Monday, November 06, 2006

Motorcycles and Mistakes. . .

The women of my family have a unique relationship with motorcycles. Combine us and a motorcycle and it spells trouble.

When I was 13 my uncle in Enid, Oklahoma owned a motorcycle shop. Flashy Suzuki motorcycles appealed to the wild side of many people and business was booming for him. When we would go to visit my dad’s family in Enid, it usually involved a trip to the shop so my dad could check out what was new.

One visit there, my uncle had a new cycle in and my aunt decided to try to ride it. She was 25 and had never ridden a motorcycle before and got on and things went great, until she got to the stop sign at the corner. She sat there for a minute, waiting for traffic to pass and then she revved the motor up, cranking it a bit too much. The handle bars rose straight up into the air; it was the most fantastic wheelie I have ever seen! My cousins and I applauded and cheered and my uncle and my dad ran out there to her, pulling her hand off the accelerator and set the cycle back down. Wow, it was exciting we thought.

My mom gave it a try later and managed to head straight for the storage building at the side of the shop. Unfortunately for mom, a telephone pole sat about 2 feet from the building. There was no place to go but into the building or between the pole and the building. Logic took over and she headed for the gap!

She made it—almost. Unfortunately there was a large square piece of concrete foundation jutting out from the building. The rear tire clipped it and over the bike and mom went. Luckily neither was hurt too badly, but she never got on one again.

I wasn’t that smart though, as if you didn’t already know that. A year of so later my uncle got a little Honda 100 in for a trade and he and my dad worked out some deal for it. I was ecstatic when it came home with us. Until my dad informed me that since I was only 14, I couldn’t ride it on the street. With all the wisdom and aplomb of a 14 year old I protested my head off. He won the battle and I won’t go into the gory details. It still smarts.

We lived on a corner and had large yards surrounding the house. I could ride it anywhere on our property I wanted, but if he caught me off of it, no more motorcycle!

I agreed, but thought that was so stupid, not to mention an embarrassment. What if my friends saw me riding around the yard like that? What I didn’t realize of course was that they were envious that I even had the cycle to begin with.

I would zoom around the yard, looping from the north side, across the front around to the south side. It was actually pretty far; as I said it was a large yard. Large enough any way that when I went to the south side and rode back, a minute or two had passed. And right in front of me was my dad’s brand new company car that he had just picked up. A ’72 Chevy Malibu, its light blue metallic paint glinting in the sunlight.

There was no time to swerve, but I hit the brakes as hard as I could and at least slowed down a bit. A very little bit. I left a pretty good dent in the driver’s side door, but otherwise I was okay. So was the cycle, to my father’s consternation.

I got grounded from the cycle for a week over that, but trust me, I was back up on it after that, finding new ways to torture and maim myself.

The next incident came when, zooming around from the south yard again I looked up and found that my grandpa had set the sprinkler up to water the trees in the front yard that he had planted a few weeks before that. Not so bad I thought as I went to the left. But somehow I lost control of the cycle and laid it down on its left side. I was still hanging on to the handlebars, and giving it gas. It was digging into the earth, dragging me with it. Over a rose bush.

I had scratches from the top of my thigh to my knee, all on the inside of my thighs. Of course, the skin is the tenderest there!

I was screaming and mom and dad and grandpa came running out there and saw me sitting on the lawn, glaring indignantly at the vivid scratches which were bleeding a good deal. I looked up at them, tears of outrage streaking freely down my face.

The Honda had died when I was no longer giving it gas and I stood up, trying to decide what to do when I looked down and saw bright red drops of blood dripping onto the white paint of the cycle. Instead of kicking the darn thing as I wanted, I picked it up and put it into the garage and silently went into the house to wipe the blood off of my leg.

I was disgraced. I didn’t touch the bike for a whole week.

It wasn’t the last injury I got from it, but that’s another story!

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