Unexpected Ghosts on a Ride for Pie

Unexpected Ghosts on a Ride for Pie

Going for a summer pie ride with friends is a great way to pass the time. One of our favorite spots is the Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue. The Snackbar has been a Long Island staple since the 50’s. Go for the pie, stay for the neon.

We stopped in last night for a slice of apple crumb.

Bellies filled with pie, we stood outside in the parking lot chit-chatting. An older gentleman, probably in his 70s, ambled over toward his van which was parked next to us. He stepped gingerly and leaned on a cane.

We exchanged pleasantries and he just stood there watching. He said to me that he was waiting to hear my bike start up, motioning to the Triumph. I hesitated and changed the subject knowing that whatever he was hoping to hear would be nothing like the purring sound of a sewing machine with a silencer on it that comes from my wee Bonnie.

With that train derailed, we had a short but interesting conversation about his life growing up and riding dirt and then street bikes here on Long Island. He seemed only too happy to talk about his former two-wheeled life. Often when older folks who can no longer ride for whatever reason talk to me about motorcycles, I sense a pang of longing. He had it, too.

When I finally relented and started my bike for him, he paused and said, “you could probably get some pipes for that thing.” A gentlemanly burn.  My explanation of liking a quiet bike seemed lost on him.

As the conversation began to wind down, he opened his van door and stood in the space between it and the cab. As I stepped closer to him so that I could hear what he was saying, I caught the scent of something… familiar. Dad?

My dad left this Earth in July of 2013. I haven’t heard from him since. But every once in a while, something floats in on the breeze and catches on my consciousness like the barb of a dandelion seed and it feels like him.


6 Replies to “Unexpected Ghosts on a Ride for Pie”

  1. Wow. Good story. I get those feelings about my mom at times when in the presence of middle-aged women.

    I was tempted to join you last night but I’d been out to 4:30 a.m. the night before (and later fell asleep on the couch at 6:30 p.m.). Please continue to let us know when you’re out riding; I’m catch up with you sometime.

  2. I don’t know if it’s imaginary born from longing; but there are moments when a sight, a smell, a person will fill me with the overwhelming thought of my Dad too. Wish I could have traveled there faster … I totally would have been “up” for pie last night 🙂

    1. often times i chalk my own experiences up to grief – that is the only “logical” explanation. but the wishful part of me feels these things in a way that has nothing to do with things i manufacture inside of my own head.

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