Thursday, September 2, 2010

Under the Street Light

I could see him standing there under the street light. Simply standing there he looks cool. That is how I want to look one day. I sense something about him that I can’t readily explain. It’s like he knows something other people don’t. I can see he’s young, not old like my Dad. Maybe he’s twenty but I can’t really be sure. He wears his jet black slicked back in a DA. He always wears dungarees with the cuffs rolled up and his white t-shirts are so tight it shows off all his muscles. The best part about the way he looks is that black leather jacket he wears. It makes him look tough especially with the dark shades he wears. Funny even from this distance I can tell that he’s a good guy, although I know other people don’t think so.

I have a different vantage point from most people. From up here I’d say he was tall although I can’t be certain. You see my bedroom looks down onto the street corner. It’s how I watch the world go by because I can’t go out anymore. I’m ten almost eleven and I’m sick, although my parents try not to worry me. I don’t go to school like the other kids because the doctors say I’m too weak. Mostly I stay here in my room now but I don’t mind too much. From my window I can watch the other kids play stick-ball in the street. Sometimes they play tag or hide and seek. Sometimes I wish I was down there. It looks like so much fun. I hope one day that maybe I’ll get to play with them. Sometimes I waive but they don’t waive back. I guess that’s because they don’t know me.

I like my room it’s much better than when I was in the hospital. I have lots of books and puzzles and things to play with. It keeps me busy and helps me to not think about being sick. I have rocket ships on the walls and sometimes I pretend I can go into space. I know I’m gonna get better; even if the doctors don’t know. I can’t explain it really it’s more like a feeling and I tell my Mom that all the time. Sometimes I know it makes her cry because I’m sick. I don’t want her to cry. I want her to believe like I do that I will get better. Mostly I want her to believe me.

When I was younger I wanted to be a cowboy, like the Lone Ranger. Of course I finally realized that I don’t know how to ride a horse. Besides we live in the city so I took that off my list. Then I decided that I wanted to be an airplane pilot, like the ones I see flying by from my window. I think it would be cool flying around in the clouds all day. My Dad he’s an accountant, what ever that is. I know he wants me to be like him, even if I don’t. It doesn’t sound very exciting and besides he never looks very happy until he’s had his first martini. I also thought that maybe I’d be a baseball player when I got better. You know like Babe Ruth. Then I could invite all the kids from the neighborhood to watch my games. Later I realized that when I’m grown up they will be grown up too so I changed my mind again.

I like fire trucks and firemen because they are brave and they help people. Although my Mom says the job is very dangerous. She says it’s much too dangerous for me but I liked the idea for a long time. I could picture myself saving pretty girls but that was until he came along. He is the man under the street light. I watch people move out of his way because they are not too sure about him. I like the way he walks with a swagger and how he always wolf whistles at the pretty girls as they walk by. Sometimes I can hear the girls giggle as they walk past him. My Dad says he’s a hoodlum, someone who should not to be trusted but I think he’s wrong. From what I can see he’s just different and that scares people. I know that first hand. That’s why the kids won’t waive to me because they know I’m different too.

As I watch I’ve decided that maybe people are just scared of that motorcycle he fusses over all the time. I can’t imagine why because she sure is a beauty. She’s painted black with lots of shiny chrome. He spends a lot of time polishing her making certain she looks her best. I heard my Mom talking one day she was wondering if he’s dangerous, but I know he’s not. He’s new here. He just moved in and no one knows too much about him. People are nosy like that and make judgments before they know the facts at least that’s how I see things. He doesn’t seem to have a car; he just goes everywhere on that bike. I wish I could. I like to watch him as he rides away to wherever he’s going. He looks like, oh I don’t know, he just looks cool. That’s how I want to look one day. My hair is too short now to slick back like his but I’m gonna let it grow; if my Mom will let me. I practiced rolling my pant legs up like his but it doesn’t look the same on me at least not yet especially since I can’t stand since the polio.

I like to watch the way the girls look at him as they repeatedly walk by. I don’t think they realize that he’s on to them; as they giggle and twitter like birds as they pass. I notice they always look their best, fussing with their hair, hoping he’s noticing them. Of course he does but he plays it cool pretending that he’s barely aware they are alive. I wonder which one he like’s? Although I think the girl with the blond ponytail wearing that bright red poodle skirt is really pretty. She reminds me of my Mom.

