CALEDONIA, Mich. — Brenda Steiner thought she was hosting a bonfire for some of her children on Friday. The mother of 8 has a few kids close to home, but the gathering she thought was slated for the day was a cover up for the real surprise.
Not all of her kids live in Michigan. A day and a half before Friday's cookout, her son, Nick, left Denver with some very precious cargo.
Driving through the night, he and his fiancé were hauling Nick's motorcycle, and a 1972 Honda that he had just finished restoring.
"My mom and my dad rode bikes together," Nick said. "That’s probably where I got the itch to start riding."
The bike crossing state lines isn't any standard set of wheels - it's the first motorcycle his mother bought as a 19-year-old. The bike she would ride alongside her late husband Scott.
"I was probably 19, and I rode it all the time," Brenda said. "I think at the time I got rid of it we had five kids and I was probably expecting a sixth."
Nick says his parents had sound logic — both were avid bikers, but with kids to look after, riding all the time was dangerous. Brenda gave the bike away to a family friend who planned to repair it, but never did. After 25 years sitting dormant, Nick came up with a plan.
While back in town for his father's funeral, he reconnected with the friend who planned on repairing the old Honda. Turns out the bike had been untouched for most, if not all, of that time. Having restored many bikes on his own, Nick saw a challenge and an opportunity. The plan was simple, fix the bike and give it to his mom as a mothers day gift in 2021.
Things didn't go according to that plan.
Finding spare parts to fix rusted and broken components proved more difficult and time consuming that Nick originally thought. Mother's Day 2021 came and went. Then Christmas passed, too, with an unfinished bike.
By the time he finished the repairs, he had to fabricate some of his own parts, but it was up and running just in time to miss Mother's Day 2022.
Thankfully, Nick and his siblings can keep a secret. As Nick approached his mother's house, she had no clue what was about to happen. Nobody had spilled a word, and as surprised as she was to see Nick show up unannounced, it was tenfold for her old bike.
Most of the Bike retained the original styling — red trim with gold and white accents — with one notable exception. Nick couldn't find a replacement for the left side plate, so he made his own. Instead of painting it to match the rest of the bike, he detailed it with words from his father. "Beauty for Ashes" and "God is good and does good" line the side.
"Despite all the pain and discomfort he was in, his positive outlook on life was God is good and does good," Nick said. His father died after a long battle with cancer. "That carried him for probably ten more years than he would have had."
When we asked Brenda how she felt about the customization, she began tearing up. She mentioned that their family had experienced a lot of loss in the past few years, but that mantra and their family have kept her faith strong.
The beauty of Nick's surprise shines bright, and she agreed with her kids that Scott was smiling down on the delivery, and in some way, playing a role from above.
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