Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

Join ABATE of Ohio,Inc.


June 2007

    Well, here it is June again and it’s time for another June Jam! This year it will be in Hopedale again and I gotta tell ya last year’s was a blast. Last year I went down with my oldest son Jason and this year I’ll be going with my woman Julie. Those of you who are going should look us up. If yer interested in coming to our “Hitching ceremony” on July 21st, we’ll tell ya all about it and tell ya how to get there [it’s gonna be only about an hour or so Northeast of Hopedale].

    Speaking of Hopedale, the good people of the American Legion were very welcoming last year and their location is absolutely FANTASTIC! The spacious grounds were immaculate and the “Motorcyclists Memorial” by itself is something that’s definitely worth the trip. Unfortunately [or fortunately depending on how ya look at it] there’s more than a FEW of my own personal friends inscribed there. Everyone who’s ever ridden should see this and take note of the respect that this monument makes to those who have passed and to this lifestyle that we all embrace.

    Speaking of this lifestyle, ya know how cool it is when you can turn somebody else onto something ya feel real strongly about? Like a certain kinda music or a place you’ve been? I think we all feel like that whether it’s something really huge or even if it’s something mundane like a movie you’ve seen, a band ya heard before or a type of food ya think is worth goin’ nuts over. Well, I’m gettin’ those kinda feelings all the time these days. And whenever it happens it’s like I’m joyously discovering whatever it is I’m focusing on all over again.

    Julie’s ridden many times before of course, but to be frank, her experience has been limited to riding with those who did nothing but wheelies from bar to bar. And to be honest, she hated it so much she ceased riding for years. I mean, before we met the woman had never even been to a swap meet or on a poker run, much less cruised the countryside on a warm Spring/Summer afternoon. When I introduced her to my ABATE friends and got her involved in the organization she felt right at home. And the people she’s met have all welcomed her with open arms, just like you might welcome someone into your family [which is sorta the way it is I guess]. She’s a member now, but technically the rules say ya gotta be one for a year or more to hold an office. Thank God, because the woman’s already trying to volunteer us for every %&$#ing thing! If somebody says they need someone to work the gate of an event she stands up and says, “We’ll do it!”. If someone asks for help preparing food she says, “We’ll do it!”. If they ever ask for somebody to clean the porto potties I gotta remember to hold her down and cover her mouth!!

    Well, I think we can ALL probably agree that it’s a good thing to turn somebody onto something new. And everyone who went to the Jam last year [or for that matter any Jam that’s ever been] should strongly urge others to go to this one coming up later this month. Granted, it might be a long ride for some of ya, but isn’t that what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing? I mean c’mon, we’re BIKERS for Crissakes! [note: the spelling means it isn’t blasphemy] (Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE political correctness?). This event is our annual celebration of our organization, our lifestyle and each other. It’s also the biggest single source of revenue for our organization. IF you have EVER felt that you had any kind of duty to ABATE, it’s probably been to help us increase our roster by gaining new members. Second to that is probably anything you can do to help our efforts to keep ourselves solvent financially, and a good way to do that is to come to the Jam. Ask your friends to come. The rules have changed from the old days when ya had to be a member of ABATE to get in the gate. ANYBODY and EVERYONE is welcome!

    And who WOULDN’T wanna be there? Most of us have spent many hours sitting around a campfire “Shootin’ the Breeze” [I couldn’t help myself!] with friends and sharing something, whether it’s a guitar, a bottle of homemade wine or stories of days gone by. In MY humble opinion doing that is probably the closest thing anyone can come to Heaven on Earth. The stars twinkle back at ya on a soft Summer night as ya smell the smoke of many distant campfires and ya lean back laughing at one of your friends comments. Ya think to yourself that THIS is the way it’s supposed to be. THIS is righteousness. None of us have to go to work in the morning…..None of us is gonna get weird if somebody cuts a fart or burps or says something that isn’t politically correct.

    If yer doing it right, THESE will be the memories you’ll think of down the road. And the ONLY way to get those memories is to just DO IT! Get off yer collective asses and come to the Jam!! There’s been years I couldn’t make it for one reason or another: Kids, hospital, jail, my &%$#in’ job [did I ever mention I’m RETIRED now?! LOL], rehab, things that have kept me from being who I am and doing the things I like. So I understand that some of you have prior obligations. But for the rest of ya let’s face it….ya got a bike that cost ya big bucks. And you’ve made some sort of sacrifices to have it. THIS is what ya got it for and why you made those sacrifices!

    The ride down to Hopedale is good no matter which way ya come from, with good roads and pretty little farms dotting the green countryside [if yer coming from the North I’d suggest Route 9, but all the surrounding roads really are noteworthy]. And for those of you who are only weekend riders [and YOU know who you are], well DUH!! It’s on a WEEKEND.

   Upon reading all this back to myself It looks like I’ve bitched and nagged at ya enough. I can’t think of anything else I can say to urge y’all to come to the Jam this year. I hit on “Duty to ABATE”, I did the old “Real Biker” nonsense. I even tried to sell ya on the ride down.

    Oh, I know! Did I mention that you can bring your own “partyin’ supplies” [food, beer, tequila, whatever]? Regarding THAT, did I mention we do our own security? So you can do whatever ya like as long as yer not a jerk. Did I mention that the bands are always great because they get into the spirit of the event and actually WANNA impress the Hell outta yuns so they can win the “Battle of the Bands” on Friday night? Did I mention that it’s traditional for women to run around nekkid all weekend? [OK, so don’t hold me to that last one]

    All I know is that one day when we’re all older and we look back on things, I’m sure each and every one of us is gonna ask ourselves, “Was it worth it? Or was it all just a waste of time? Have I had a full life? Did I take advantage of each and every opportunity to cut loose from the herd? To grab my life by the handlebars and steer it the way I wanted it to go? I hope to God I’ll be able to say to myself in reply, “What a ride!”

    Well, enjoy the ride for a weekend and steer yerselves to the Jam!


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