Thursday, June 14, 2007

If you ride a scooter, you might imagine your father having been like this guy above. If he rode, it must've been something. I mean he's your dad, right? We all try to see life being larger than it might have actually been for that wonderous generation before us.

Maybe your dad was a little more like this guy. A little edgy... maybe the type of father you're... more likely to be careful about what you say to him. It could be he's a nice and generous fellow but you question his choice of friends. The one with the glass eye the others seem to protect. The one who likes futuristic cars, a stiff drink and the hourglass figure.

Your dad and his friends might like to sing. Sort of like a barbershop quartet, but not. A barbershop quartet with taste. And "protection". You always wonder but you'll never ask. Truth be known, you don't want to know.

If your dad seems like a wiseguy sometimes, maybe you could say he is. Or was. But its better not to know. Don't follow the rumors. Trust me.

He's a lot older now. Slowed down. But that laugh. How can you stand there with a straight face when the old man cracks one off. His sense of humor is definitely intact. Even if his joints sometimes ache and he's more careful than he used to be. He's still got guts though. At seventy he took up riding motorcycles. The last time he did that, he was in Germany over fifty years ago.

My father arrived here on Valentine's Day 1957. Like millions of immigrants before and after, his first sight was of that fair lady holding the torch by whose light and words the invitation rang out across the world. Just as it does today. He settled in Chicago on the south east side. As was the custom you blend into the society you join. The stories abound although he himself will not give me details. There are some things he might say but they're not connected to anything... if you know what I mean.

So now he's a retired widower with enough to keep himself busy. Volunteer work at the same hospital my wife works at. He likes to make himself little wood and metal projects. A journeyman blacksmith by trade (Grampa ran a very successful horse operation the war had great effect upon) my dad can make things in ways that are hard to describe. I wish he did more of it.

But he seems to be spending time riding. (I wonder where he got that idea from?) Here he is with his '07 Genuine Buddy 125.

Its taken him a long time to learn/come to grips with, some of the basics in riding. Vast improvements have come within the last month or so. Lots of miles and a change in attitude about riding overall. He sees it as fun but I now sense the same seriousness about it in him that I have. A good balance.

My dad is more like the guy in the second picture. How much more I don't want to know. Chicago is far away except for the family get togethers. Most of the guys he knew are moving on, so to speak. I think my father has a kind of freedom they don't. Or didn't...

Its fun to ride with yer old man now and again. Just don't ask... certain questions.



gary said...

Harvey, you are such a lucky man! Your dad can and will ride with you, and that is the coolest thing in the world.

My dad won't, because he is sure he can't. I have to respect that. Instead, once in awhile, we play golf... sigh.

Tell your dad that it was a pleasure to meet him, when I was up there, and I look forward to riding again with both of you.

Ride well,

Bryce said...

If my dad has stories I'd rather not hear, he's kept them pretty quiet. My mom, on the other hand, strikes me as having been a bit of a wild child in her youth.

I'm fortunate that both of my parents ride with me. In fact, they were so pleased to be invited to ride on one of the rides we did at our rally. They really enjoyed riding among 90 other people on 2 wheels.

irondad said...

I was raised by my Grandfather. He was American Indian so it would be fair to say he didn't immigrate here! He was always a horseman and never warmed to motorcycles. He also sang in a barbershop quartet. Now he's gone.

I echo Gary's comment. How cool to still be able to enjoy him as well as ride together. I'd remind you to cherish him while you can but, judging by the tone of your post, you already do!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Thanks Gary, SOmeday we'll have to ride Wisconsin. I miss those roads.

Hi Bryce, my dad only started riding last year. I think he's almost got two thou under his belt.

Thanks Irondad. Much appreciated.


Steve Williams said...

I concur with everyone that you are fortunate to have a riding father. Mine was actively opposed to motorcycles his entire life and I suspect that is why I didn't get one until after he died.

My father-in-law on the other hand is a recent scooter convert and I have the opportunity to ride with him. I hope I am still able to ride like he does at age 70.

I regret now not pushing either of my parents for more stories about growing up.

Great post Harv.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

American Scooterist Blog said...

Steve, thanks for the kind words and I apologize for not being on here more often lately. Yeah, dad is into it. Today he told me his Buddy ran a full one hundred miles in under a gallon of gas. He's riding and loving it.