My wife and I just came back from a quick trip to the local mall to get something she needed for work (hint: clothes!). While she was doing her thing, I went into the Lucky store. I like the Lucky store for two reasons: 1. Lucky Jeans are just about the only kind I wear, 2. Johnson Motor T-shirts. If I could pick one outfit for the rest of my life that’s what it would be. I have worn suits and ties daily and I don’t do that anymore unless the occasion requires it. I wear khakis and polo shirts to work a lot, and in case I have not mentioned it in the past, I will do so again…I hate polo shirts! And I don’t care much for khakis either. I work a white collar job, but I am blue collar all the way. That is never going to change.
What’s that got to do with Father’s Day, you ask? Well, I’m about to tell you. I was shopping in the Lucky store and the woman waiting on me was showing me a Triumph shirt. I told her that not only did I like the shirt, I rode a Triumph. She went on to tell me she was afraid of motorcycles. I said that if I had any sense I probably would be too but that I was too young to know any better when I first started riding. She then asked me if my father rode…ah, now you see the connection.
I can only remember my dad swinging his leg over a motorcycle once. It belonged to my brother. I was probably about 10 years old then and riding a Honda SL70 that I had pretty much destroyed. I know the bike he rode was a Honda. I think it was a 305 Scrambler from the 60s because I remember he had one once and I have lusted for one ever since. I still want one. Dad rode it in the field about 20 feet, tried to turn around and subsequently dropped it on its side. That was the extent of his riding career. I’ve dropped my share of bike over the course of my life, but like a fool, I just kept picking them up and going on.
My father died several years ago at age 70. From the time I was young until the day he died, Pop was my hero. He taught me a lot. He gave me some of the best experiences of my life: walking the woods in Brown County, IN and fishing in Canada. He taught me how to shoot a gun, how to camp, how to laugh at yourself and how to forgive. He taught me to think of others, to serve others and, above all, to be humble. He and mom also introduced me to the world of motorcycles at the age of 7. It stuck. It has become, not only a defining part of my life, but one of the most important experiences ever. Motorcycle riding has allowed me to see places I would never have seen, to experience the world and the road in a different measure. It allows me a place to think, to pray, to cry and to scream. I have planned and schemed on motorcycles. I have dismissed stress and got my head on straight while riding. I can imagine life without many things…not without motorcycles. They are that important to me and I owe it all to Pop.
Happy Father’s Day