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.