He left in a hurry the other day as he roared past my window. I wish I knew where he was going but I can only imagine. So I like to picture him riding down a long country road with that pretty blond in tow. I can hear them laughing over the roar of the bikes engine and I can see how happy they both are. Of course I don’t really know that much about him. I sure wish I knew his name or something. What I do know for sure is he seeing me sitting here in the window. He always gives me a nod like we’re old friends. So I started waiving to him. Now he always waives back especially when the other kids are around. I know they see him waive but he doesn’t even look at them.

I bet they’re jealous. One day I saw them all hanging around his bike. They were gawking and pretending they were riding it; until he came out he chased them off. They all ran like scaredy cats and I wondered what he said to them. After that none of them ever go near his bike. I wish I could go down there and look at her up close. She sure is a beauty. Then one day I saw him stop and talk to my Mom. It wasn’t a long conversation but when my Mom walked away she was smiling. I realized she looked at him differently after that. I wanted to know what he said but I was afraid to ask although I didn’t know why.

My Grandma Gene, she is Dads Mom. She is what people referred to as a character. She and I are buddies besides being related at least that’s what she always says. She would talk to me for hours recounting her adventures of when she was a young WAC. She traveled all over the world and went to many exotic places. I love listening to her because she’s so interesting. I finally told her my secret which is that I want to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I want to be like my friend when I grew up and she didn’t laugh at me like other people might. She never told me that I couldn’t do that or anything else I wanted to do. Not like other people who thought I would never be able to do much. Not after the polio anyway. Except my Grandma Gene, she said those people were all wet and I shouldn’t listen.

Both my Mother and my Father thought Grandma Gene encouraged me far too much with her wild adventure stories. They were afraid I’d believe that I could do those things. They just didn’t want me to be hurt or disappointed. I told Grandma Gene about my friend with the motorcycle and how I loved it when I watched him ride her. I told her how free I thought he must feel. I wanted to know what that felt like especially since my legs stopped working. Now my world consisted of my room, my toys, my books and of course my window. I understood my parents meant well but they were worried all the time. I noticed they didn’t laugh much and they never ever pretended like Grandma Gene and I did.

One time after reading the “War of the Worlds” to me we pretended to be aliens and that we were going to invade my parent’s house. You see Grandma Gene is cool. Neither of my parents would ever pretend to be an alien that’s why I love her so much. Besides she is part of the reason that I push myself everyday to try and stand on my own. I can’t tell anyone because they would try to make me stop. I heard the doctors say that I would never walk again but deep down inside I know he’s wrong. So everyday I push myself to do a little more, to stand a little longer and its working. I can feel my legs getting stronger but I can’t tell anyone at least not yet.

Today when I was looking out the window I saw him. My friend was talking to another guy who looked a lot like him. He had a bike too and a leather jacket and he wore his hair slicked back. He had a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his t-shirt but I can see he’s smaller than my friend. Just then my friend spotted me and he waived to me. His friend turned and waived too. Wow! I thought two cool guys like that waived to me. It made me feel great, like I was somebody. Well somebody other than just some sick kid.

His friends bike was turquoise blue and cream it was pretty I guess. But it was nowhere near as cool as the black Harley, she’s simply beautiful. I think that bike was what formed my preference for black. I even tried to talk my Dad into buying the black Chevrolet in the showroom; instead of the plain white boring one he bought. Even at ten I understood that my Dad was never going to be cool. It was sad I think but no matter what I’m not going to turn out like that. Being sick isn’t cool so when I’m better it will be my turn to be the coolest. Then maybe it will rub off on my Dad but I doubt it.

Later I watched as the pair of them rode off down our street. I just love the fact that even after I can’t see them anymore I can still hear them. I wondered where they were going. What they were gonna do when they got there? I wish I could ride along with them but maybe someday. I saw that pretty girl with the long ponytail walk by about ten minutes after he left. I could see by the look on her face that she was real disappointed that he wasn’t there. I can tell she really likes him. I wonder if he knows.

My Mom carries me like a baby to the car. I don’t like it. I want a wheel chair so I can move around more on my own but so far no one has listened. When we pulled out onto the street there he was inches from the car. His face broke into a big smile as he continued towards us. My Mom stayed put as I rolled down my window. “Hey buddy” he said still wearing that big smile I hadn’t seen before. “Hello” I said sounding more timid than I’d intended. “I’m Johnny. My friends call me Johnny Rocket because my bikes so fast. What’s your name kid?” he asked. “Timmy” I tripped and stammered out my own name. “So you like my bike?” he asked already knowing the answer. I nodded eagerly. “Well little buddy maybe your Mom and Dad will let me take you for a spin one day. Would you like that?” he asked.

