By Bill Frazer
Spring has “sprung” and the motorcyclists are all enjoying good weather for their favorite recreation. I noticed that the local cyclists really came out in numbers to participate in the fund raising for Valley Haven.
Do you know the definition of “A Rumble”? Yes, that is thunder in clouds that can be heard from a distance. Uh Oh! Then there is another “A Rumble” where rival motorcycle gangs get together, which is exactly what happened several years ago in Waco, Texas. Oh Yeah! Then there is the “Rumble Seat” which is a rear passenger seat in a vintage car. How about Rumble-Stilts-Skins the tale about the fairy who wove straw into gold? Before I get caught by the “Purists”, the correct title is “Rumple-Stilts-Skins”.
Back 2012 Arkansas Razorback Coach, Bobby Patrina, was riding a Harley in Kansas when he wrecked the bike. Although Bobby., at first denied it, but the facts revealed that his girl friend Jessica Dorrell was riding on the back of the cycle’ Bobby’s wife did know that Jessica was with Bobby until she heard it on the news. That was the end of the career of a very talented coach.
One would get the picture from all the liberal news media that the crowd that rides motorcycles are all villains. I have found that not to be true based on my personal contact with bikers.
One the finest people bike enthusiast that I ever knew was John Hanson who was a Roanoke product (some people from Randolph County are OK including Joe Lambert-although that one is questionable). John’s connection with LaFayette is that he married Josephine Torbert. Josephine is still with us and she is around 98 years of age. John went to Bama on a football scholarship and became personal friends with Bear Bryant. John piloted B52s in WW2 and flew for Delta until he retired. John loved riding all over the south on his motorcycle and loved companionship with friends who also were bike lovers.
A couple of years ago my wife and I were en route to Tallahassee on US 27. Down between Lumpkin and Cuthbert in an area that is mostly uninhabited woodland, we passed a guy with a woman standing beside his motorcycle with his thumb out. I slowed down and my wife had a fit and told me not to stop. In a rare instance where I did not obey, I turned around and went back to the biker. He told me that he was on his way to a biker’s convention in Panama City and had run out of gas. I told him to get into the car and I would take him and his lady down to Blakely some 10 miles south to get gas.. I insisted that the lady go with us as it was not wise to leave her alone out in a remote area. He told me she would be alright as she had a gun. We talked on the way to get gas and it turned out he was just a working stiff looking for a break from drudgery. When we got back to his cycle, he said that I could go on as he could get his cycle gassed and running. I refused and stayed to be sure it would crank after putting in gas. His lady-friend sat in the car with my wife and she found the lady to be a really nice person. As usual, the first thing my wife wanted to know if she was a Christian and she was a believer but not a practicing one. The guy insisted that we come on down to Panama City and let them take us out to eat. I know that he did not have a lot resources as I was surprised that the old beat up motorcycle would get them there and back home. He got my email address and when it came, I did not recognize his address and deleted before I realized who the sender was. This was a first! The Boss had to admit that I was right. They were nice people.
Another well known motorcycle enthusiast is former Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Bob who some time back rode from Ashland, AL to Anchorage, Alaska. The 2700 mile trip did not end well for Bob and his Harley. On a dirt road in Alaska he ran into a slick spot and had to lay the cycle down. The result was a trip to the hospital with broken bones and a punctured lung. In spite of the accident, Gov Riley still enjoys riding his Harley Davidson.
While he was still active, my wife called our local plumber Bud House reference a leaking faucet. Bud told her unless it was an emergency, he could not come until next week. He explained he was leaving on a road trip with his biker friends. When Bud got back home and fixed the faucet, he told me that some people thought that he was nuts but biking was his passion. He told me about his trip and it sounded like a fun thing to do.
All this musing (sorry Mike), reminded of the popular movie “Smokey & The Bandit” starring Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed and Sally Fields. As silly as it was, I enjoyed that movie and Jerry Reed’s song that enhanced the action. Anyway, why this came to mind was a scene involving a motorcycle gang. Jerry and his dog stopped in roadside bar to grab a sandwich and were ridiculed, humiliated and taunted by a motorcycle gang in the bar. The dog named Mike was Jerry’s buddy and it was not wise to for the gang to molest his dog. After Jerry managed to escape back out to his semi truck, he ran over all the motorcycles parked out front. Flattened them like pancakes and rode off laughing to the theme song “Long way to go and short time to get there”. It was probably the best scene in the movie and I laughed my head off.
In good weather, locally, you often see groups of cyclist out enjoying their ride. A lot of them have a lady sitting on the rumble seat. These are not motorcycle thugs, but people just like you and I enjoying their type of recreation. There are some in every element of society that create a bad name for the good people which make up most of the group.