The biker community is perhaps one of the most tightly knit and yet disparate groups you will ever encounter. This is no more evident than the subgroup your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker belongs to – those who ride Harley-Davidsons. While anyone can ride with us, no matter their brand of bike, we tend to fly more with birds of the same color.
This past Saturday, we came together for a memorial ride for our fallen brother, Benny J. Humphrey. We lost Benny two years ago in a single vehicle accident. Because he was on a rural road, riding alone, and no other vehicle was involved, we are all left with nagging questions about what happened. Sadly, these questions will never be adequately answered.
At 43 years old, Benny was taken from us far too early. He and his wife, Sandy, were very visible in the biker community here in middle Tennessee. Everyone seemed to know them, love them and respect them. While I knew Benny and Sandy from seeing them around some of my favorite biker hangouts, I feel saddened that I did not know him better. But that is just plain selfish on my part, as I did know him and so many others never got to know his bigger-than-life personality at all. And Benny was BIGGER than life!
Benny J. Humphrey Memorial Ride
Saturday’s Benny J. Humphrey Memorial Ride was the second annual incarnation, as yesterday, June 30, marked the second anniversary of his passing. Organized by Benny’s longtime friend, Rob Leuenberger, what started as a simple idea and a small biker get together has grown. Over twenty bikes showed up this year – many sporting two riders – on a day that may well have been the hottest day of the year (Real Feel Temp was 103 degrees!). The youngest passenger was on his very first motorcycle ride and was not old enough to have started middle-school, the oldest was even older than Grey Beard – but not by much! While most of the riders were locals, one came from Southwest Missouri, a distance of over 400 miles!
The ride totaled nearly 100 miles through the backroads of Montgomery, Stewart and Houston counties. It included two ferry rides across the Cumberland River – ending at Benny’s gravesite in Greenwood Cemetery. Sandy could not have picked out a more beautiful final resting place for Benny – or a more appropriate headstone. Rob spoke of his memories of Benny and we celebrated his short life with 2X24s – two 24 ounce cans of beer. Benny was not left out of the celebration as one of the beers was poured on his grave!
As I am sure you have noticed, Grey Beard’s posts here talk about brotherhood more often than sisterhood. But Saturday’s ride, besides being a memorial to Benny, was most importantly about SISTERHOOD. Sandy is our sister. She is part of our family. We can memorialize Benny everyday by remembering our times with him. But Saturday, we came out for Sandy – and her and Benny’s daughter, Simone. They are the ones still mourning the loss of their husband and father! None of us can possibly imagine the everyday pain in their hearts – the times they wish Benny was there when they are missing him – or the times they wish he was there during a special quiet moment to give them a hug or just say, “Everything is going to be okay!” For all of these reasons and more, all of us were there for you on Saturday, Sandy and Simone! May your loss turn to nothing but fond memories of your times with Benny! We felt him with us on Saturday and this Grey Beard Biker is sure you feel him with you each and every day! After all, his LIGHT is shining through each of you, everyday!
In Loving Memory of Benny, the Grey Beard Biker and all of us raise our 2X24s to salute you, brother! May you forever Rest In Peace and be the “Angel Riding With Us” when we throw our legs over our bikes and ride towards the sun!
Benny J. Humphrey – Gone, But Not Forgotten
August 28, 1973 – June 30, 2017
RIP, Husband, Father, Son, Brother!