While visiting with my parents over the weekend, my dad who is now 70 told me a story about himself that I’d never heard before. As the two of us sat sipping sodas at my parent’s kitchen table, he told me of how he’d come to get his first motorcycle when he was just a young man in high school.
One day after returning home from school, my Gramma said to him, Butch, why don’t you come on with us? We’re gonna run on over to so-and-so’s place for a minute.
Okay, ma, he said and bounded up the stairs to change out of his good school duds.
In less than five minutes he was back down the stairs and they were on their way.
When they’d arrived, parked outside sat this gorgeous, black Harley Davidson. It glistened with chrome, he said. I could hear the deliciousness of memory in his voice as he spoke of it like a first love.
Well, Butch? What do you think of that? my Gramma asked.
Oh, Mama, it’s beautiful, he said.
Well… It’s yours, she said to him.
At a time in our country’s history when people just weren’t frivolous, my dad’s first motorcycle was a surprise from his mother. This gift went on to shape a young man’s life, carrying him on his own adventures through sun and rain, through the wind and under the stars. This moment in time lit the torch that was ultimately passed on to me and one day maybe to my daughter.
After the initial surprise simmered down, not yet knowing how to ride my pop quietly asked the man whom they bought it from if he would ride him home on the back of it, which he did. And let me tell you, the way that the 50+ year old memory of that first ride home on the back of his new motorcycle sounded in my dad’s raspy voice, it almost felt like we were watching it in a black and white movie that he knew the secret happy ending to. I could tell that he still had the power to relish that long ago moment in time.