Me I nearly exploded from the mere thought of going for a ride on his bike. I was nodding my head like the little dog figurine in the back of Mr. Olsen’s car. “Can I Mom can I? I head myself asking in an almost whinny tone that I wasn’t proud of. “That’s very nice of you” I heard my Mom saying. However then she said she would need to talk it over with my Dad and I felt my heart beginning to sink. Just then Johnny spoke up real polite like. Mrs. Williams I will be extra careful with my little buddy here on board and I’d be happy to talk to your husband if you think that might help”. I was stunned I had a chance to have a real adventure of my very own for the first time in my life. There were butterflies doing cartwheels in my stomach. They just couldn’t say no yet deep down I understood that they most likely would.

Something in the way my Mom was looking at me told me that she was on my side on this one. She politely thanked Johnny before we drove away. My head was spinning with all the possibilities and the shear excitement of it all. Now I knew how grownups felt when they drank martinis. I was drunk on the moment. I couldn’t wait to tell Grandma Gene. My doctor visit went OK I guess. It bugged me because they never talked in front of me and I was the one who was sick not them. Yet even that couldn’t dampen my mood. I asked my Mom to stop at the library to pick up a book on Harley Davidson motorcycles. I couldn’t wait but sadly she returned empty handed and my heart sank once again. The Liberian said there weren’t any; at least none that she knew of. She suggested I go to a place where they sell them. Adding they might have something you could read there.

In the car my Mom told me what she perceived to be good news. It seems the Doctor thinks I might actually be getting stronger. He has suggested physical therapy. At ten I really had no idea what physical therapy meant but since my Mom seemed so pleased by the news, so was I.

At that moment I had no idea of the months of torture I would be required to endure at the hands of a heavy set German lady named Inga Rinker. Later I would be grateful to her and her skills. Yet at ten heading into another long hot summer, physical therapy was not on my list of things to be grateful for. After my first one hour session with Inga who banished my Mother for the full hour of the session I was alone and afraid. At first it was the unknown that frightened me. Later it was because Inga was brutal and not very friendly. This massive woman was apparently oblivious to the fears real or imagined of a ten year old boy.

I never did get the book on Harley Davidson motorcycles but that didn’t quell my interest. I saw Johnny Rocket nearly everyday from my window and he always stopped to waive to me. It was right after my third therapy session that my Mom knocked softly on my bedroom door before she quietly opened it. Popping her head inside she told me I had a visitor. Now I thought it was my Grandma Gene since I had told her on the phone how mean Inga was and that Mom didn’t seem to care. However I soon found out that I was wrong. My visitor was none other than the cool guy from under the street light, Johnny Rocket in the flesh right here in my very own room.

“Hey little buddy” he said smiling down at me as I lay exhausted, prone on my Buck Rodgers blanket. “Hi” was all I could manage. He wandered around my room looking at all my treasures remarking here and there on the coolness of a particular item. He was really impressed with the mobile of the planets that my Dad helped me build a few years ago. It had turned out much better than either of us had expected and I was very proud of it. So was my Dad now that I think about it. We made small talk for about an hour. During that time I learned that his bike was a 1958, Panhead with a 74 cubic inch motor, and a four speed transmission. It was called a Dou Glide. I loved hearing about the variety of statistics about the different Harley motorcycles. During his visit he promised to return bringing me pictures of the different bikes so I could learn about them.

True to his word a week later he brought a stack of pictures all showing different bikes. He wrote the year and motor style, model and color on the back so I could test myself. It was fun, something like flash cards only much cooler. It was heading into July and I knew that meant the fourth of July was on its way. It is one of my very favorite times of year. Grandma Gene always comes to stay with us for a few days. We watch the parade and barbecue then watch the beautiful fireworks. I felt the same way every year, excited very excited. I loved watching the parade as it wound its way threw the center of town. I loved the people on horseback and the marching bands I think they are my favorites. This year would turn out to be more special than I could ever know.

