Friday, May 3, 2013

Nostalgia

 

 

Me and the girls circa 2001

 

nos·tal·gia

[no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh-] 


noun
1.
a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.

THOSE that know me well, know I spend a lot of my thoughts in the past, maybe you do too?  After all, it is our past that has to a great extent, shaped who we are today.  Maybe... maybe it's how we are that shaped our past.

In any case, I was just thinking of two instances during my past, that brought a smile to my face.

The first occurred right here on the Island circa 1988-89.  I was asked to arrive at Greenfield Elementary school to give a short talk on my career path.  Of course at the time I was owner and operator of Freedom Cycle, a motorcycle, snowmobile recreational business.  I showed up on the appointed day and waited my turn at a short 20 minute presentation.  There were a couple of other Dad's there, a lawyer and some other professional perhaps an accountant if memory serves, both dressed immaculately in suits, the standard tools of the trade.  I on the other hand, had on a nice Freedom Cycle t shirt, brought along some fun small stuff for the kids and did my spiel.  Afterwards... I asked Holly, then about 9, if she was 'disappointed in her Dad' after all, I didn't have a law degree or some other certification to hang on my wall, the only thing there was, were posters of Randy Mamola or Bob Hannah or Kenny Roberts.  

She looked at me in the way, she still does and said this; "Dad..... those other Dad's are boring, my friends all think you have the coolest job on Earth."   
The second example I was thinking about was during 1999.  Holly was traipsing about Europe with a backpack, and Lisa, who lived out here at that time, was feeling left out.  I sent her an email with a map of the Western US and a letter.  In it I outlined a trip for the two of us to Hollywood CA, riding my Seca II.  We would load a saddlebag for her, one for me and the tailbag for essential bike stuff.  

Within days of her arrival via Air Canada,  we were loaded and ready to ride,  She was sixteen.  The weather was poor, very cold and very very wet.  I hate to start a trip this way but we had limited time, rain gear two electric vests and after all... we were heading to sunny California.

 Our first night was in Great Falls, with a delivered Pizza to our motel, from then on we wound our way south, sometimes via Interstate, others via back lanes.  The Missouri river valley, Craters of the Moon national monument in Idaho,  and Wendover Utah, home of the revered, Bonneville salt flats, where the fastest humans on wheels gather.  Leaving Wendover on the Nevada side, (it spans both Nevada and Utah) during a quick photo shoot... I noticed my rear tire going flat.  

Back into town it was.  Given that it was Sunday and there were no MC shops in town, and because I had a plug kit, I bought an air pump and detoured the several hundred km into SLC, arriving on Monday, the 5th of July.  Guess what... every shop was closed for the long weekend!  Occasional pumping showed the plug to be holding, so we carried on.  Our next stop was in Nephi UT, Lisa dozing off on the hind seat.  Maybe okay on a Wing, not so good on a sports touring bike.  The next day, found us in Vegas.  So far on our trip we had freezing temperatures in heavy rain, flat tire problems, heavy traffic around that dismal SLC corridor, and now for the past three days, immense heat.  From Beaver UT through the Virgin river gorge, a stop at Mesquite where it hit 126 degrees F... to our night in LV.


I will interject at this point that since our divorce, Lisa, who had then been living with her Mom while Holly and I lived in Calgary, hadn't had much to talk about.  Her annual visits were more about me trying hard to make up for the separation between us, mostly unsuccessfully, than our truly enjoying each others company.  This entire trip, few conversations had taken place and not just while on the motorbike. 
As I am packing our gear prior to leaving Las Vegas, folding clothes etc, on the carpeted motel room floor, Lis... sitting on the bed, says to me; "Dad... I really admire your patience.  After all the weather problems then the bike problems and the heat of the last few days, you really kept you cool, never got mad, and just dealt with things..."

Had I not already been sitting on the floor, that would have floored me.

So you see, my friends... living in the past is simply living in the present, because in about a micro second, it will be gone.     
Lisa, 126 degrees F, Mesquite NV
 

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