And How Cookie Achieved her Nom de Voyage
Cookie and I have participated in Tour de Farms since 2013. In addition to raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, this ride is just plain fun. We’ve enjoyed it so much, we’ve been recruiting others to join us. This year our friend Beth will ride with us for the first time. She has always called Cookie by her given name.
Now it can be told: Cookie’s baptismal name is Eileen.
Anyway, Beth noticed that Eileen always signs her emails about the event with the name “Cookie.” Beth asked if Cookie was Eileen’s “biker name.” Since BK is the one responsible for the fact that Eileen’s nickname has stuck, I suggested that he be the one to explain it to Beth.
Here is his account:
About 3 years ago, on a Sunday morning, Catherine and Eileen were engaged in a bicycling outing with a group from a local bike shop. The path they were riding, as many paths do, crossed a street. Catherine managed to cross successfully. Eileen had the misfortune to catch her front tire in a break in the pavement, whereupon her bicycle, feeling rather unsettled by this unexpected turn of events, refused to roll on. In this instance, the intransigent attitude of her bicycle was in direct opposition to the laws of physics, particularly those dealing with conservation of momentum and angular motion.
Eileen was thrown from her bike into the street, landing principally on her head but not without significant contact with other body areas that led the way in her flight to the asphalt. I cannot fully describe the extent of her injuries. Fortunately, she is a physician and can explain these in detail to you should you ask. For my part, I will say that she had a concussion, an injury to her brain (opposite the point of impact, I think, with the brain compressing against the skull from her momentum at impact, and a broken collar bone.
— A pause for a safety message from BK—
Our dear friend Eileen in a sensible woman. She wore sturdy shoes, appropriate garb on arms and legs for protection, and the most beautiful little helmet you ever saw. Now, if you had seen her helmet before the crash, you might have remarked “Nice helmet” but probably walked off thinking “No big deal.” However, if you observed the helmet’s postmortem, you might rather be inclined to walk away in amazement how this selfless piece of attire gave its life – figuratively – to protect our friend, Eileen. If you did not see the pictures on Facebook, it must suffice to say that one of her nurses requested permission to photograph it to show her children why they should wear helmets when riding.
Eileen’s defunct helmet, with cracked foam circled in red
— Now, back to the story —
Through weeks of rest and care from her doctor and his staff, Eileen recovered. Oh, certainly, there were headaches. Sometimes her neck bothered her (while other times she was able to sleep through it). Bruised and battered limbs, abraded skin, collar bone knitting, cranial swelling slowly returning to normal, she soldiered on.
On a visit to her physician’s office, as is probably standard practice for doctors performing follow-up examinations, her doctor had her sit on an elevated examination table for him to assess her condition and judge the progress of her recovery. Satisfied that she was mending, he completed the exam and told her that she could get down from the table. He no doubt expected her to ease off the table, using the step alongside to relieve stress on her bruised and battered extremities and to help her maintain balance in the transition. He was, therefore, rather surprised when she hopped directly to the floor without trepidation.
“My, you are one tough cookie!” he pronounced.
When Eileen told us the story of her visit, I could only agree that this was perhaps the best, most fitting diagnosis I had ever heard. From there, what else could we call her? So, I guess it is her biker name and one day maybe we will get her a leather jacket with that name tooled across the back. For now, it is our term of endearment for a good friend, a reminder of how important helmets are, and a sign of respect for one tough cookie.
BK’s note: I did not mean this to be so long, but as another great woman once remarked, “My husband never uses one word when three are available.”
CB’s note: I only edited BK’s account slightly, as I wanted to retain the entertaining flavor of his authorial voice.
See National Multiple Sclerosis Society Illinois Chapter for helpful information about MS.