Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guest!
Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guest!
Had a fun girls’ night out last week. We had deep discussions, silly ones, kid and adult topics and through it all, I came to admire my guest even more so than when I entered the Pizza Hut that night.
Actually, we’d never met before but I have followed her on FB for years. She’s also an aunt to our grandson’s girlfriend, Lizzie, whom we adore. (They also like our grandson, Stephen, as he’s an amazing mechanic and good kid). My gal is: a wife, mother, daughter, worker, believer, thriver, laugher, and perhaps above all, survivor. Certainly, her story is an amazing one!
From Moline, Illinois, she said she was born a Sucker but identifies as a Hoosier. “I just love our little village!” We agree it’s a place where if there’s a problem, everyone pitches in! She attended John Deere Jr. High (of course) in Moline, moved to the Crawfordsville area where she went to Waynetown then graduated from North Montgomery.
At North, she was involved in several activities including gymnastics, swimming, Art, and the Office Education Association. She went on to Beauty School and worked for Harris’ for awhile but said she really wasn’t good at any of it. Currently, she works for Tyler Baer with Edward Jones, and has worked there for quite some time.
Although an only child and she has an only child, she enjoyed being with all her cousins as she grew-up. Now she enjoys her nieces and nephews. She is hoping to have more than one grandchild, though!
Having dated her husband for a couple of years before moving to Rensselaer when she returned, she saw him going up the courthouse steps. “He looked pretty good, too!” So, she called him up with the excuse of asking if he knew of any jobs. Well, she did need a job and he fell for it! In September of that year, 1994, they were married at Christ Lutheran Church by Pastor John Stacy, one of my all-time favorite ministers, and theirs, too. Hey, looking like #25 appearing soon. Congrats, kids! That’s a feat in this day and age.
So I mentioned their son. He’s a fabulous swimmer and she has done that sport’s announcing at CHS for quite sometime and plans on continuing that. Riding her bike is something else she totally loves, but hubs doesn’t go along with that much. In fact, she says it’s kind of their get-away from each other. She has some Facebook friends that if someone says, “Hey, let’s ride,” they get together and ride anywhere from 13-30 miles. She has been across Iowa seven times in the RAGBRAI race. It has been in existence for 45 years and she wants to go back. “I’d never slept in a tent before, but we ride, sleep,” and of course there’s lots of camaraderie! Rotten Robbies has a group that rides most Wednesday nights.
She also loves to crochet and scrapbook but is a bit behind on that and feeling a little pushed with her son graduating in a few weeks. Told her I’d help her but we may need some more recruits – she said she thought the last one she did was his Kindergarten one!
They all love to travel and have been to the most peaceful, beautiful place in the world several times with her folks. That’s Sanibel, Florida. Often, she has been to Disney World and would so love to go again. She took their son once but they waited and waited for the Peter Pan Ride. He was getting a bit rambunctious and she told him (thinking to use some motherly psychology) if he wasn’t good they’d just get out of line and go back to the hotel. “Okay, let’s go!” So, they never got to ride, he hated Disney World but he absolutely loved the swimming pool.
They just lost their pooch of 14 years but still have three cats and fish. Oddly, her favorite pet they’ve had was their son’s fourth grade rat. She thought it was lonely and decided to add another one for company. Two girls and they didn’t really get along but they tolerated each other and she said, “They’re really smart animals!”
So, now, it’s time for the reveal and more on why I admire this lady so very, very much! She’s not had cancer just once but is currently fighting it again. First in a breast but has also had it in a lymph node and in her liver. Now, it’s back in the other breast. Only one time did I see a down-in-the-mouth entry on her FB page. You know, a why me, this stinks thing. Twenty minutes later another post said, “Okay, I’m over that!” In fact, if I were to get that disease, I’d want her right in my ballpark, believe me! It was “stage 4” and her husband, Mark Bickel said, “Missie, it’s just a number!” She knows it’s a battle, but one she can tackle. Mark has been her mainstay, doing dishes, laundry, anything to help. Blessings upon you Mark. Son, Gus, has been there for her too and has that sense of humor she so often needs.
“It’s just cancer, not a death sentence. It’s a chronic illness, yes, but it has ahhh haaa moments.” She contributes faith, friends and family as what keeps her going. Saddened, however, that her father now has cancer, too. She loves her parents, some of you may know them through Perry Equipment by North Montgomery. Also she mentioned how she adored her inlaws.
“I pray in the shower a lot.” Jesus told me one day, “Missie, I have a plan for you!” From that she realized that she has no control over anything but her attitude, and that attitude is what amazes me. She knows that positive versus negative will get you far in life. So happy I met this amazing young lady and hopefully we’ll get that scrapbooking done. Thanks, Missie Bickel for being my ATC guest this week!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.