Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Others See

July, 1985

Dear MaryJanes,

I wonder if I will become a widow before you graduate from school? Your father does everything in his power to pursue this equation. Motorcycle racing was his latest roll of the dice. {at least he had to have a sobriety test in order to compete.} He has practiced for this event for several years, both sober and under the influence of a his favorite beverage, anything with alcohol. I do my best to keep him off the roads when he has drank, the problem being that he leaves the house sober with the promise of calling for a ride home, in the event that he has drank too much. Trouble is, he feels he has never drank enough. He had a back roads motorcycle racing buddy that had a promising future. A successful business called A.J. Sweets which was his actual name, would be handed over to him by his father, when he got his life together. The truce between your father and him was "one of us is going to get killed on a motorcycle." Neither of these two have much regard for caution or limits to what speed they will obtain around a blind corner. They pushed each other to exceed any limit. I suppose that when A.J. met his fate on a back, country road, which resulted in him being brain dead, paralyzed, your father felt he had picked the longer straw. He was now invincible, and nothing was going to scare him.

A friend of his, Carl has his own business and has agreed to be his racing sponsor. Carl will also enter himself and his bike in a few runs. Full racing leathers are custom made, I don't even know the price tag on that. My best guess is that we could buy healthy groceries for the three of us for a full year for the same cost. Custom letters are designed onto the leathers to display his friends sponsorship. That word is actually deceiving, sponsorship, it sounds like a free ticket doesn't it!? The cost of the leather letters was his contribution, basic advertising sewn into the full bodied, two toned blue and vintage white racing leathers.
Adjustments were made to your father's motorcycle in order to comply with racing regulations. What ever needed to be 'tweaked" to make it run faster, was done.
I can't deny that your father could possibly become a well know motorcyclist some day. He has the talent, the guts, along with the aerodynamic, streamline Norwegian nose but he lacks in self discipline. And so when your father and Carl end up in a race together, something took place that I am uncertain about. I do know that his friend yells and accuses your father of cutting him off in a corner. I did not see the incident, so I can not say for certain what took place. This did shake your father up though, the thought that his older, wiser friend and sponsor was questioning his judgment.
I don't know if that event aided to the crash that your father took in the following race or if it was simply the oil spill on the track that caused 3 cycles ahead of him to crash as well. I watched those bikes hit that oil and I knew your father was nearing the same corner. Your grandfather witnessed this as well and we both did our best to wave him down, but his sights were on winning not on the spectators.

That crash seemed to make him slide forever. The bike was totaled, now reduced to scrap metal. The custom racing leathers now torn and ripped, though they did do their part of holding most of him together. Road rash is nasty and takes a long time to heal, a life lesson I will now learn.

As soon as I see that he is alive and walking, my anger grows for his friend. With a few suggested words from your father, I convince myself that his friend was the cause of the crash. By upsetting him right before a race, it altered his judgment. I head to Carl's trailer where he and his wife are standing. I state my case that I am furious with him for upsetting your father right before a race. His wife pipes in, "I don't know why you even care, he doesn't love you anyway!" I slap her hard right a crossed the face.

There it was, he doesn't love you anyway. I should have listened to those words more carefully rather than acting out of insult. Some times other people can see things about your life that we ourselves can not or will not see. This would be one of those such occasions.
So when you are grown and you see those pictures of a mangled motorcycle, you will know the story behind them.

Now stay on course.
Love, Galoshes

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