John Otterbacher
Author, Speaker and Adventurer

While You Can

Excerpt 3 from What Remains:

It’s moving up on ten o’clock. Time to get on my way if I’m going.


I clean up the kitchen and pull on a boot, lace it up and pull on the other.


Then I freeze.


All the questions I’ve been swatting away turn back on me, less questions than bare-knuckled fears.


You are seventy-four years old, John. Are you sure you want to do this? Three thousand miles of back roads on a twenty-year-old motorcycle?


What happens if that bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Or you do?


Your back or your heart, out in desert west Texas?


I stand up and walk out onto the deck, the relief of motion. I don’t want to pretend. I’ve got some fears and a few hard-to-answer questions. Can I just be okay with that?


I’m down the steps now and walking out along the ridgeline to a point high above White Lake. It’s as calm today as Lake Michigan was last night, everything I am not. My long-deceased mother walks alongside — “When are you going to settle down, Johnny?” — shaking her head with sham exasperation, then breaking into a grin.


My father joins us, his sad, smiling grace as Parkinson’s takes his car keys, then his life.


“Do it while you can,” he whispers. “You can rest later.”


What Remains, page #9


Join John on multiple social networks!

Awards for Sailing Grace

Best New Non-Fiction Book, National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist, Best Book Awards, USA Book News Winner, Michigan Notable Book Awards

Article about John

Blog Categories