Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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August 2016

    Hot fun in the summertime...............
    I went on a poker run with an old friend the other day. His name is Bandit and he and I had so many great times in the old days that I really wish we could have kept in touch. It was a different world back then and this biking lifestyle weíve chosen has become a bit different over the years too, but in many ways it seems he and I are still the same people we used to be. As time moves on we often lose sight of friends from job changes, family stuff, moving, etc., but in this case I think it was simply being too busy with life.

    We lived in the same small town forty years ago and when I moved away (as he did later on) I guess our acquaintance just got lost in the shuffle. Iím the only person in the world who still does not have a cell phone, but Iíve had the same land-line number and the same address for the past thirty years so he had no trouble looking me up in the phone book (remember those?). He called to ask if I wanted to go with him on a poker run. I had just gone on an ABATE run the day before where the temps were in the 90ís and humid as hell and it just about wore me out. But when I realized who it was I didnít hesitate to hook up with my old riding buddy and go on this one also.

    The last time I saw him I was just divorced from my first wife. That was about thirty years ago and I was going through some kind of early mid-life crisis I guess. I could drink mass quantities of 100 proof liquor. I could ride naked. I could do wheelies with a Shovelhead (well sorta). I could play guitar until my fingers bled and my amp would melt. Hell, I could probably fly if I really tried hard enough back then. I was a lean, mean, partying machine.... nothing like I am today and to tell the truth Iím surprised I survived.

    I was in my early thirties and holding down a good job but I was also in a pretty damn good bar band playing lotsa gigs most nights of the week. Though Iíve always preferred afternoons, I worked the day shift on my real job for a few years just so I could play night gigs with this band so I went without much sleep.

    That particular night we were playing at a bar in Kent when I saw him walk through the door. It had been a while since I had seen him because I had moved, but as soon as the band took our first break I bellied up to the bar beside him, smacked him on the back, and we started tossing them down hootiní and holleriní just like the old days. Back then when ya did a Yukon Jack Slammer, you mixed it with a little soda, covered it with your hand, and actually slammed it on the bar accompanying it with a lot of yelling. We were bikers in our prime....young dumb and full of, well you know. We did the same thing each time for both of the bandís first two breaks. After that second fifteen minute slam fest I had to be called back to the stage and as I climbed up I almost tripped and fell on my ass. I was pretty sloshed.

    A few tunes later I noticed Bandit was starting to get into a commotion involving a hot college cheer leader type that was standing between him and the guy she came into the nightclub with. Bandit was a good looking guy and a harmless flirt when it came to women (I donít think he could help himself) but I guess he overdid it that night. Soon a ruckus began, it expanded, stools started to get pushed over, and then the preliminary shouting started. Now, Bandit could always hold his own in a bar fight, but the boyfriendís crew grabbed him, held him, and then they let the gutless puke BOYfriend start punching him in the face as Banditís blood spurted all over the place.

    The bar was close enough to the stage that I could see everything clearly, and when I saw that I jumped down to help forgetting that my guitar was still plugged in. I stripped it off my shoulder and swung it at the closest &*@hole, but before it came unplugged my amp came crashing to the floor making a helluva noise. But that was nothing compared to the damage I did to that sweet antique 1962 Gibson ES330 semi-acoustic guitar with ďFĒ slots that was ďChuck BerryĒ with a screaming ďTed NugentĒ edge. And that was the last time I saw Bandit until now.

    I woke up the next morning in the Kent jail charged with aggravated assault (guitar) which was modified, then dropped entirely when they found that the jerk I smashed my Gibson on turned out to have an open 5Ē Buck knife in his hand which I didnít even notice at the time.

    Okay, so flash forward to what I found out the other day...

    Bandit was hauled off in an ambulance after I was drug out of there by the cops. He had been beaten until he was knocked unconscious and he had a few cracked ribs. He was released a week later and went home not knowing what happened to me, but he thought I was okay and didnít even know about the cops. We just went our separate ways since he didnít have my number or even know what town I lived in and I didnít know where he was. He then moved out of state a few years later and like most of us went through a lot of stuff over the next few decades. He gained some weight (like me), a few wives (like me), a few bikes (like me), and a few jobs (unlike me).

    I still have that same guitar I smashed over that guyís head and I told Bandit all about it (heís into guitars too). The neck was completely broken off at the base that night and she had to have lotsa wooden repair work with all the electronics redone, but she plays better than ever with the easiest action Iíve ever felt! She has only a fraction of the collectorís value that she would have if she wasnít so patched together (there are now giant screws in the back holding the neck on!) But she looks good enough for me and plays soooo sweet and easy which is all that matters. Iíve never gathered anything for its collectorís value, especially musical instruments. That would take all the fun out of it.

    Getting back to Bandit, he finally found the right woman for himself and settled down long ago. I did that a few times until I found out each time that wasnít quite true. But oh well. Maybe someday if I can find one thatís still lotsa fun and not raising her damned grandkids LOL.

    The run was great and it was a blast seeing and riding with him again. Neither one of us drinks on wheels these days, but it was still a gas bellying up to a bar together again even if we DID drink iced tea and soda-pop.

    He told me he was back in Ohio staying with relatives for the reading of an uncleís will and the settling of his estate. He left a few days later to go home to his woman in Oregon where he owns a little three rig trucking company.

    When we said our goodbyes that day he invited me to come out West for a visit, but we both knew that probably wouldnít happen. But then again who knows? I never know whatís next these days, which I think is a good thing (usually). Heck, I donít even know what Iím gonna do when I get off this computer in a minute, but I got a feeling it involves food. Iím HONGRAY!

    Yíall enjoy whatís left of your summer and stay safe,

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