Tag: dad

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.


Listening to My Dad While I’m Riding

Listening to My Dad While I’m Riding

It’s been such a strange few months since my Dad passed away. When I’m riding my motorcycle I feel like I can hear his voice much more easily than at any other time. That’s when I feel most open and able to focus on my thoughts. That’s when his voice comes clear as a bell.

I dreamed of him last night. He was the him that existed before he got really sick. In my dream he was helping me fix all sorts of problems that were plaguing the house where I lived in the dream.

I miss him everyday.

“Hi Dad.”

“Boy, am I glad to see you!”

“And I’m glad to see you.”

“How’s that 3-wheeler you got?”

“The Ural? It’s great. “

He was so crazy about that thing. It captured some part of his imagination, I guess.

In the last few months before he died he would say – “I never in a million years imagined you’d turn out this way.” He felt so proud that it was him that sewed the seeds of motorcycle love in me.

I’ll keep riding and keep listening for you, Pop.

Searching for the Normal with a Triumph Tiger

Searching for the Normal with a Triumph Tiger

See this girl?

Fuzzygalore Triumph

She’s pretty happy to be sitting on her Tiger and getting ready to roll into the evening. She… is me.

Wednesday night’s ride on the Tiger was the first one in about 6 weeks. The minute that I swung my leg over it and pressed the start button, I settled into a place that felt like home. There was a sense of normality in the greeting of it’s unmistakable engine note. I didn’t realize just how much I’d been starving for it.

At the risk of bumming you out, I’ve got to say that I’ve been feeling anything but normal. The recent loss of my dad has left an un-fillable hole in my heart. While I’m working towards returning to the me that my dad was proud of ~ I’m wrapped up in feelings of sadness, grief and a sense of guilt. It is a guilt for doing selfish things, for daring to want to be happy. Even though I know that is the very thing he’d want me to be.

When I clicked the bike in to gear and  pulled away I swear that I could hear my dad’s voice rattling around in my helmet, “Hey, Rach!” I guess that is my brain’s way of letting me know that he is still here with me.

I feel like a kook saying it  but it seems like I see signs of him in everything. He was in the unseasonably cool breeze that swirled around me as I stood alone in the parking lot this morning. He was in the lightning that traveled through the clouds as I worked my way through my evening run. He is returned to the Earth and he seems to be everywhere.

While I cut down the road – the Tiger felt so good, so tight, so right. The seat felt firm, the bars were in just the right place. The power stood waiting at the ready and the ease and confidence with which it tipped around corners … normal. THAT was the feeling I’ve been looking for.

With the passage of each mile I unconsciously gave myself permission to just be in that moment. I enjoyed my ride and I felt happy. All of the noise in my head went to sleep. That is one of the most beautiful aspects of riding a motorcycle for me – the moment when it allows you slip into the truest, most open form of yourself.

Motorcycles – they’re good for you.

Fuzzygalore Triumph

Cheers to feeling normal, if just for a little while.

Dear Dad – I Love You. Thank You for Loving Me.

Dear Dad – I Love You. Thank You for Loving Me.

Hi Dad,

No matter how many hours you spend listening to the air moving through a breathing machine, how much you stare at the peaks and valleys that roll across a hospital monitor, how long someone has been sick – you never really believe that one whoosh of air through the tubes will be the last. I know it has been a long and difficult battle and I know that you were tired. But I just can’t believe that you’re gone.

You always smiled sweetly when you told me the story of how I was just a wee girl and you bought me a beach bucket and shovel. When you gave it to me I looked up at you with stars in my eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy! You’re the best daddy I ever had.” Never has that been more true than today.

In just a few hours an irreparable hole has been torn in the fabric of my life. Though I’ve tried to steel myself to eventually face this day, the truth is – you can never really be prepared for this type of finality. I miss knowing you are here in the world. It tears me apart that I will never again hear you say, “boy, am I glad to see you,” and I’ll never again say, “I’m always glad to see you,” in return. You know, the way we always did.

When you last held my hand and touched my cheek, you asked me to say a prayer for you. Well, I want you to know that I did. I prayed for you to have peace, to be without fear, without pain. But I can’t help but be afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll forget what your voice sounds like or that I won’t be able to hear your laugh anymore when I think about you.

Mom told me today that you still carry my kindergarten picture in your wallet. After 35 years in there it has long since faded but she said you still loved it. Even though you’ve always told me that you love me and that you are proud of me, it’s the little things like that make me feel like a million bucks. Underneath that tough, brave, unapologetic exterior you have always been a softy. Thank you for always loving me, no matter what.

I’m really sad that we never did get to take a ride in the Ural together. I know how much you were looking forward to that. If it’s okay with mom, I’d like to ride you to the place where we will spread your ashes. Never in a million years did I think our ride together would turn out this way, but it is all I can do.

“Don’t you let those boys see you cry.” Do you remember when you said that to me? Well, I’m trying, Dad. I’m trying.

I love you. Always.


My Dad <3