Lady Long Rider
When Bernice picked up the reins and rode out, heading to New Mexico from Montana,
she had no idea that what she was doing had a name: Long Riding. Nor did she imagine
that her personal long ride would become an iconic odyssey with meaningfulness for other people.
It was only out of necessity that she started talking about her experiences on the road. She gave talks at libraries and senior centers, and they would feed her lunch.
People who met Bernice, resonated deeply with her. The exchange was much more
than a good story for a sandwich. By being her authentic self, Bernice was modeling courage,
ingenuity, perseverance and presence.
People talked. The word spread. Local newspapers began sending reporters out to find her. Bob Dotson of the Today Show interviewed her.
Bernice is easy for people to connect with. She is present, warm, and engaging. But Bernice is known to say "it's not me" when asked to comment on the magnetic effect she has on people. It is the symbolism of her journey that is so compelling. This is not something Bernice talks about, because she simply lives it. But it shines through every story she tells: we all have the ability to make purposeful choices about how we live and how we connect with each other.
Bernice is the pilgrim who has searched for - and found - what is sacred to her: life itself.
While living an unconventional life, Bernice has found where she belongs in the community of humanity. Like a compassionate mirror, she reflects all that we can be.