tests. Despite this, he put on his Sunday best and made the trip across town to shake hands, tell stories and pose for this picture. Many of my fellow cyclists as well as our Trek crew stopped for tea and cookies. It was a great way to finish a difficult 112 mile day over the Ozark “rollers.”
Worth noting: this blog encouraged Bert to open a Twitter account and he has been reading my posts on Twitter as well. However, he needs a lesson from Chris Sacca to learn how to send tweats. Bert will be 90 years young on December 31st. How many 90 year olds do you know that use Twitter! Keep going Bert! Take good care of him Frieda and I hope to see you both again very soon.