Words of Mine


I Said I Do

Waning half moon in Aries > Taurus Ė 1:16 a.m.
24th day of lunar cycle

ďWhatever Godís dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.Ē
-- Stella Terrill Mann

I Said I Do

The title isnít what you think it is.

No. Michael did not propose. Well, he proposed but not for something I would have to say I do to.

No, it was ten years ago yesterday that Ruby A (my motorcycle) proposed to me. Ten years ago our liberation began. Ten years ago I said yes to Ruby and freedom became ours.

For six years I had been riding on the back of motorcycles. In the beginning everyone including me was doing drugs and alcohol. At some point though, I said enough. I was tired of watching how many drinks were being consumed or how much dope was smoked. Finally, I took myself off the bike. Within months that particular boyfriend had an accident that put him in the hospital.

A time came when I thought I could live without bikes and the men that went with them. It didnít last long, every time I heard a bike I was at the window. Was it a friend of mine? Was it anyone I knew? I began riding again. Only the guys still drank; maybe not to the point of out of control but they were drinking.

All this time I had been watching the guys ride, how they worked on their bikes and felt I could do this. I took the motorcycle safety course and passed. But it would be two more years before Ruby would come into my life.

It happened one morning, a Saturday, I sat up in bed and said, ďI must go to Fresno!Ē

The next weekend I drove to Fresno and went to Matthews Harley Davidson. Talk about a kid in a candy store. I was visually over-stimulated! I could have picked one in every color and style. It was hard to tell. I sat on a couple of bikes. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. I came home without a bike.

The following week I was at the motorcycle repair shop looking through a Harley catalog. And there,

There in that catalog,

There in that catalog, I found the bike of my dreams.

An FXR Superglide.

The boyfriend at the time called Matthews and talked to them about what I wanted. Not only did they have one but two Superglides. A red one and a blue one. Blue had been the color I wanted my bike to be.

I met with my accountant. Could I actually afford this dream? The dream of a house had been shot down and besides, I couldnít ride a house. After an hour of doing some figuring, my accountant said that if I didn't mind eating beans and wienies for a year that yes, I could afford this motorcycle.

I believe I stopped breathing for just a minute, as I knew she was going to tell me no. But no, she said yes! Life is good. I called the current boyfriend and told him the news and for him to make the call. Enough time had passed and the blue bike had been sold but the red one was still available. Yes, yes, yes.

This was on July 3. On July 7, we drove to Fresno to pick her up. ďDrive?Ē You ask. Yes, we drove because at that time I didnít know how to ride her. I hadnít been on a bike in over two years and I was not prepared to ride this bike back home. All I could do was look out the rear window and smile. My baby was coming home.

Although I had been on the back of bikes for years, being in front and in control did not come easy for me. Itís amazing that Ruby didnít take off that first year. I fell over so many times. The end of July, I had a wreck and scraped off everything on the left side. With the first week of August being Sturgis week, no one was available to work on my bike. Parts could be ordered but the work would have to wait.

During this time I had nightmares. Guilt clung to me like bees to pollen. What had I done to my gal? Would she ever forgive me? Ruby was repaired and it was time to take her home. Only I couldnít do it. I was paralyzed by the accident. We were taken to a parking lot and told to ride to the end and stop. CB (current boyfriend) would walk down to where we were and he would turn Ruby around for me and I would ride to the other end. Stop. He would turn her around and I would ride to the other side. Of course, Iím crying through this whole ordeal. AT one point CB said to me, ďWhoís the biggest, baddest bitch in this parking lot?Ē Me, sniffling, ďI donít know but I wish she would show up.Ē

A few more time down and back and then the ride back home. Ruby sat in the garage for weeks. It seemed like every time I took her out, we fell over. Actually, she would tilt, gravity would take over and I would ease her down the rest of the way. Back then, I hadnít learned how to pick her up so I would have to find a neighbor to come help. This really knocks the ego out of you. All I could say was Ruby was patient.

December comes. Iím terrified of riding. Iíve replaced the whole left side. Replaced the mirrors a couple of times already. People are beginning to tell me they wonít think badly of me if I choose to sell her. Hell no, Iím not selling. I wonít sell until I learn how to ride her. Then Iíll consider it.

I called my dad just after Christmas. Itís around three oíclock California time and 6 a.m. Maine time. He was up. He listened to my woes, sniffling and feeling sorry for myself. Although he was concerned for my safety, he could tell this was something I really wanted to do. His advice was to listen to my gut instinct and not my friends.

My gut instinct said I needed help. I called the instructor who taught the motorcycle safety course and told him my plight. He said yes he would help me and the first weekend after New Years, he came to where I lived and rode Ruby and me down to the motorcycle range to begin our lessons. The first time out the instructor had me on a range bike going through the things I had learned previously. When he saw my confidence come back up, he put me on Ruby. A few turns around the track and he could tell we were made for each other. Only by noontime my left wrist had given out. A new clutch and a weak wrist do not make a good couple. We stopped for lunch to give my wrist a break and would begin again after lunch. It was not to be. I could not pull in the clutch to disengage the motor. I was done for the day.

However, my confidence had returned and I was raring to go. I rode with anyone and everyone just to be out. Yes, I still fell over but it wasnít as bad. Then February comes and I make my first maiden voyage by myself. I go to visit a girlfriend who lives about 12 miles away. I can do this!!!

I make it to her house and get turned around in the gritty driveway. We visit and then itís time to head home. I take off with my friend following behind because she was going to the grocery store. Two stop signs later and in a left turn, Ruby stalls out on me and down we go. Oh man.

Iím upset, my friend is upset and I canít shift gears because Iíve wedged the gearshift into the casing. Oh man. One guy on a brand x bike stops, he helps me get Ruby upright but knows nothing about Harleys and leaves. Another guy on a brand x bike stops. He doesnít know anything about Harleys either but between the two of us we get Ruby out of the middle of the street and to the side of the road.

Then in the distance I hear the rumble of pipes. Oh yes, there is a Goddess and Sheís sending help. Someone who will know something about my bike. The biker comes up and parks across the street. With a smile, he comes over and checks out the situation. By this time, the second guy has left the scene. This biker is not bad looking. A long braid, a moustache and a smile that calms my heart. The great part, he lives about a mile away and feels he can take care of the problem and get me on my way. He turns Ruby around and we set off for his house with my friend bringing up the rear.

The biker gets Ruby ready to ride. My girlfriend is going to follow me home to be sure I get there. The knight, yes heís a knight by this time, offers to follow me home instead. Sally looks at me questioningly. Her eyes ask, ďAre you sure about this?Ē Mine say, ďOh yes. It will be all right.Ē

Off we go. Along the way, I learn heís single (actually in between girlfriends), doesnít smoke and doesnít drink. Can it get any better than this? Ruby is put back in the garage, we head off to get a soda at the local drinking establishment, a ride ensues, phone numbers exchanged and the rest is history.

Thanks to this knight in shining armor, whoís name is Michael, Ruby and I became one. I learned how to ride her and no I did not sell her. She is a part of my life now and so is Michael. Freedom and independence became mine all because of a ruby red motorcycle named Ruby.

11:09 p.m. - 2002-07-04


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