Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mom's Last Ride.

     MY mother was never real keen on my riding motorcycles, but being Europeans, both parents didn't object if not discourage my riding.

They had used hard earned savings in 1968 to buy me my first bike, a Honda Super 90.  Do you guys remember those?

I rode that little Honda as far as it would go at 60mph.  Truly Freedom.

     Mom didn't take much interest in motorcycling.  Every now and again over the years, she'd ask me if I was going to outgrow riding anytime soon?  I can't say I was particularly surprised at this, after all... I began riding at age 13.  Pretty young by even Hungarian standards.

Every once in awhile over the decades, perhaps once every ten years on average, she would sit on the pillion of one of my many bikes.  Quite a sight, this rotund, tiny little Hungarian lady, sat dignified for a short trip around the neighborhood. 
     Holly had ridden her CB 650 Honda to Penticton in 2003, while I was there for a visit.  I'd driven down with my Jeep, DT 50 on the front rack and No One's Ark on the trailer.  NOA used to be my Dad's fishing boat.  It was in this boat he had a good view one morning on Lake Okanagan of the elusive Ogopogo.

He said it surfaced about 50' feet away heading in the same direction as he, outpacing his trolling speed.

     Even today, I can picture Dad, Export A hanging from his lips, coffee mug in hand at 7 a.m. trolling for trout, as this ancient 20' sturgeon rises from the depths and lazily swims by the 10' skiff.

After Dad died, I inherited the small green fiberglass boat, repainted it and the trailer and christened her 'No One's Ark"

On this trip I proudly towed the boat back to Penticton so I could take my Mother for a spin on the lake.  Not a chance she said... I wouldn't ride in that thing when you Father was alive and I'm not about to now!  Did I mention my Mother was a Scorpio?  Pretty defiant.

     During Holly's visit, we were able to suit her up and sat her on the red CB for a ride down the east side of Skaha Lake to OK Falls. She insisted she didn't need a helmet, I insisted she did!

 I have to say, she was not only excited, but she would yell into my helmet that we should ride faster.  She loved it.  Holly scooted ahead with the TJ to take some video and it was all I could do to keep the bike in a relatively straight line, she was weaving around so much back there!

A few years ago, in 2006... I was returning from Victoria where I had purchased a Triumph Thunderbird 900.  Of course I stopped in for an overnight and visited with her at the nursing home where she had been since the year before, having suffered a stroke.  I wheeled her out into the parking lot, it was a very bright sunny day, and showed her my newest bike.  She said it was beautiful, and then added in a matter of fact way, was I never going to outgrow this 'biking' thing?

     The day I returned from my extra long overnight trip that had carried me through seven countries, I learned via email from Holly back in Canada, that my mother had died the day before.

To say I was thunderstruck would be an understatement.  It's true that when I last saw her in the spring, I just knew it would be the last time.  She had wanted to join Dad for several years and it was obvious to me that her will to live in this world had faded.

     As I had promised her the last time I saw her alive in the spring of 2008... I had her ashes shipped over to Jaszkiser, and after a last ride on the back of my red Diversion... laid her to rest next to her husband, and her 2 year old daughter that had died in 1946.  Near her were her parents and brother, my motorcycling Uncle Julius.

Margit Simon Oct 27 1923-Aug 10 2008 RIP
I felt it was fitting to strap her on the pillion, foot pegs folded out, helmet atop, and show her around the neighborhood where she had grown up, gone to church and school, and where her family lives to this day.

For me, it was a final farewell to a Mother that was sometimes as hard as granite, yet could also be soft as a kitten.

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