Born to Be Wild

Bill and I had only been married a couple of years when he approached me.

“Hon,” he said sweetly. “What would you think about me buying a motorcycle?”

This question came out of left field as his questions often do. Not one time had I ever heard him express the desire for a motorcycle. I hadn’t heard any comments as one would speed by us, white-lining between cars.

I gave it a bit of thought before I answered him.

“Well, at the end of the day, I guess it’s your decision,” I started out. “But I will tell you that I really don’t like the idea at all. They seem expensive, and where would we store it?”

Here’s what Bill heard: “Well, at the end of the day, I guess it’s your decision, blah blah blah blah blah. I wonder if he even noticed that my lips were still moving as he began wondering what color he should buy.

The very next day, he showed up with a motorcycle. It was small, but since my head didn’t explode, it wasn’t long before he traded that in for a big Yamaha Roadstar and all of the accoutrements. To be honest, I never regretted the fact that he got a motorcycle. He took motorcycle safety classes right off the bat. He always wore a helmet, though Colorado law doesn’t require a helmet to be worn. He was always cautious and safety-conscious.

Over the years, he put 44,000 miles on that big bike. He traveled the length of Route 66. He took the motorcycle on several trips to visit his mother. He rode up into Upper Michigan with some motorcycle friends (who didn’t have prison tattoos on their backs). He rode it into Yellowstone Park, where he nearly encountered a grizzly bear. He rode to and from California.

In the past years since he was diagnosed, the motorcycle has sat in the front of our garage drawing dust and taking up room. While I know he enjoyed his adventures on his motorcycle, I don’t think giving it up is one of the things that he considers a sad result of the disease. He loved it when he had it and he’s ready to let it go.

So finally, after having talked about it for years, Bill and I drove (in a car) to a place that sells new and used motorcycles. Bill explained his situation, and the man who helped us promised to come on Friday to take a look at the bike. The man himself is 60 years old, and he completely understands how, as one gets older and older, it becomes more and more difficult to manage a two-wheeled monster. Lots of older folks in AZ have three-wheeled motorcycles, but Bill is ready to be done.

Yesterday afternoon after we got back home, I texted our grandson Alastair, asking if he could come by, climb into our garage attic, and bring down his Papa’s motorcycle paraphernalia. He came shortly after, climbed into the attic, and began tossing down all manner of motorcycle and horseback riding accessories. As of now, we have two saddles, various reins and stirrups, three or four motorcycle helmets, raingear for both varieties of transportation, and lots more sitting in our garage. It is piled high, awaiting Mr. or Ms. Got Junk to become one of the many things at which we will point.

If anyone wants, of knows of somebody who wants, motorcycle or horseback riding gear, please let me know. Until then, we will wait for the man who will hand Bill a few bucks and relieve us of the motorcycle, making another big step in our house cleaning.