Shootin’ the Breeze
Doesn’t it seem that the
older ya get, the faster time slips by? To me it sometimes seems that a thing that might have
happened years ago just happened last month. But a thing that
happened last month seems like yesterday. No wonder old folks
get so damned confused!
was the mid seventies and some friends and myself were
headed to an event in upper New York State called the Harley
event drew folks from all over the country and was more well
known in this neck of the woods than Sturgis was at that
riding a ‘72 Sportster with an 8” over front end and a 3
and a half-gallon tank.
She was lean and blood red and covered in chrome. God, how I do miss
that bike. Sold
it to help make one of my marriages work. Needless to say that
was a BIG mistake.
we were traveling on state routes instead of interstates
‘cause we all had plenty of time and was livin’ life the
way it should be lived.
All of us had been plannin’ it for weeks, so we had
time off from our jobs.
the trip were me, my first wife Linda, Bird Dog, his woman
Wendy, and Sammy, Doc and Buford all ridin’ solo. First
night out we camped at a huge state park called Cook’s
Forest in Pennsylvania.
whenever I go on a weekend road trip somebody is usually
with us drivin’ a truck and we bring all kinds of
comforts, but there’s something to be said about just
packin’ necessities on yer scoot. Ya get to camp
further out in the wilderness, away from dogs and kids and
car stereos playin’ bad music [boom boxes weren’t even
settin’ up the tents and fetchin’ some firewood, we
discovered that Doc had set up his tent smack dab in the
middle of a bunch of poison sumac!
morning, we woke to the smell of coffee, bacon and eggs. Wendy had a thing
about doin’ the cookin’ and all the rest of us had to do
was clean up after. There
is NOTHING like campfire cookin’ in the morning. The forest just
seems to put a smile on yer face, especially with all the
birds and other critters wakin’ up with ya. Doc climbed out of his tent itching, bitching and
“HELP!! I got this stuff all
over me! Everytime
I scratch myself I seem to be spreading it further!”
wife gave him a bottle of sun tan lotion and that seemed to
help a little bit until we could get to a drug store. The druggist gave
him some white cream that made him look like an alien.
evening we pulled into the Rendezvous and had a great time
the rest of the weekend.
always prided myself on my ability to make acquaintances
easily. I have
no problem walking right up to a complete stranger and
talkin’ to ‘em. But,
to be with people you know and like is much more than that. Ya get a sense that
you can be yourself, and knowing that the ones yer with have
no problem with who you are, well, it kinda sets ya free.
Rogers once said that he never met a man he didn’t like. Well, I certainly
wouldn’t go that far.
But I feel that the same can be said referring to
bikers to some extent.
Sure, some bikers are absolute jerks. And I wouldn’t
even want some to know where I keep my bike parked. But on the whole,
most scooter people have a sense of integrity and dignity
that ya don’t usually find in others. They’re real
people, and they’ve driven the same roads under the same
conditions as you have, and that makes them part of yer
tribe, if ya know what I mean.
know I’ve been rambling this month, and now it’s time
for me to ramble on out of here. May is my favorite
month for ridin’, and the road awaits.....Be safe, be free
and be happy.
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got his name ‘cause he was a medic in Nam and had training
on all kinds of jungle stuff that could hurt ya, but
apparently he didn’t know what poison sumac looked like.
asked for help moving his tent, we all suddenly found other
things to do.
you guys! I
need a hand here!”
poor sucker had the stuff all over him the next day, but
that first night we had a great time sittin’ round the
campfire under a starry night sky. I brought a
harmonica and Bird Dog passed around a big jug of his
uncle’s homemade apricot brandy. Being in the woods
with friends around a campfire is probably the closest thing
to heaven that I can imagine.
As the night darkened we began tellin’ stories, and
here’s one of my favorites.
It’s a short one and I’ve heard it told different
ways, but this is the way I tell it........
old biker had a small farm in Northern Illinois, and one day
sent his oldest son to the local feed store to fetch seed. As the young man was
loading it into his old man’s pickup he turned and saw
Death standing on the sidewalk staring at him. He backed to the cab
of the truck in horror, started it and flew home to his
“Father! I was in town and
saw Death! I
fear he was coming for me!
Let me use your bike so I can leave here and escape
my destiny! I’ll ride to Chicago and lose myself among the masses
and he’ll never find me!”
old man sadly gave him the bike key and watched as his
first-born son left for the safety of a big city. He then drove to the
feed store in anger and sorrow to confront Death.
driven away my son!”
wearing a black robe that covered his face and clutching a
long scythe with bony hands replied, “I’ve come to your
town on other business, old one. I was staring at
your son because of my surprise at seeing him here,
for I have an appointment with him tomorrow..........in