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Ride of a lifetime shared with love of her life

Dee Peterson of Alexandria recently took her first open-road ride on a three-wheeled roadster Spyder. Her husband of 50 years, John (right), said, “Oh… my… goodness…” when he saw his wife on the bike. (Contributed)

On September 4, Dee Peterson of Alexandria climbed on a three-wheeled roadster Spyder, hit the road and crossed that ride-of-a-lifetime off her “bucket list.”

“I had thought about it for many years,” Dee said.

“When Cheryl [Chan] asked me about my bucket list, I thought, ‘Gee whiz, what do I really want to do?’ So it came back into my head,” she explained.

Her friend, Cheryl, put a call into Earl and Sonya Anderson at Ollie’s Service in Alexandria, asking if they would help make a motorcycle ride happen for Dee.

“It’s kind of weird;, sometimes you get that intuition to do something and that’s what it was like that that day,” Sonya said.

The timing was perfect.

Dee said her husband, John, had just gone to lie down so she told Sonya, “Yeah, I can go right now.”

The Andersons rolled into the Petersons driveway on the Spyder.

Earl handed her a helmet. It was the first time she’d ever worn a helmet and her first time on a motorcycle.

Earl drove and Dee, 85, settled in for the ride.

They ventured over to Lake Latoka.

Dee said, “It was nice just sitting back, holding the hand grips, looking around and enjoying the nice ride.”

It was a ride-of-a-lifetime that she shared with the love of her life.


Earl and Dee were gone about 20 minutes and Dee started to get a little anxious about getting home. She was worried about her husband, John; his health had been deteriorating over the last year or so.

When they rolled into the driveway, Dee went into the house to get John.

“I sat down on the driver’s seat so he could see me,” she said.

“I think his comment was, ‘Oh… my… goodness,’” Dee said with a soft laugh.

A photo of Dee sitting on the Spyder was taken after her ride and it just so happens John is in the background, looking at his wife.

That was the last picture taken of John. He died three days later.

Now, that photo serves as an image of comfort as she figures out life without him.

“That photo is on the dining room table. I say, ‘Hi, honey’ when I walk by.”

She paused, then gently shared, “I’m just so thankful that God took him home [quickly] because he wouldn’t have liked being at a nursing home. I know that.”


The Petersons’ love story started in the early 1960s when a friend set up Dee and John on a blind date.

Dee traveled from Mound to Alexandria just to meet John.

“We saw Blue Hawaii for our first date,” she said.

And this past June, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

“One thing that John had always done, he always thanked me for coming to Alex to meet him. Every day he’d say, ‘Thanks for coming, Ma.’ He was always looking out for me and providing.”


Dee said she knows it will take time to heal a heart that was filled with 50 years of John’s love.

But, she said she still has more to do.

Now that Dee has crossed one to-do off her bucket list, what’s next?

“I don’t know that there is any one thing right now,” she said. “I just hope I can stay healthy for a few more years because I’ve got a lot of work I want to get done.”

She plans to braid rugs, make more purses, do some traveling and visit family and continue her many years of volunteering at Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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