It may have been the sight of a high school buddy sitting astride a motorcycle, I don’t know. He looked good in the picture, comfortable astride that big machine. I starting thinking about my own school-daze transportation.
My little motorcycle seemed a lot bigger back then. While trying to remember exactly what it looked like, I did what every self-respecting researcher does. Googled it.
Luckily, I remember the name of the thing. Yamaha.
The pictures popped right up, and it didn’t take but a couple of moments to find one the same year and color as my little beast. I had purchased it from my friend Craig, who had used it to deliver the Tulsa World – a large newspaper back then. Requiring a motorcycle. At least that’s what Craig told his Dad.
We used to fold papers together in his garage of a morning. I envied the way he roared off on the Yamaha while I pedaled away on my high-handlebar Schwinn (making motorcycle mouth-noises, probably).
My newspaper job was delivering the Daily Democrat (RIP), and while I aimed for the front door, I rarely hit my mark. The route was in a subdivision called Redbud Acres, and most of the houses had one of those lamps-on-a-post in the front yard which effectively guarded the porch. It was such a simple paper route that I could do it in my sleep – but I snapped to attention one morning when my tossed newspaper blew straight through the front and back glass of the subscriber’s yard light. With the accuracy of a ninja throwing star. In and out. Smash. CRASH.
It occurred to me to pedal away. Fast.
Decided I probably ought to face the music, got off the bike and trudged across the grass. I was hesitating at the door chime when the door flew open, and a man in a bathrobe leaned out.
“Wondered if you would own up,” he said.
“How did you know?” I stammered.
He explained that he had seen me ride up, watched the throw, witnessed the exploding glass panes, and saw my expression when I realized what had happened.
“Worth the price of the repair,” he said, “just to see that look on your face. Since you came to the door, we’ll just forget about it, OK?”
I nodded and quickly assented. I learned a valuable lesson that day, recognizing the benefits of practicing sheepish looks to use in future events in which I was equally culpable.
The motorcycle brought its own hazards in delivering newspapers, but I always loved roaring up the hill (more like chain-saw sputtering) at McAlester High and hurriedly parking it alongside the other ‘scooters’ before running to first hour. (I was always running late, it seems.)
I met a little old lady on the Yamaha, at the Third Street intersection where Mann’s Flower Shop was located. I came out of the meeting (at about 35 mph) a little better off than the Yamaha, which was sent to the scrap heap. After some deliberation, my folks chose to affect a repair on me, which was somewhat difficult on a Sunday afternoon (and doctor’s golfing weather) in McAlester.
When I reminisce about two-wheeling down the road with the wind in my hair and how fun that might be again, I remember that I have less on top for the wind, and even less resistance to impact than I did back then.
Probably a better idea would be to paste a picture of the Yamaha on the dashboard of that thirty-year-old van I’m still driving. I can roll the window down and yell Yee-Ha!
Meantime, I’ll be racing down the bookstore aisles tomorrow – 100% foot power – so come visit for lunch!
Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District, 122 S. Main St, BA OK!