Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Well, 2018’s almost over, an’ there’s been a lot goin’ on. I’ve lost some good friends, and re-connected with more. Anymore, most of the deaths were caused by disease instead of the stupid stunts an’ motorcycle wrecks that used to thin our herd. As I get older, I see things that I’d have done differently in my youth, but not many. Back then, you could have fun, get into some minor mischief, an’ not be arrested on the slightest provocation. Now, things like street racing, wheelies, an’ other things we used to do on a regular basis will earn ya a trip to the Grey Bar Hotel. Yeah, times have changed, an’ now, everybody’s offended by everything, an’ kids today don’t know what fun is. I guess that’s why they spend so much time indoors, an’ motorcycle sales are getting less every year as us ol’ dogs die off or stop ridin’.
I just attended my 50th high school class reunion last week, an’ it was quite an experience! We all had name tags on, but at our age, they were pretty hard to read. I spotted a gal I thought I recognized as one of our cheerleaders, an’ when I leaned in close to look at the ID badge pinned to her top next to her ample cleavage, she said, “Well, I can see you haven’t changed a bit!” I almost said, “You have; I’m now lookin’ way too high!” but I thought better of it. Gettin’ booted outta school was bad enough, but gettin’ booted out of a 50th class reunion would have… Uh… Kinda been fun, come to think of it!
I’ve been corresponding with a couple of friends an’ co-conspirators from school, Tom Tucker, and Steve Bartholomew, on Facebook after not hearing from them for many decades. As friends often do, we picked up where we left off. Tom moved off to Missouri, an’ Steve headed south with the ducks, but they came back for the reunion. Tom brought his Harley “bagger,” an’ I hope we can get some riding in before he heads home. We were always in some kind of mischief, as I recall, an’ I was not a good student, by any means. I always had motorcycles an’ hot rods, usually wore black Levis, turtlenecks, black “Beatle boots,” and a “Fonzie” motorcycle jacket. That was prime “hoodlum” attire at the time. I used half a tube of Brylcreem on my too-long hair (not as long as the Beatles, but slicked back in a DA), and parked my unmuffled Triumph Bonneville out on the street for a fast getaway when the last bell rang. I guess that’s why I didn’t have many friends in high school; I never stuck around for sports, or any other reason, an’ I never dated girls from the same school. The only time I had letters in my jacket was when they were from the principal to my parents. I was never a team player, not because I didn’t want to be; they just didn’t have a hoodlum team at the time. I do remember the class cheer, though. It was coined by one of the cheerleaders (maybe the same one, I’m not sure), and was adopted by the senior class. “Booze and sex are how we rate, ’cause we’re the class of ’68!” If ya remember back, the ’60s was a decade of free love. I’d have much preferred a decade of free gasoline; at least I could always get some of that!
One day, I happened to have my car instead of the Bonne, an’ as I was leavin’ the senior parking lot, a little cutie walked by an gave me that look. Nawww, not that look, the other one. The one that says, “My dad would kill me if I ever brought you home!” Having a serious need to impress that lovely young thing, I “power jacked” my hot rod right there in the driveway. Smoke boiled off the tires, and the exhaust roared, drawing a crowd of onlookers, cheering me on to even greater efforts. I boiled the tires for quite a while, an’ filled half the campus with tire smoke. I was just about to make my getaway, when through the cloud of smoke came the principal an’ the dean of boys, both gagging from the noxious rubber smoke. As you might assume, I was called into the office the next day, told how dangerous and despicable my actions were, and my car was sentenced to six months of Automotia-non-grata. Most of the time, I rode the Bonne, but when it rained, I drove the car, an’ parked at a machine shop down the street. I guess you could consider that an “extracurricular activity,” but it didn’t make the yearbook like the full-sized, black and white fiberglass cow that “the usual suspects” heisted from a co-op dairy store and planted on the cafeteria roof.
I don’t know how many of my former classmates who rode motorcycles still do, but Tom, Steve, an’ I never grew out of the love of wind in our faces, an’ never will. Like me, they will do whatever it takes to keep us ridin’, eatin’ bugs, an’ rollin’ down the highway like we always have. You don’t stop playin’ because you get old; you get old because you stop playin’!