Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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August 2013

        “Pull my finger!”

    My granddaughter Anna asked me to do this a few weeks ago, and when I did, nothing happened. She’s five years old and didn’t quite get that something is supposed to happen after you ask someone to do I explained it, and volunteered to show her.

    “Now, pull MY finger.”
        “.........GRANDPA! That’s disgusting!
    “Well, YOU started it!”

    Lately I find that some of my most rewarding (and funnest) conversations are held with my granddaughters. Your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances may sooner or later become boring and predictable, but ya just never know what will come from a little kid.

    Both of the girls are young enough that they haven’t adopted very many social graces, nor have they begun the posturing that seems to be so important when kids (particularly girls) enter their teenage years. They just don’t know what is supposed to be “cool” and what isn’t yet. THAT horrible time will come later: That time when they have to start paying attention to whatever is expected of them by their girlfriends because being ostracized and left out of everything (all the socially “cool” stuff) would be so damned painful, and could actually be life-altering during puberty and adolescence in general. Yet at the same time I hope that they’ll learn that being “cool” isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, and that they’ll develop individual strength of character and integrity.

    They’ll also have to become aware (hopefully) that boys are different animals, and an entirely different set of rules applies to dealing with them. Youth can be such a confusing time!

    Speaking of boys; I also have two grandsons, and they’re fun kids too. But they live farther away from me and I rarely see them. And little girls are just so damned cute and adorable! I usually just wanna “buddy up” with the boys when I see them....not adore ‘em.

    When I was a young boy, it was the 1950’s. For me it was an “Ozzie and Harriet” – “Leave It to Beaver” kinda time. The neighborhood I lived in was working-class, with a few vacant lots here and there where we could play ball. There were deserted, “haunted” houses that scared the hell outta us when we walked by. And there were even woods (ten or twenty undeveloped acres) in which we built tree-huts. Often we’d “gear up” and go on exciting camping expeditions into those deep, dark and mysterious woods.

    On these journeys into the wilderness (a few blocks from home), we could pitch a tent made out of some clothesline and a big piece of canvas (which is what just about all tarps were made out of back then). In front of the tent we’d build a campfire on which we would burn hot dogs on sticks and heat-up pork and beans in a can. Nobody but the “rich” kids had actual “store-bought” camping gear. But most of us had all kinds of “stuff” lent to us by our fathers, who were often veterans of WWII or Korea, which they brought home with them from the wars. Or, it might have been inexpensive, obsolete military-issue “stuff” that they purchased at the local “Army-Navy” store for family outings. Stuff like: Canteens, ruck sacks (army back-packs), and bulky, musty-smelling GI (General Issue) sleeping bags. Ammo-belts could hold all kinds of interesting little things, like harmonicas, candy bars, gum, and penny candy (which actually cost a penny) that we bought at a “mom and pop” corner store up the street named “Vick’s”.

    Those little ammunition pockets also held Zippo lighters we stole from our fathers, or wooden matches we snatched from the box on our mother’s kitchen stoves that we needed to start the camp-fires....and for lighting an occasional stolen cigarette. I guess in fact many of us began lives of crime by stealing to support our developing habits and fascinations. But back then our developing habit was only nicotine, and our main fascination was fire, neither of which our parents would allow us to have anything to do with. Another fascination was girls of course, but only because we thought they were so weird. Oh, how simple things used to be.

    The only actual store-bought camping item I ever saw back then was one of those Coleman lanterns someone had that required special fuel and had a fire-screen that made a loud hissing noise when it burned.

    Stephen King and I are about the same age, and HE wrote a story (a novella called “The Body”) which was turned into the movie, “Stand by Me”. I can SO relate to just about everything in it, and it describes very well what it was like to grow up in a small town in the fifties.

    Nowadays, when I tell my friends I’m going camping, what I really mean is that I’m going to an overnight party of some kind, like a swap-meet, or some other kind of bike event, and that I’m sleeping outside. And for that (as I’ve gotten older), I require things like an inflatable mattress, a pillow, a giant cooler, a shaving kit, a carton of smokes, much more food than a can of pork and beans, a guitar, a radio, a bottle of Yukon...and the list can go on and on. In fact, I rarely ride the scoot to an event like this (now that I’ve spoiled myself) just because I gotta drive my Blazer to haul all this shit. That....and I’m too damned lazy to pitch or break-down a tent, which all works out fine because once I say hello to “Mr. Yukon Jack” (which is rare these days) I’m not riding or driving anywhere anyway. Riding is riding, and partying is not.

    Speaking of partying; I had my second annual “ABATE Appreciation Party” here at my home the other night (July 26th) and everyone had a blast!

    Every time I have a party these days, I get so frustrated because so MANY people seem to be unable to commit and confirm whether they’re coming or not (for stocking food and drink purposes). It seems that when we were younger, somebody would say, “Hey, let’s do this or that” and immediately ya knew if you could do it or not. Nowadays it doesn’t work that way with most people. And many who DO confirm that they’re coming don’t show up anyway. A lot who said they were definitely gonna be here, weren’t. So I tell myself, “OK. This is the last one.” Then I get a crowd of great folks like this one did, many of whom I thought weren’t coming, and I realize what a fun time having a party with really good people is. So, I’m sure I’ll be having one again next year.

    And for those of you who came, don’t worry....whatever happens at Bummer’s STAYS at Bummer’s, (including the six people who spent the night and the pink bikini I found wedged in my pool skimmer the next day LOL!) Hell, I might even have a Halloween party this year. I haven’t had one for a while!

    Before I sign off for this month, don’t forget that the national (and INTERnational) “Meeting of the Minds” put on by the MRF will be held here in Ohio this year, and it will be hosted by us (ABATE of Ohio). Motorcyclists’ rights folks from all over the world will be here to share and discuss strategy. Call 330 360 7752 or 800 BIKER for more. Hope to see you there.....

                        Now, go for a ride,

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