I was digging through my ABATE filing cabinet the other day looking for something and ran across some state magazines from the old days. I had forgotten that back then our state party was called the “Buckeye Bash” instead of the “June Jam” and one of the magazines had a number of photos of that year’s “Bash”. In the spread were snapshots of people like Lee Ryan, Doug Clark, Deik, Whitey, Haskell, Toby, Whiskers and others. Some are still with us, some not. A smile came to my face as I remembered the great times and righteous people that ABATE has brought into my life and I realized that I was still smiling when I closed the cabinet drawer.
“And what’s your name and how old are you sir?”
Now, on the other hand, for reasons that have seemed too complicated to put into words, I’ve noticed that I always get a twinge of sadness whenever I gaze at photos of my sons when they were little boys. I’m sure it’s mostly because when I see them all cute and cuddly, it strikes me how those days are gone and they’ll never be again. I think most parents miss seeing their kids when they were tykes.
Oh, I’m very proud of the fine men they’ve become and what they’ve accomplished. But it’s just kinda weird to think of your 29 and 32 year old sons, now grown men, and remember them bouncing on your knee while you tickled them into a giggling frenzy.
I have an old cassette tape of an interview I made of them when they were 2 and 5. A friend gave it to me a few years ago when he discovered the “goofing around” interview on the back of a recording I made of a guitar lesson for him 27 or so years ago. It was sort of a “Man On The Street” thing that we did spur of the moment and would have been lost to me forever if it wasn’t found accidentally. I took the tape to a place I know that transfers old records and tapes to digital and had them make a copy to CD for me so I can have it forever. Tapes wear out. Every now and then I pull it out and listen to it:
“Jason! I’m five. This is my brother Ben. He’s two. Say hi Ben.” (Giggling laughter from Ben)
“So, tell me; what’s your favorite food Jason?”
“Beans? Not candy?”
“Now that’s more like it. The truth will set you free. What’s your favorite color?”
“Hmmm. What color is my face?”
“Dirty. Who’s your best friend?”
“You are daddy!”
( Note: At this point I usually have to stop listening.)
I then realized that the reason that seeing old ABATE photos and thinking of those past times doesn’t sadden me is because the good times are still with us. No matter how much ABATE “ages” and goes through changes, those past times are still possible with new as well as old friends and other events. We might miss friends who are gone, but that’s an individual thing, not an organizational thing, if ya get what I mean.
It’s been said by more than a few that the reason or reasons one joins this organization should not be for the companionship or the camaraderie, but instead for the serious legal issues we face as well as all the other issues pertaining to motorcyclists. I disagree. It should be for whatever reasons YOU decide to join.
Granted, this is NOT a club. It never has been and never will be. And our legislative issues should be the primary focus of your membership. But who’s to say that once you join you can’t find brother and sisterhood among people who just happen to partake of the same lifestyle and have many of the same interests that you do?
When I look back on the good times with ABATE I remember valuable riding lessons that I’ve learned through being a member. I remember faces and places. I remember runs and events. And I always remember them with a smile.
Speaking of those valuable riding lessons, before I sign off this month I’d like to say that in a few weeks spring will be upon us. Some of you might have already had the scoots out for a putt or two. Every year I try to remind you that winter road treatment usually leaves a fine, slippery ash-like substance on the roads, especially on corners and intersections. Also, pot holes have appeared out of nowhere and things like rail road tracks and man hole covers heave up from the freezing and thawing, making them particularly dangerous for us. Remember: Cars bounce and slide around. Bikes fall over. On top of all that, many car and truck drivers have forgotten to look out for motorcycles over the winter, so watch out for them.
Y’all just keep ‘em up on two wheels and between the ditches. I’ll be yappin’ at ya next month.