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Northeast Passages: September, 2017

By Loretta Jackson

Rave reviews came with a recent report to me from road captain Jim Kelly that Big Nick’s Ride for Cape Cod’s Fallen, Saturday and Sunday, July 22–23, was one huge Godzilla of a Massachusetts good time. On Saturday, the second annual “Livin’ the Dream” poker run drew throngs. Saturday evening’s pre-ride party at Cape Cod Irish Village in Yarmouth was also jumping. Sunday’s run honored more than a dozen locals lost in military service since September 11, 2001. Flag-waving supporters cheered along 32 miles from the run that began at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office at Joint Base Cape Cod. Kelly told me, “It was a great ride. We had 1,200 bikes.” The review was underlined by Karen Luby-Drew of Cape Cod Harley’s Hyannis store, one of two on the Cape that are big-time supporters. She said to me on Wednesday, July 26, that, “I threw 700 lollipops to kids along the way.” Info: www.ngxride.com… Now, a more in-depth tale: The discovery last month of so many bikers who also are beekeepers got me to thinking about other stuff we do when we’re out of our leathers and boots. To elaborate: A softball game I passed in Nashua, New Hampshire, was populated with what looked to me like some speedy geezers. But a big blue 2010 Heritage Softail was parked near the dugout. Meet Larry “Lorenzo” Milana, 64, the bike’s owner and a resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, a city with its own dealership, Manchester Harley-Davidson. He’s a member of the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club’s Granite State Chapter. The Signal Corps Army veteran’s tattooed arms glistened with sweat as he played shortstop in a black jersey logoed out with sponsor “Pine Street Eatery” lettered in white. He is one of 122 league players over age 60 (through 80-plus) on 10 teams comprising the Nashua Senior Softball League (NashuaSeniorSoftball.org). He’s been riding for 50 years. He plays ball and is a volunteer at the VA Hospital in Manchester, where he said he enjoys “keeping in touch with other veterans.” He noted, “Playing softball gives me something to do to stay in shape and mingle with guys my own age.” It’s a wonder he can walk for he got creamed on his bike some time ago by a woman who afterwards quickly pulled over because she “wondered why air was blowing in.” The impact had shattered her back window and two side windows, hence the sudden ventilation. Larry, meanwhile, was on the ground. The woman said she did not know she hit him. And she had the grace to not hit him near two policemen. Aid was immediate for Larry, who now is back playing ball and riding that big blue Softail. He and his wife Anna are celebrating anniversary number 43 in September with a ride to Alabama. “We’re going to visit our oldest daughter Toni and our youngest grandson Zeus,” Larry said while he changed out of his black jersey and into another black shirt—a black Harley T-shirt and black leather vest with Nam Knights rockers on the reverse. There are probably geezers in your area playing sports you enjoy. Why not consult Google for “senior whatever sport you like” in your town?… That’s all for now, friends. See you down the road.

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