Yesterday, 3/23/2012 was E3-Harelbeke, a WorldTour pro ass bike race (to use NYVelocity vernacular). This rapidly raced bicycle lap around Belgium kicks off the biggest of the northern Belgian Classics thereby planting a firm stamp on the spring cycling season. E3 is one of the coolest names for a bike race, even if most people have no idea what E3 actually means. I’m sure even fewer can pronounce it correctly in its native tongue due to the heavy emphasis on phlegm producing noises to properly emit “Harelbeke” in proper Flemish.
Nine years ago yesterday, 3/23/2003, Dad Dr.Edward King, suffered a stroke changing his life in ways we never thought imaginable. I remember exactly where I was when I received this call that shattered my world, saying he was in the emergency room — ironic since the Exeter Hospital ER is his workplace in normal times as an orthopaedic surgeon (…Oh, and the New Jersey interstate highway, stopped at a tollbooth driving back home for spring break from a collegiate cycling weekend, since you asked).
March twenty-third is forever imprinted in our family’s history. While certainly not a blessing nor anything we would ever want, without that day we likely never would have been introduced to the Krempels Center nor the lengthy and ever growing list of people on Dad’s so called A-Team who have helped throughout his recovery. Not the retirement he ever expected, juicing lemonade from grotesquely sour lemons, among the list of accomplishments he is chasing the 2012 Paralympic team for disabled sailing, he’s downhill skied with decent regularity, hobbled around the tennis court, has been re-certified as a licensed driver, is a guest lecturer for occupational therapy students at UNH, and serves with the Brain Injury Association of NH.
Dad spits out illustrious insight every single day, which continues to boggle my mind. While I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, Dad recalls poetry and information straight from the dictionary that he acquired in grade school. The complimentary adjectives I would use to describe Dad before the stroke run the gamut from lovingly supportive to laser-focused. Due to the events of March 23, 2003 I can now add to the list a particularly resilient side of my father I had no idea ever existed. He fights tremendously hard every day to get better and makes his sons, wife, family, and so many others incredibly proud.
Furthermore, the Krempels King of the Road Challenge would not have come about without this life changing event. Thanks to everyone who helps make this event a stunning success and here’s to an amazing 2012! (…including teammate Timmy Duggan, left, Dad right with #1, and that cool kid in the sporty shades in the background.)