I worked hard at memorizing the different bikes and the motor styles and sizes. I became pretty good at it too. I wanted to impress my friend. I would spot one as Mom was driving and tell her all about it. My knowledge seemed to make her smile. There was just one more day until Grandma Gene arrived and I couldn’t wait even if I did have to endure another physical therapy session with the evil Inga Rinker. I just wanted to get it over with. Inga worked the muscles in my legs until I cried like a baby. Then she would smile at me before letting me sit in the whirl pool. I liked that part not that I would let her know that. Mom had to remain outside per Inga’s rules. I guess she didn’t want her to hear me screaming. Finally the hour was over and I could go home, thank goodness. Inga spoke with my Mom for a few minutes then at last we were on our way.

Tonight when Grandma Gene arrived we would go out to dinner to her favorite Italian restaurant which was just around the corner. She and I loved their meatballs and the smell of the soft warm bread they baked. I think Mom and Dad liked the atmosphere mostly because it was decorated like some old Italian villa like they had seen in Italy on their honeymoon. Every time we went there they looked at one another a little differently I noticed. Mr. Frangese the owner was short stout man, who talked extremely loud but was really friendly. He always remembered everyone’s names including mine. Mom ordered a bottle of Chianti and let me taste it. Yuck, I thought trying hard not to make a face. I felt very grown up being allowed to taste the wine. Across the room I spotted Johnny Rocket and he was with the pretty blond with the ponytail. Looks like I was right after all I remembered thinking. She was all dressed up and he had on a dress shirt and slacks. Then before I realized what was happening Johnny was standing beside our table.

“Hey there Timmy” he said all cool like. Of course I thought everything he did was cool. “Whose the pretty girl beside you?” he joked asking about Grandma Gene. I introduced Johnny to my Grandma then he introduced him self to my Dad. Then he introduced Linda to everyone. Linda what a pretty name I thought looking up at her dreamily. It was in that moment that the next question asked snapped my head out of the clouds. I heard Johnny asking my Dad’s permission to allow me to ride with him in the Fourth of July Parade. What? Could I have possibly have heard that right? No, oh gosh. Maybe I’m going nuts, I thought. Then right there before my very eyes a miracle of sorts happened. It happened right there in “The Villa” restaurant. My Dad stood up and shook Johnny Rockets hand all while he was saying yes he would allow me to go. I nearly passed out.

Thankfully Grandma Gene was holding my hand so tightly helping me maintain a grip on consciousness. “Is that cool with you little buddy?” Johnny looked at me and asked. Of course I tripped all over myself answering and we all laughed. My head was swimming as my giant meatball arrived. I could barely eat because I was so excited. My heart was pounding in my chest and all at once I felt flush. I kept looking across the table at my very uncool accountant Dad. I loved him so much yet I was still unable to believe he’d said yes. Of course he had and I would forever be grateful. Grandma Gene made a toast and I took another sip of the rich red wine. Funny this time the wine tasted a little better, not a lot, but a little.

It was nearly impossible for me to sleep. My imagination was running away with me as I played out one scenario after another in my head. At that moment all I knew or cared about was that I Timmy James Green was going to ride with the coolest guy in town in the Fourth of July Parade on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. With all the possibilities swirling around in my head I finally fell asleep. In my dreams I pictured the other kids from the neighborhood watching in amazement as I rode past them. I could see the confused expressions on their faces that quickly turned to envy. That’s right I am a lucky kid bum legs and all.

The Forth of July finally came and with it came the awful uncertainty of the “what if’s”. What if he didn’t show up? What if I couldn’t hold on and I fell off? Crazy things one after another until the doorbell finally chimed around ten am. Grandma Gene opened the door to find Johnny Rocket standing tall looking so cool in his leather jacket and slicked back hair. He wore a big smile as one hand remained behind his back. “Hey Timmy are you about ready to make like the wind and blow?” he asked looking directly at me. My Mom and Dad had entered the room and I could see the worry on both their faces. I guess Johnny could too.

His hand appeared from behind his back and in it was another leather jacket. Only this one was much smaller. My eyes must have been the size of saucers. “For me?” I asked lamely. He walked towards me as if he were sizing me up. “Yup that ought to fit you like a glove” he said as he handed me the jacket. I had taken care to borrow some of my Dad’s hair stuff and had tried to slick my hair back something like Johnny’s just a little shorter version. I was surprised when he noticed telling me I was on the right track. Then when I thought nothing in the world could have made this moment any better Grandma Gene produced a smaller but identical pair of black RayBan sunglasses just like Johnny Rockets. Now I could die and go to heaven everything was perfect.

