Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Gift You Can't Wrap

NO! I did not get a Harley for my birthday. I got something better. I got time with my Harley riding father-in-law. If you have been following my posts, you know it was my birthday Nov. 28. I am at the age where I think that life is too short not to have FUN. SERIOUS FUN! So I asked Howard if he would take me for a ride on his Harley. He LOVES to ride. These days he LIVES to ride. And he has so few people to ride with. There's his club of old guys that he rides with, but he would love his family members to join him. So my simple request brought a huge grin to his face. I had made his day. And it wasn't even his birthday.

It was 50*F., yesterday, December 2. The sun was shining, taking the edge off the crisp air. We figured this day would be the balmiest for the month of December and the further we got from my birthday, the less it would seem like a birthday present. Can you imagine planning a motorcycle joy ride in December? That was the POINT! A summery ride would have been fun, enjoyable. This was INVIGORATING, dang it! It was foolish, jumping off of the roof sort of high jinx. And I was niave. I was dressed in layers, but only had jeans on, no long underwear. A scarf bundled my throat and chin, because Howard said my chin would get cold. Do you remember as a kid playing outside in the snow (if you had snow when you were growing up) until you were stiff with cold, chilled to the bone and your wet clothing was threatening to freeze to your body? Remember how your mom would call you to come in because she could see that your lips were blue and your cheeks were chapped with cold and do you also remember your reply? "NO! I don't want to! I'M OKAY!" You were having too much fun. Being cold was just a small inconvenience.
THAT was THIS ride.

Five minutes into the ride down country roads, past open stubbly fields, my pampered middle aged body got shocked with cold as the wind penetrated the gaps around my thick suede gloves and cuffs of my jeans. I was 9 years old again, shushing down the sledding hill in Balduck Park on a wooden sled with no means of steering. Back to my middle aged reality of blasting horizontally through space on the back of a motorcycle, maniacal laughter was bubbling up under my scarf and threatening to spew out. OmyGosh! Was I insane? I was COLD! I was literally breathless as the wind whipped against my face. Then I realized that the visor on my helmet went all of the way down. AH! And then ha ha ha HA! That's SO much better! I could BREATHE again and my face thawed. And then I did laugh. HahahahaHAHAHAhahaHA! At my silliness of not knowing that I had face protection. HahaHA. At the incredible scenery whipping by. HaHA! At the sensation of being cold and enjoying every second of it. HA! At being ALIVE and being blessed with feeling cold and happy at the same time. Howard would reach back and give my hand or leg a squeeze every once in a while to make sure I was okay and I would give his ribs a squeeze to let him know that I was. We drove 28 miles on back roads to a larger small town to eat at Buxton Bar-B-Que. The brisket sandwiches and fries were good, but we were both disappointed that hot coffee wasn't available. Otherwise the day was perfect.

If the ride was cold on the way out, it was down right freezing on the way back with my full belly drawing blood from my extremities to aid digestion. You would think hot food would stoke you like a furnace. NOT! We took I-70 back for a quicker return trip since I had to pick Rebecca up from pre-school at 3:00pm. Driving on the interstate had its own thrills (I felt like we were more vulnerable). Back at my in-law's house, I got off the bike and gave Howard a big hug and kiss. "Same time next year?" I said with a wink in my grin. "Uh, lets try for one in the summer", was the cautious reply.

A few minutes later as I headed to town in my warm, enclosed car, I passed my father-in-law riding his smaller, lighter weight Honda. The one he had me sit on to "try on for size". The cute, cheery red one he would love for me to learn to ride so I could go riding with him. I chuckled. Howard loves riding his bikes too much to let a little winter weather slow him down. And I would happily join him again-- only next time I would plan on having long underwear(! ) And he would bring the coffee!


Cindy Ericsson said...

So fun! That's one way to LIVE every day that you're above ground!

Linda said...

How fun! I'm so glad you did that. But I remember my boyfriend in the early 70's that had one and how scared I was riding across the bridge over the port in Corpus Christi, TX on that thing! I'm a wimp.

Margaret said...

brilliant post, I can feel the cold and your exhilaration from here!! such wonderful memories that will keep you smiling for quite a while (til next time!!)

Donna said...

AWWWW!!!! SO Glad you had FUN!!! Visor and all!!!Hahaa...hughugs