Author: Suzy Smith

4th Annual Colonial Beach BikeFest (part one)

Bands, Bikes, and Beer.

 

What more could you ask for than bands, bikes, and beer? The 4th Annual Colonial Beach Bike Fest took place over Columbus Day weekend 2017. With weather that was amazing all weekend long the crowds had a blast at the free concerts, the local restaurants and bars were hopping and a good time was had by all.

Motorcycles line a street in front of a beige church.
Bikes line Washington Avenue during the 4th Annual Colonial Beach BikeFest.

Bikes lined up along both sides of the street on Washington and Colonial Avenues with many parked anywhere you could put a motorcycle. Folks from all walks of biker life, from the lawyer who is a weekend iron warrior to the full-time biker who is a mechanic, took to the streets of Colonial Beach, Virginia for the event.

Saturday’s crowds were estimated at 12,000 to 15,000 people according to town mayor Eddie Blunt.

 

Motorcycles line the street beside a blue-green and red Art Deco 1940s era motel
Motorcyclists park beside the RiverView Inn

Recently renovated, and reopened, the RiverView Inn got to flip the switch to “No Vacancy” for the weekend as did most of the motels in town. CB is home to several motels plus a number of vacation cottages and homes. Many of the motorcyclists rent homes as a group for the four-day event.

Bikers from as far away as Indiana were present with many from up and down the east coast.

 

Even with Myrtle Beach’s fall bike week falling the same weekend, CB drew crowds to the still fairly new, yet growing, Bike Fest.

A long haired man points a drum stick at the camera. He is seated in front of a drum kit on stage.
Local band “Vivid Vertigo” played on Thursday

 

Thursday brought local band “Vivid Vertigo” to the town stage. While plagued with some equipment issues they still rocked the small crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

3 people in a band play on an outdoor stage
“Southern Dream” takes the town hill stage on Thursday
A white man in a cowboy hat plays an acustic guitar. He is wearing a red shirt and black suspenders.
Guitar player from “Southern Dream”
A white man holding a guitar sings in front of a microphone.
Lead Singer for “Vivid Vertigo”
A man stands with his back facing the camera while playing the bass.
Bass player for “Vivid Vertigo”
A young man with short dark hair plays the guitar.
Guitarist from “Vivid Vertigo”

March on Monument (or why Suzy is so angry)

MOM05 I wrote a news article on the March on Monument and once it is published, I will share a link to it, here. This piece however is my personal thoughts, feelings, reflections and reasons behind why I went to Richmond and why I will be going to Washington, DC this weekend.

Note, I will not leave hateful, mean, things up on the page. I will delete them. You have every right to disagree with me, however, go do it on your Facebook page.

 

I went to the March on Monument on Saturday. My short, fat, gimpy self drove to loveyourneighborRichmond, early in the day, found parking, unloaded my scooter of whee and joined in with a couple thousand other people at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue for a social justice march.

Yes, ironic that we would gather at the foot steps of an oppressor to begin this march, but there we were- Black, white, women, men, children, gay, straight, bi. Able bodied and the disabled, people of all religion, and no religion. Gathered in the shadows of a statue that was erected just 25 years after the American Civil War, in honor of a Confederate General, to work toward justice for all. Now that is ironic, I do believe.

I digress. As I unloaded from the van and headed up from my parking spot, I was nervous, it had rained all morning, it was cold and grey. When I got there only one of the organizers, were there.
I made my way to one of the places offering us a restroom the assisted living center just around the corner. While, I did not get her name the lovely woman at the desk not only punishwomenmade me feel welcome, but thanked me for coming to the march.

Off to the crowds even though I was not officially working, I went into reporter mode. Pictures were taken, I interviewed some people, then dodged some media. Or actually turned down the opportunity to be interviewd.

People approach me to talk to me. It happens wherever I may be. I have, what I am told, a kind face, I smile a lot, and I am just genuinely interested in others. As journalists approached me, I told them I was a journalist and couldn’t be interviewed. They all understood although one woman did look at me oddly.