After slipping into the leather jacket and adorning my shades I checked myself out in the entry mirror. Looking back at me was the coolest ten almost eleven years old I had ever seen. Much to my shock and amazement Johnny walked towards me “Ready to split?” he asked as I eagerly nodded my head. He bent down in front of me with his back towards me. “Grab on” he said as if we had done this a thousand times. I wrapped my arms around his neck holding on for all I was worth. He rose slowly as if the weight of me was of little or no concern. He grasped my dangling legs wrapping them around his waist and we were off.

I watched as my Mom wiped away a tear and my Dad swallowed a little too hard. Grandma Gene she was the one wearing the big smile she was genuinely happy for me. I waived as we went out the door and down the front stoop to the curb where that beautiful bike was parked. Along side it was another fifteen bikes their riders all clad in leather. “Wow” I thought I get to be part of this. It truly was the coolest day of my young life. Grandma Gene appeared with her camera capturing the moment on film. I was so excited I just knew everyone could hear my heart beating.

Johnny placed me on the bike which I noticed had been modified slightly. Behind the well padded seat now appeared to have a small padded back rest that he’d added. I leaned against it but my legs dangled lamely on either side of the bike. Inside I began to panic “Oh no what if they got in the way. Besides how dumb would I look with my legs just hanging there like that” I thought horrified. I began to sweat. As I looked down Johnny was strapping my foot to the buddy peg, as he called them. He explained that he’d added the straps telling me that way my legs would stay where they needed to be and no one would be the wiser he said; knowingly giving me a sly wink. I let out the breath I’d been holding so relieved I wouldn’t look like a dork.

In a flash Johnny was on the bike and on the second kick she roared to life. I could feel the raw power of the machine flowing threw me. It was incredible and exhilarating all at the same time. I didn’t think the smile on my face could ever be removed. Johnny told me to grab hold of the straps on his leather jacket up by his shoulders or I could grab onto his waist. I liked the strap idea it seemed manlier; although a few times I did grab his waist for a minute or two when it was a little scary. Mostly I felt fantastic not scared at all in no time I settled in enjoying the ride. To me it seemed magical and for the first time since I got sick I felt free. Better yet Johnny was leading the group so we were riding right in the front. It was great. I could barely contain myself.

Things just continued to get better. First we rode over to the staging area and were told what our position was in the parade. That meant we had roughly forty-five minutes before we would ride out onto the parade route where everyone would see us. They parked the bikes near one of the concession stands that offered beef franks and fresh squeezed lemon aid. Before I realized what was happening one of Johnny’s friends a rather large fellow; who my Mom would refer to as husky stopped next to the bike. In the blink of an eye the big fellow whose nickname I later learned was Tiny whisked me off the seat of the bike lifting me high in the air. He set me gently onto Johnny Rockets broad shoulders. “How’s that sport?” the big man asked but from my smile I guess he already knew.

Johnny walked over to the large group that had ridden with us. The only guy I recognized was the one with the turquoise and cream bike. One by one Johnny introduced me to each of his friends. Most went by nicknames like Skeeter and Tiny, Irish Mike and a guy they called Romeo. Every single one of them talked to me looking me straight in the eyes. That was something actual grown ups rarely do with a kid that is sick or imperfect. They shook my hand and talked to me real regular some even asked what was wrong with my legs. Most people just turn away and comment behind your back but not these guys they were straight forward and I liked that so much better.

We all ate franks with mustard and ice cold lemon aid that tasted delicious. Some of the guys joked back and forth with one another. They were making fun of their own short comings which for me was terribly amusing. I noticed that no one really did that much to Johnny. That was unless they were razzing him about all the speeding tickets he had accumulated over the years. They told me he could wallpaper an entire house with his tickets. Even Johnny laughed at the joke even if he was the butt of it. Then just like that the small guy everyone called Joker hollered that it was time to peel out. Everyone headed to their bikes including me, Tiny and Johnny.

Tiny lifted me off Johnny’s shoulders as easily as he’d put me up there. He did make a joke that I was noticeably heavier since I’d wolfed down two franks and a large lemonade. His remark made everyone laugh including me. Johnny kicked the motor over and like before she started on the second kick. Boy I loved that sound. We rode over to the starting place behind some kooky clowns in a funny little foreign car. The time keeper knew exactly how much time he was to allow between each entrant. We waited for what seemed like an eternity until I finally heard the man tell us to get moving and move we did.

