Thursday, March 13, 2008

The end of an era...

I appear to be your average, everyday person. The girl next door, if you will. If you were to see me in my usual uniform of jeans, a hooded sweatshirt, and a pair of sneakers, you'd probably think there's some little kid's mom, or perhaps even she's a little old to be a college student. Now, if you were to see me in wearing makeup and a suit, you'd probably think she works in an office somewhere, or maybe she's somebody's boss. And if you were to see me all decked out in my leathers, riding boots, and a helmet, you'd most likely think her husband's a biker, and that would be true. But here's where appearances can be tricky... because most of you would probably gasp in shock as I hopped on my Harley and rode off into the sunset. And I totally get off on that.

A few summers ago, I had the opportunity to speak for my non-profit organization at our local minor-league sports stadium. It's not easy to address a crowd of a few thousand people and ask them to open their hearts for a cause. But I got lucky - it was "Biker Night". So I stood there in my polo and khaki shorts, with my blond curls in a ponytail, and called them "My fellow bikers", and suddenly, I was speaking with friends.

My motorcycle means a lot more to me than simply being a mode of transportation. I own a 2003 Harley Davidson Gold Key Anniversary Edition V-Rod. It is part of my being, and it is part of my marriage.

I didn't start out as a biker - John taught me to love the open road. When we started dating, the first thing he bought me was a set of riding leathers, so I could ride with him in almost any weather. For my 30th birthday, he bought me a Sportster. That is the die-hard biker that is John. And you know it just by looking at him. What you don't see is the immense heart that beats within the biker.

* A few years ago, a friend found himself homeless when his house burned down on Christmas Eve. John and several other bikers quickly organized a ride through frigid temperatures to raise money to help him get back on his feet.

* John had a sport bike that he put up for sale around the time we got married. A kid (early-mid twenties) came to look at it. He fell in love with the bike, but really couldn't afford what John was asking. John sold him the bike for a lot less than he should have, because he wanted to see the kid be able to ride something he loved.

* Not long ago, John heard that a biker-friend of his had been in a serious motorcycle accident, and was in the hospital a few hours away. John didn't think twice. He hopped in his truck and went to him, stopping at a Harley shop to pick up a T-shirt for this injured biker. When he arrived at the hospital, he found a man who was near death - a man that he didn't know. He just happened to have the same (unusual) name as his friend. John gave him the shirt and wished him well. When I asked why he didn't just return the shirt to the store, he said, "I bought the shirt for an injured biker, and that's what that poor guy was."

John is the epitome of the big, burly, biker heart. And it is that heart that is driving this most difficult decision. His pride in being the best man he can be, and taking care of the needs of his family is overshadowing his pride in the mechanical extension of himself - his motorcycle. John owns a 2002 Harley Davidson Softail Deuce which he has customized to perfection.

I look forward to the day when I can explain to JJ what makes a real man. And how I will be so very proud of him if he grows up to be anything like his father.

For Sale:

2003 Harley Davidson Gold Key Anniversary Edition V-Rod
(click for details)

For Sale:

2002 Harley Davidson Softail Deuce - Customized to Perfection
(click for details)

By the way, if anybody would like to help me advertise this in any way, I would really, really, REALLY appreciate it. And if you do, please drop a comment so that I may thank you properly.



rmpurkey said...

Marly and John, I will send this link to my sis in law who rides and ask her to share with her friends.

Becky said...

Oh, I love bikers. Both my dad and brother ride, and I have found no one better than bikers.

Thanks for delurking and I'm going to add you as a link. I would have done so sooner, but I've been up to my eyeballs in puke :)

Carrie @ said...

Oh dear....beautiful bikes ( and I don't even know anything about them ). heart is breaking...what a wonderful, kind and loving husband you have!

Carrie @ said...

Just got your comment on the post about my hubby...and...just to let you know...we think about you both and pray for you often.

I told him your story ( wish we knew someone in your hubs industry ), and when he was getting frustrated while interviewing for his new job....I told him to buck up and be thankful for what we do have! It put it all in perspective.

We really admire you guys...especially after seeing him put the motorcycles up for sale!