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If You See Kay: January, 2012

By Kay Cardwell

The Viet Nam Vets come through again. Pop from Spokane saw my request for information about where I may get a heat shield to match my Heritage leather and to protect my thighs in slow traffic. He was at a Vet meeting in San Diego and saw a bike in the parking lot equipped with such a shield. He left a note on the bike and that is how he got in contact with Prof from Pasadena. Pop later called me and with Prof’s permission gave me Prof’s phone number. I called, and Prof hooked me up with a website for the shield. These are a couple of really nice guys, and I owe them both a million thanks… I was shocked when Colleen Ferrigan in Santa Cruz sent me her riding resolution for 2012. It can be summed up with: You have to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. Here is what Colleen sent me: “OK! I’m 84 years old—time to stop the nonsense and give up my Harley. Every woman who rides will understand how hard that will be! There goes that identity and the self-esteem that goes with being a woman on a motorcycle—especially one my age. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by a growly, greasy, gorgeous bike going by. Of course, a lot of them were ridden by the bad boys of the neighborhood. But one huge red Indian was ridden by a small, sturdy woman! Vera Miller, my best friend’s mother. Somewhat later, after marriage, family, nursing career and retirement, it occurred to me that since no one had ever offered me a ride on the back of his Harley, it was doubtful anyone ever would. An idea grew that there was another way. Ride one of my own! One thing led to another, and at the grand opening by the new owner of Santa Cruz Harley dealership, I put a deposit down on a Sportster Hugger 883. That was only the beginning. Then came the Safety Foundation course where I met Penny; attending my first H.O.G. meeting where a little blonde named Kay (yes, her!) said she would ride with me. Never mind conquering that abject terror! Then came the day when I told my husband about my new hobby! O-M-G! After he started speaking to me again, it was, ‘You’re 68 years old! What do you want with a (blank-blank) motorcycle?’ Well, then he was so shocked, he began calling our children, our priest and his cardiologist to tell on me. One of my sons called and said, ‘Ma, you’re driving Dad crazy. You are going to put on a sidecar.’ He took the bike to his place in Clovis where I could practice away from home. A few months later, sidecar and all, I rode my rig home—well, to Penny’s garage. Once he realized that I could ride and come home unscathed, my husband was OK with it in our garage. I’ve met some great people through the H.O.G. group, made some friends for life and done some really great rides. As for the sidecar, it ain’t riding, and with no reverse, you always need to get out to park. I always carry a five-dollar bill in my jacket pocket in case I have to beg for a push. It has happened a time or two, but nobody who helped me has ever accepted the five. Gallantry lives! When my husband passed away six years ago, a few of my H.O.G. friends rode into his funeral. I’ll always treasure that small kindness. It was about that time I decided to buy a Dyna Low Rider. I put a deposit on a 2006 and started to wait. But, one day, my son in Clovis rode in on his 2004, put the sidecar on it and handed me the keys and pink slip to my new bike. Now that is one supremely wonderful motorcycle! The Sportster went to my grandson who has butchered it up out of all recognition and races it. I still ride with my local son with his girlfriend in the sidecar. In the summer of 2010, I developed some heart trouble. My H.O.G. group wanted to do a run over the Golden Gate Bridge for me. I was afraid my cardiologist would object. (The same one my husband complained to about me before.) However, after I underwent a cardiac procedure, he gave me a free pass to go and, damn, my H.O.G. buddies gave me a day I will never forget! In case you think I am some selfish bitch for giving my husband such a hard time about the bike, consider that we were married for 57 years, and I was his nurse for his last seven years. My Harley sustained me through his declining years and after his death as well. So, as I mentioned before, it’s time, and I’m close to being ready to give it up. Unless someone can give me a good argument against it.”… Happy birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in January. Happy birthday to IHR members Lorie Linderman in Shingle Springs; Will Long in Pocatello, Idaho; Mardi Moore in Boulder Creek; Cathy Young in Santa Cruz; and Diana Visage in Medford, Oregon. In San Jose, happy birthday to Gary Cook and Peggy Harrington; in Nevada, to Mark Johnson and Sharon Land; in Santa Cruz, to Rich Larson and Michael Zaballos; to Denise R. Peets in Long Beach, Elvira Nevarez in Woodland, Bill Katen in Sacramento, and Roger Gilbert, managing partner of Monterey Bay Harley-Davidson.

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