(I get that, I do not look like what you expect of a reporter. I am short, I am super sized. I am disabled. I use a mobility scooter. And, I was also in a #pussyhatproject hat made by my incredible friend. Still, I thought, better safe than sorry, people might get mad.)

So, I did my thing. I interviewed, I took some pictures, I took notes.nastywoman

Then, I let myself become part of the march. I melded into the crowd, near the front where I would be able to hear the speakers, the singers, then three people of faith, and be a part of it.

That was the right thing to do. As the singers started with a couple songs and into Holly Near’s “We are a gentle angry people,” I became part of the march. I was no longer solely an observer, but I became part of the march. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUAoyE0DFBw)

I know my reasons for being in Richmond. Trump’s election to the presidency had pussypowerdisheartened me. Not because he is a Republican, we have lived through many Republican presidents. Hell, I made it through George W. Bush in one piece.

No, I am angry because he isn’t a Republican or a Democrat or a decent human being. He was elected on the backs of an angry Alt Right who are a group of white men who are worried about losing their privileges.

I believe he conned many actual conservative people into voting for him and they will, and some already have, come to regret their votes.

I am angry he was elected because he mocked a disabled journalist, lied about doing it, when we watched him do it live, and people thought it was okay.

I am angry because he said it was okay to “Grab a woman by her pussy,” and get away with it. Again, people thought this was okay. Our President-Elect admitted to sexually marchonmonument03assaulting women and people let it go. As a rape survivor this is unacceptable to me.

I am livid that he wants to build a wall, at the costs of billions of dollars, along our southern border. Let’s work with those who wish to come to America. Let’s make the immigration process easier, not more difficult.

I am angry because a man that referred to our African American brothers and sisters as “The blacks” who all live in “crime ridden hell holes” was elected to the Presidency.

I am angry because racists and bigots and homophobes have been emboldened by this man to attack, verbally and physically, those that differ from them.

I am sad that so many smart women I know voted for Trump because they couldn’t vote marchmonument01for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The far right has lied and pushed their agenda about her for close to 30 years and it worked.

HRC was the most qualifier candidate, ever, for the office of POTUS. Former first lady, former senator, former Secretary of State, who has spent her life in public service and we voted in a damn multi-bankruptcy, on his third marriage, reality star who has ties to Russia and Putin.

So, 240 years into this land called the USA, we have had 43 white, male Christian presidents, one black male Christian and now Trump. I am saddened for the little girls who still have no woman president to look up to.

One of my friend’s daughters even told her Mom that “I can never be President, that’s not for girls.”

The highest office in our land isn’t for girls.crowdatthebaseofstatue

That angers and saddens and disturbs me so much. My nieces are growing up in a country that devalues them to the point that the ERA has still not been ratified. That a rapist (Brock Turner) can serve three months for raping a woman.

They are growing up where people of color still suffering institutional racism (on top of standard bigotry) and are told their lives don’t matter.

They are growing up with a President who thinks of women as arm candy, subservient, and garbage.

freemom05My 17-year-old niece, who is gay, is facing a country where people would destroy her freedom to marry because “it’s against my religion.” She and her girlfriend were taunted by students, mainly one, actually, with a chant of Trump, Trump, Trump in the days after the election.

These are why I marched.

And, then, back to the story of the actual March.

As the songs spread across the 2,000 gathered souls, I could feel a tiny sliver of hope. There are good people left.

There are people who believe that Love is Love, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are StateSenJenniferMcClellanHuman Rights, Reproductive freedom is important.

I was surrounded by people who care enough for one another that they came out on a rainy cold Saturday to march with one another. Chanting, or not, holding signs, and joining together to show that we are the majority.

To show that America is better than whom we have elected this time. The majority voted for her.

As a woman who is also disabled and a journalist, three of the things Trump seems to hate, I am scared. I worry for my healthcare as the ACA kept me on my insurance even though they have spent above what the old lifetime maximum was on me.

I worry as a woman since it seems we are going to lose more of our reproductive freedoms.

