Preparing to testify at the Indiana State House
Hanging out with Dan Wheldon at the Indy 500
The long term
As a youngster I enjoyed bicycle riding. One day when I was six years of age my father asked if I wanted to go out for a ride. I was big enough to ride my sister’s single gear banana seat bicycle. So with all the vigor that I have seemed to possess throughout life we set upon a journey. I pushed that journey to 31 miles. 11 years later, in 1986, I and other prospects were invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs so the Olympic coaches couldn’t get a closer look at us. Two years later I got my professional racing license and was promptly struck by a truck during a training ride.
To aid in my recovery The U.S. Government provided for my housing, living expenses and general care, including a follow-up surgery, for a bit over a year. That was at a high security federal prison in Louisiana.
Although my dreams of racing in the Tour de France had been shattered along with much of my body I pushed onward. Although my life pursuits were put on hold while I took a hiatus in Louisiana incidental to my political activities, I pushed onward.
When I got married in 1993 it was with all the hopes and expectations that the romantic view of marriage confers on one. I, and my newlywed counterpart, would embark upon the path to home ownership, parenthood, a joyful life and a blissful existence until death do us part.
But such was not to be. We owned our home, had one child, and soon thereafter a failed marriage. The child that I cared for daily was taken away from me except for every other weekend and a few additional days throughout the year. The house I bought from my savings was taken from me. The business I ran from home was forced into liquidation.
Although I was put on the street, rarely got to have interaction with my son, and, after splitting the assets, was left in debt I pushed onward.
I provide this background to let you know that plans change. They can be forced to change dramatically. They can be quite devastating. They can leave one feeling hopeless. But such doesn’t have to be the final outcome.
Throughout subsequent years, while representing myself, I tirelessly fought to protect my child and gain additional parenting time. I successfully had her found in contempt for denying parenting time on numerous occasions, got my parenting time increased by three weeks per year, and got child support payments reduced by 70% through two successive petitions then ultimately reduced to zero through agreement.
I have enjoyed going to the Indy 500 since I was a child and began taking my son when he was age 3 years. Through my business of selling die-cast model race cars I got to know many crew members and drivers. During the month of May I was a regular fixture at the track spending nearly all day every day there.
Although not doing so on a competitive level at this time, I do ride my bicycles for transportation, exercise and enjoyment purposes. When my son was in high school I rid myself of an automobile. Upon one of his return trips in the summer his mother brought him to my parents' house near where she would be staying. The next morning I told him I was ready to go and he stepped outside to see a tandem bicycle. We rode 25 miles home. He hasn't taken to the bicycle like I did but it has made for funny recollections.
Currently, I enjoy a robust and loving relationship with my one-and-only son. I travel across the county to visit him at least once a year while he completes graduate school. Although he lived with his mother in Kansas City after elementary school through high school he returned to Indiana to attend college. Throughout those years he sought my counsel on the various aspects of growing from adolescence into adulthood.
I provide this background to let you know that when circumstances seem most dire they can still be building toward a fruitful outcome. While the lost childhood years cannot be reclaimed they will be short compared to the years of enjoyment that a parent and child can spend together as adults. I imagine myself continuing to be intimately involved with my son and his wife as their life together, much as all the hopes and expectations that the romantic view of marriage conferred upon his mother and I, unfolds for them. Just as I did when riding bicycles I tend to view life for the log haul.
If you choose, I think I can help you get there with your child.