February 1, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: February 1 is a date that is both a dreaded remembrance and a celebration.

Allow me to explain. On February 1, 1964, John Panek came home from work to such a beautifully unusual afternoon that he fired up his BSA Gold Star and went for a ride. He rode into Deer Grove Forest Preserve near Arlington Heights, Illinois to keep his appointment with destiny. As he was leaving Deer Grove to go home, he apparently rode over some ice covered by leaves. The motorcycle went off the road, threw him into a tree, and bounced back to where it could be seen from the road. The girlfriend of one of his friends (a nurse’s aide) just happened to be driving through Deer Grove recognized the motorcycle, stopped, and found him. Another friend motorcycled by and when she told him it was John, raced to the nearest phone.

We have not yet finished with destiny. As he was wheeled into the hospital, his family doctor was leaving and recognized John on the gurney, turned around, and took over his care. As they were wheeling him to surgery to explore why his blood pressure kept sinking, another doctor told the surgeon to look for a slit as well as a cut in the artery as he had just read about that in the Journal. And it WAS a slit that was fixed so he did not lose his leg.

364 days and several surgeries later, John went home from the hospital.

Today, we went out to celebrate that 50 years ago destiny decided that John Panek would survive. Today he is a well-known artist in the world of Classic Vintage Motorcycles. His work can be seen at his web site http://www.classic-cycle-art.com/main/Portfolio.html. Destiny was not done with him – yet.

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