I am terrified as a journalist as our President-Elect calls major media organizations fake, refuses questions from CNN, then answers one for the alt right site BreitBart. He planted his paid staff in a PRESS CONFERENCE to cheer him on.

trumpskyHis White House staff is talking about removing the White House Press Corps from the White House. He has stated he will make it easier to sue journalists.

I am scared, but it won’t stop me from writing. It won’t stop me from going to DC. It won’t stop me from calling out what is going on.

It may lose me some Facebook friends, but if you are so disinterested in politics that you can’t deal with anyone posting about it, I don’t understand you.

These things are important. Quit staring at your damn game on your smart phone and pay attention to what is going on around you.

Well.

Okay, I missed Monday entirely. I’ll try to do two entries another day to make up, but Mondays are tough.
You see, I procrastinate. Shocking, isn’t it? A writer that procrastinates. Mondays are deadline and well, I’m normally pushing that. In fact, pretty much every week I am.

I try, but when you’re covering stuff literally all day long, both weekend days, stuff gets pushed back. This weekend all sorts of wintry Christmas stuff on Saturday and a gospel event that lasted 6.5 hours on Sunday.

Yeah, writing wasn’t happening Sunday night.

It’s funny though, if I have a major story that happens on Mondays, I typically can slam stuff out so it gets in that week. Or, on the website if it is just too late.

A couple weeks ago, an incident happened at a council meeting and I had it covered within a short time of getting home. Then, other weeks, nothing exciting happens and it takes me three days to write a meeting story.

With the council we have coming aboard, I don’t think it’ll be difficult to be excited about stories and writing them quickly come January 1st.

Small town politics are interesting. You know the people on town council, school board, and the planning commission. In some cases you grew up with them, in others, you have known for years as they are typically people involved in the town.

They run for election, you have to write about them, without putting your personal feelings into it, and even if you don’t, you still get crap from people.

I have been hollered at, called names, bitched about, and had people tell me they were going to get me fired over things I have written. People fuss about what I have written on their Facebook page forgetting they have friended me.

Most of the time I let it go. That means they’re reading, even if they don’t like what I’ve written, they’re paying attention.

It was easier when I lived outside of town limits. I didn’t have to face the people I wrote about just because I was in my yard or talking a walk. Now, we live in the center of town and everyone knows where we’re at.

Yeah, that’s fun.

Still, I love my job, I love what I do. I feel appreciated by the community, most of the time, and I think we provide a needed service. Everyone should know what is going on where they live.
Local politics and government have an astounding effect on our day to day lives. They affect us way more than the President or Congress typically does, yet, we focus on the higher offices. It doesn’t really make sense.

It’s the local government that controls so much – local taxes, schools, infrastructure, water rates, etc, etc. Those things change our lives more than that Senator from Maine deciding that they need to add on a project for some random bill.

Yet, in non-Presidential election years turn out is so much lower. Hell, we elect a governor in Virginia next year and turnout will be low. People got excited this year when 1400 people, out of 2400 eligible had voted.

That is so disheartening to me, that so many don’t use their right to vote.

I’ll just keep voting, in even the smallest election, keep writing about what is happening locally, and hope people keep reading.

Day 4.

I just spent 6.5 hours at a Gospel Sing celebrating a group that has been together 18 years.

No, lightning didn’t strike, nor did they turn me to their ways. I did enjoy the music as even if I don’t share their beliefs doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate good voices and a great show.

 

It did however go on hours and hours longer than I anticipated. 11 groups of gospel singers from DMV, Delaware, NC, and one from Mississippi. I got some great pictures including one incredible church lady hat.

I just love church lady clothes and hats. I grew up Catholic and you dressed for church. Head to toe, perfect hair, beautiful, normally stiff dress, tights, and shined shoes.

I’m old enough that women still wore hats, a lot, when I was a child. I remember loving the different hats on the women.

Unfortunately, I am really out of time for tonight, so a picture from the evening.

churchladyIsn’t the hat amazing? It was even better in person as it sparkled. And, I love the sparkle.