I wasn’t too excited about the first mile or so because I knew everyone from my neighborhood would be further up the parade route. I was smiling and waiving to everyone. Johnny had filled his pockets and mine with hard candy that I could throw to the crowd at my discretion. It was great and I tried to make certain I threw candy to all the little kids as well as a few really pretty girls of which Johnny took notice. He told me I had good taste in bikes and girls, and we both laughed.

As we came closer to where I expected to see the neighborhood kids as well as my Mom and Dad and of course Grandma Gene I could feel the excitement mount. Just a few more feet and there they all were. I waived for all I was worth and threw candy to absolutely everyone I could. I waived and smiled knowing I was having the time of my life. I could see the surprised looks on the faces of the neighborhood kids when they realized it was me on the bike in the parade surrounded by the coolest people ever. The shock and disbelief was almost comical. Billy Martins mouth hung wide open at the sight of me. I hoped a bug would fly in there. I heaved a piece of candy his way but didn’t bother to watch its impact.

I could hear my Mom over all the crowd yelling my name. I waived and gave her a very serious salute then tossed several pieces of candy in her direction. It was so great it’s almost impossible to put into words. My Dad looked well, I don’t know. He looked proud I guess. Maybe now he realized that I could and should do more than sit in my room where they know I’m safe. I hoped at least that was the case. Grandma Gene was waiving the American flag in one hand while holding a very drippy vanilla cone in the other. In spite of all the people her wink was not lost on me. I raised my dark shades and winked right back.

The parade lasted about an hour then everyone headed for the large park in the center of town. My family had for as long as I could remember would picnic there as we waited for sundown when the fireworks show would begin. This year was no exception. My Mom had explained to Johnny more than once exactly where they would be in the park so he could bring me to them after the parade. I asked Johnny what they were going to do after the parade was over. He cocked his head to the side “same as you little man. We are going to BBQ right there in the park while we wait for the fireworks show to start”. I was glad he would be there somewhere near me and that made me happy.

The bikes were parked curbside in one long continuous row. I could see the heads turning as we rode up. Little kids came running from the swings to see the bikes. Officer Taylor made a slow pass giving Johnny a hard look but Johnny ignored him. Tiny came along scooping me up, setting me onto his right shoulder like it was nothing as he continued to walk along. The guy was a bear of a man and strong as an ox according to Johnny. He told me that when Tiny was only seventeen, his neighbor was working under his car. The car fell off the jack stand crushing the man. Tiny heard his screams and came running he single-handedly lifted the car off the man while two other men pulled the man to safety. Yea, I’d say for sure he was strong as an ox.

Tiny, Johnny and I found my parents and Grandma Gene. That moment was bittersweet I was glad to see my family but sad to see my adventure end. Tiny gently placed me on the picnic bench. I thanked Johnny and Tiny and all of them really for making the day so memorable and fun. He shook my hand giving me a quick wink. “You’re a great passenger we can do it again any time you like as long as your folks say its OK.” Then he turned and walked away. Over his shoulder he hollered “See ya later Alligator”. I yelled back “After a while crocodile”. At that moment I knew that was the best day of my life.

It was then that I decided to keep a list of the best days of my life and that was at the top of the list for a very long time. It has always remained on my list one of best days ever. I didn’t know it then but it would later become a very long list. The next best day came when I actually walked across a room for the first time without assistance. That was big still is. After that I wore heavy metal braces for a few years, which of course aren't a part of my best day’s list then or now. Today I’m very lucky no one could ever tell that I didn’t walk for a handful of years. I don’t even limp.

Thanks to Grandma Gene who taught me to follow my dreams and to dream big. I can’t ever thank her enough for that. Well that and the money she left me when she passed away forever leaving her mark on my life. It was with the money she left me that I was able to purchase my very first Harley Davidson motorcycle. Naturally that made my best day ever list and of course it was black with lots of shinny chrome.

I love my Dad but the fact that I am not an accountant goes on my “Best Day Ever List” everyday. Turns out I’m a writer. It seems I have a way with words. After collage I got a job writing for; what else a very popular motorcycle magazine. So everyday I get to go to work writing about what I love; so of course that goes on my best day ever list each and everyday.

Then way up there near the very top of that list is the first day that I had the privilege to ride along side my life long friend Johnny Rocket. Johnny is getting up there now hell so am I when I think about it which I don’t. Since that first ride with him all those years ago; any day that I get to ride with that man makes it onto my best day ever list. I’m a lucky guy. I’ve had a lot of wonderful days on the road since then with my friends riding across the highways of this magnificent United States.

Six Shooter Sally