She hated motorcycles. Even the distant roar of a Harley Hog brought a shiver of distaste.
“No good reason,” she said, “I just disliked everything about the biker life and was actually afraid when a biker would pull up next to me at a stoplight.”
Then her neighbor, Nita, asked her to help at a biker rally that was going to be held at the county fairgrounds.
“We do the coolest thing,” she said, “We invite the bikers to come over to our booth and we wash their feet and give them a copy of the booklet Steps to Christ. They love it!”
But Nita persisted till finally Lilya gave in.
“OK. But only on Friday.”
By Friday, Lilya was nearly sick with dread. She even thought about checking in to an emergency room so she wouldn’t have to go to the fair with Nita.
However, feet dragging and car moving at about 2 miles per hour, she headed to the fairgrounds. The “Free Footwash” booth was way too near the front gate.
“Isn’t this awesome,” Nita glowed. “We’re right in the middle of the bikers!”
Lilya wanted to run home.
Though bikers rode in and out all day, no one came to have their feet washed. – It was a wonderful day!
Nita convinced Lilya to come back Saturday. “Sometimes it takes some time,” she said. Hopefully.
Lilya hoped her friend was wrong, but agreed to come back the next morning.
After sitting at the “Free Footwash” booth for an early Sabbath hour, the Harleys began arriving, each one piloted by a leather-clad “monster.” This time one of the bikers, a giant man with a navel-length red beard, stopped, read the sign, looked Lilya in the eye, and with the voice of a drill sargent, declared, “Wash my feet? You bet!”
“I about died,” Lilya remembers.
She helped him get the boots off, and then peeled his tall socks off feet looked to have not been scrubbed for generations.
“Hot water. Scrubbing cloth. Cool water. Scrubbing cloth. Most of a bar of soap. More hot water. Clean towel. Finally done. And all the time he was laughing and telling me biker stories. It was actually fun!”
By the time Lilya finished with Big Clem, the like of bikers stretched 10 deep into the parking lot.
“Nita and I washed scores of feet that day, and met dozens of new friends. They all wanted to know why we were doing something so crazy, wanted to tell us “angel stories,” and were eager to take the booklet on Christ.”
“Ya gonna be here tomorrow? Great, I’ll bring the Missus.”
Sunday was even better as more than a hundred bikers came by for a free footwash.
As Lilya finished her story she reached over and patted the seat on her shiny new Harley.
“Ya know, now when I hear the sound of a well-tuned bike roaring, I smile. I’m about to meet a new friend!”
The Oregon Conference Motorcycle Camp Meeting is scheduled for August 25, 26, and 27 at Gladstone Park Conference Center in Gladstone, Ore. Meals, stories, rides, and roars. And, maybe even a "Free Footwash"!