Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kudzu Memories and Honeysuckle Flashbacks

This weekend was a full one, which was welcome after a week of unpacking and job hunting. I spent last weekend reconnecting with my daughter, and tried to settle in during the week. Then Friday brought a back to school dance with my wee princess (her first; cue the “awwws”).

Suzi in her new home.
Saturday, I got together with literally my oldest friend in the world. We were born a day apart, and until his family moved away when we were thirteen, we lived two houses from each other. Even though we had no contact other than a phone call or two over the following decades, we led oddly similar lives – both served in the Navy (we found out we missed each other in the Persian Gulf by just a few months), and both became bikers.

Suzi (my trusty 2003 Suzuki SV1000N) needed some parts for repair after being knocked over in a parking lot after a concert, so David offered to show me the local multi-brand dealership on my side of town, as well as some of his hangouts.

We hit Freedom Powersports in McDonough, then headed to a cool biker bar called Motorhead’s. From there, we went to The Grove in Locust Grove. Then we rode over to the American Legion post David belongs to, and I was introduced to his fellow members. From there, we went to Hammer’s in Atlanta, where David’s lovely fiancĂ©, Marjorie tends bar.

Riding along the relaxed, gently winding roads, I found myself thoroughly enjoying all the green. Don’t get me wrong – I love central Texas and the Hill Country, but I love it in spite of its brutal heat and dry, brown climate. Yesterday, once we got away from the suburban sprawl and onto the back roads, we were surrounded on two sides, and sometimes overhead, by actual, by-God-green trees. Of course, they were overgrown with kudzu, but that’s the Southeast for you. Visually, it just added to the green. I sort of went on auto pilot, letting the sight of kudzu and the scent of honeysuckle take my mind back thirty years to my youth here in this region. The fact that August in Atlanta is cooler than August in Austin was also welcome.

On autopilot, my mind wandered back. David and I used to ride our bicycles up and down the little dead-end street we lived on, dreaming of motorcycles, inspired by Ponch and John of the TV show CHiPs, and of course by Fonzie from Happy Days. Yeah, thirty five years ago, we were riding bicycles and dreaming of motorcycles, but this weekend, we were riding motorcycles and reminiscing about bicycles.

We didn’t actually get my parts on Saturday, but Sunday’s trip to Cycle Gear got me started on the needed repairs. I’ll still need to replace the handlebars, and David’s going to help me fabricate a license plate bracket.
David and me.
Both days found us riding into and out of and along the edge of rain showers. Hey, if you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride, right? Although I did point out to him that in a week and a half I’ve gone for four rides, and the only time I got rained on was with him – and that every time I’ve ridden with him, it’s rained. Therefore, he must be to blame, and I just need to start showing up to ride already wearing the rain gear.

After we got the parts, we went to his house and straightened out bent brackets as best we could, removed destroyed pieces and installed the replacements. All in the yard. In the rain. Because apparently we don’t have enough sense to get in out of the rain.

All in all, it was an outstanding weekend: Friday night “date” with my daughter, reintroduction to the land of my childhood, but this time via motorcycle, and also rekindling my oldest friendship (also via motorcycle).

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