A ride down memory lane

Nothing like the feel of wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth. I tasted that freedom today, on my motorcycle. I fired it up, after a seriously long hibernation period. I haven’t ridden it all summer, I hate to admit. Also, my ride was pretty short. I massaged the throttle, and once it was purring real nice, I drove it out into the front yard.

Letting the bike rumble and snort, I proceeded with my garage cleaning task and then after awhile, tucked it back into it’s corner… Ha. Longest ride of the summer was probably 100 feet round trip.

It was just long enough though, to trigger an old memory. There is something about a motorcycle and the front yard, that I will always be fond of. Not just the yard though. The trip from the yard, down onto a sidewalk, dropping with a squishy comfort of the shocks onto the street, is an old but vivid recollection of mine.

I am sure it started with riding on short trips with my Dad around the block, or around town. I’m not really sure though. He passed away when I was four, and those memories may be too faded to recall. More likely, I was with Ray Steanson, or maybe Rod Harris (?) on a couple trips when I was just a bit older.

I remember the heaviness of my helmet. The G-forces of simple motions on the bike would cause my head to bobble hard one way, then the other. The strap was probably uncomfortably tight and rubbing me raw under my chin.

I was nervous and excited and wanting to ride. I didn’t have a place to put my feet, as I was tucked in between a big adult body and the gas tank. I remember the searing heat of the motor and white hot chrome exhaust. I think at least one time I was wearing shorts and caught a burn on the inner side of my skinny leg.

I cannot tell you where we went. I don’t know how long the ride was. I do know though, that excited feeling I had as we departed the yard. It such a thrill to feel that big machine clunk into gear and begin forward. I loved the smooth bumpy transitions from the grass to the sidewalk, down off the curb, and onto the bricks of Hickory street. Specifically, that memory jumped to mind today.

When I was a kid, there were tons of definite detailed moments, like this one, that would stick in my mind. I know that every time I put on a pair of shoes, the first thing I wanted to do, was to wiggle my toes. I wanted to be able to cross my big toe up and over the next one. If I couldn’t do that, I didn’t like the shoes. Too constricting. My whole body would feel terribly claustrophobic.

Same thing with jeans. A stiff new pair felt like a straitjacket. I loved sweatpants.

There are probably tons of things that mattered to me then, that now I never think about. They were super important to me. A big deal. I wanted to feel those first few feet of the bike ride and then the rest didn’t matter. My shoes had to fit a certain way. I was probably a picky eater about some things too. No mashed potatoes for me… warm mush?? yuck!

Today there are things that matter to me. Big ol’ deals. Tomorrow they may fade to nothings. It does seem to work that way.

Something new in the future will be a big deal, and my issues from today, will be just a memory, maybe a fond one, maybe a sad one.

I do know that remembering these childhood concerns reminds me, that we are in motion. Nothing lasts forever. Even when it seems like it does. It must be God’s grand design; to simultaneously be clearly fixed in a focused position, and yet spinning ever onward into our own future.

God bless you my friends. May your motorbike rides be bouncy, your pants stretchy and may you always have the room to wiggle your toes 🙂

Until next week ~


Aaron Nichols

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