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Life’s Coloring Book

We old codgers need naps. Heck, when one gets up every morning at five o’clock to welcome the little grandkiddies in for a long day of babysitting, you’d need a nap too. Well, recently, as Walzie was off in a turkey hunting dream, and I’m sure I was off in some exotic land wearing a grass skirt and a coconut bra doing the Hula for some hunky pool boy, we were abruptly awakened by a loud buzzing sound shooting past our bedroom window. I jumped up, threw up the shade, and caught a glimpse of the neighbor boy on his new motorcycle as he disappeared off in a cloud of dust.
“Oh my,” I said to Walzie as he squinted through one eye, “Michael got a motorcycle.”
“Golly, that scares me to death,” he moaned, sounding like the boy’s mother.
Walzie is obviously not a huge motorcycle fan. Several years ago, his brother married a motorcycle mama on a Harley – yes, they got married sitting on their matching Harley Davidson Sportster’s and yes, she was well schooled in the ways of being a biker’s mama – tattoos, leathers, chains, dangling cigarette, the whole shebang. Shortly after the Harley honeymoon complete with Hell’s Angels and all, Don brought her to meet us – on their Harley’s of course.
“Hey, big brother, you wanna ride my bike?” Don asked.
I knew Walzie’s heart was pounding. But not wanting to look wimpy in his brother’s eyes (and the mama’s) he straddled the Harley and stomped on the kick starter. The bike roared with that distinctive Harley rumble. He slipped it in gear, twisted the throttle, the bike leaped onto its back wheel, and Walzie did a wheelie from here to eternity. Okay, eternity might be exaggerating a bit, from here to the red briar patch across the yard.
“Don’t scratch my bike,” the brother shouted.
“Do you want me to show you how to ride that thing?” Mama smugly offered.
“Just get me the #@$$ outta here,” resonated from the briar patch. “I’m not Briar Rabbit, you know!”
Walzie looked like the loser in a cat fight. From that time on he was not a fan of motorcycles.
As for me, yeah, I went through the motorcycle phase, too. My first husband loved his Harley. (Yes, there was a husband number one back when I was young and knew everything, but we won’t go there.) We spent our summers in Port Matilda at the motorcycle scramble races. Looking back, I don’t think it was the bikes so much as the bikers that infatuated me (but we better not go there either). Anyway, my mother always referred to motorcycles as “darned old killer machines”. I’d grin at her and then plop my behind on the back of that Harley and ride off into the sunset with my Peter Fonda. Until the day that Harley slid from under us on a patch of hot tar, and I tumbled a hundred feet down the highway in front of Peters’ Grocery Store while on our way to the Lion’s Inn for a Belly Buster. Believe me, I left a lot of skin on that blacktop and carried painful road rash around for several weeks. (Never did get that Belly Buster, got a butt buster instead.) Since then, I’ve always been a little leery of motorcycles, too.  Guess I didn’t make a very good motorcycle mama. (Whew! Glad I outgrew that phase!)
Just a few summers ago, our son, Jason, sprung it on us that he was buying a crotch rocket. Yes, this is the son with the three little boys and a whole wagonload of responsibilities. Oh yeah, it’s a gas saving thing, he proclaimed. Maybe so, but it scared us to death. A few months later, he showed up at a birthday party with his arm in a sling and road rash all over (you see, Jason wasn’t aware that I knew all about road rash).
“What the #$@% happened to you?” his dad questioned anxiously.
“Nuttin!”
“Come on, Jason,” Walzie said. “Don’t even try to lie out of it. It was that darned old killer machine, wasn’t it?”
I was hearing my mother all over again.
“Well, you should see the stupid dog,” Jason surmised. Shortly after he repaired the bike, we saw the ad in the Bargain Sheet. The crotch rocket was sold. Whew!
So now you see when every time the neighbor busses past our window on his motorcycle, Walzie and I cringe. Michael waves and Walzie shouts, “be careful, Michael, stay clear of dogs, hot tar, and red briars.”