This weekend may have just been the perfect weekend. I took off from work a little early to head home and get ready for the Halloween festivities. The wife took dinner to a friend who just had a new baby and I got the girls ready for the evening. When Mamma got home, the girls painted pumpkins. For some reason, we had it in our heads that the girls would paint faces, the traditional triangle nose, the jagged teeth, the ominous eyes… instead, they proceeded to paint themselves every color until they were covered with a thick layer of “brownpurplegreenblue.” Luckily Mamma had the foresight to buy washable, and non-toxic, paint.
We cleaned them up, got their costumes on and sat outside with some candy in a big blue bowl. The in-laws came over to help celebrate and we all sat outside with a beverage and a camera. Our oldest daughter is two and a half years old and shouted to everyone on the block to come over so she could give them candy. She would get so excited that she would grab a handful from the bowl and rush out to the sidewalk to greet all the trick-or-treaters with a smile and a compliment on their costume. The weather for us in Houston was very pleasant and the mosquito problem was not as bad as we first thought it might be. After a while, we took the girls to a few houses on the block to do some trick-or-treating of their own. Our youngest is only 15 months old, so Mamma had to carry her house to house. She said that she felt the neighbors must have thought the candy was for her because the baby was a little young for some of the taffy and other treats… they were probably right.
The next morning I got up and ate breakfast with the family before rushing out to strap some skates to my feet and thrash about on the ice for an hour or so. Got there a bit early and watched the little figure skaters practice a holiday routine and the little hockey tuffs slipping and sliding into each other and the walls. By the time I came out of the rink, the weather outside was beautiful and all I wanted to do was hop on the bike and take a much-needed ride to clear my head. When I got home, I found that the Ol’ Lady and the kids were going to meet her folks at a nearby restaurant for lunch, so I cleaned up and fired up the ol’ Deuce.
First stop was the nearest Harley Dealership where I sat on all the models for about an hour. This is a weekly ritual. I never buy anything, I just sit on a bike and think, “yeah, this is the one I will get next…” or, “this one would fit the Ol’ Lady perfectly!” I am always shopping, comparing, studying every detail, and dreaming.
By now the salespeople were getting tired of me again and I blew down the coast to hit a favorite haunt and custom bike shop. I met up with a few Brothers for a beer or two and wandered the showroom of the shop, beautiful machines by Saxon and Iron Horse. Depending on the models I chose, I could have either bought 3 or 4 of these machines or my house! I suppose I made the right choice as I have become soft and really appreciate a roof over my head. Plus, I don’t know what the Ol’ Lady would prefer… scrubbing the floors or trying to keep all that chrome clean.
The day was too perfect to sit in an icehouse and get drunk, so I headed out. I followed my front wheel and ended up in Galveston. I had not been there since the hurricane hit a few months ago and the devastation is still very much apparent. It was a sobering sight to see so many homes and businesses destroyed. Made me very much appreciate all that I have and made me think my financial woes are nothing compared to those that have just lost it all.
I hit the seawall and cruised along the water. It was actually amazing how many businesses were already back. It seems the storm would obliterate a few buildings, and then have mercy and leave one looking as if it has almost been untouched… then destruction again. A few of the local hangouts were hopping and the bikes were out. As I cruised along looking at the water, about thirty club members came up on my left. I was in the hometown of one of the country’s “Big Four” and most clubs do not come over the causeway with colors on unless they are looking for trouble. They check out my cut and eye the patch on my back before giving me a knowing nod. We have an understanding and I respectfully return the look to each as they pass and go on their way to patrol their island. I know I am a guest here with special privileges and I act accordingly.
The water is a strange color of blue. Not really a strange blue, more like strangely blue. The water here in Galveston is usually an unattractive brown because we get all the silt from the Mississippi. However, the storm cleaned out the bay and the water has become very pretty. A few families are walking the beaches and enjoying the scenery. Folks are just happy to finally be allowed back on the island. The government wouldn’t let anyone back for a few weeks after the storm while the search and rescue teams did their jobs. Folks are back now, but most of the island is still without power. The Galveston Rally is coming up in another month and we all hope that it injects the locals with some much-needed revenue to rebuild.
The sun began to make its descent in the sky, so I started to head back to my own neck of the woods. As I pulled up, I saw the girls playing outside. I went ahead and spent about an hour taking the little ones for rides in the sidecar before having to go pick up a pizza for the night’s dinner. On my way to grab the grub, I passed by a Brother’s house and he and his Ol’ Lady were in the front yard pulling a carburetor off a four-wheeler. I stopped in to talk a little club business and just say hello. I had little time as the pizza was waiting and the family was hungry. Luckily my wife loves that cheap pizza that resembles cardboard. The toppings and cheese don’t come off if you turn the box sideways, so it is easy to throw the pie in the sidecar and get it home without damage.
When I arrived at the house I was surprised to find out that our 15 month old had started walking while I was gone! Boy, leave the house for 20 minutes and the whole world changes. Funny part was that my wife was playing fetch with her. She would throw a cracker onto a beanbag chair and the little one would scurry over to retrieve the bite-sized morsel. Crackers have become her favorite food, as “cracker” was one of the first words she could say that would get her something that she wanted. My wife and I basked in the glory of how amazing our offspring was and how quickly they are growing up. It was a perfect end to the day.
Sunday I got up and got out of the house by 7am to do a side job. Need a little extra money, just like everyone else in the country. I landed a gig jurying a high dollar art contest for local high school students. I saw some good work, doled out about as much as my yearly paycheck, and took the complimentary lunch home to share with my wife. The kids were still napping so we ate, talked, and enjoyed the quiet for a little while. When the little ones awoke we played together and enjoyed the company until the sun went down. Then a few phone calls to wrap up some Club business and a nice dinner.
The kids were off to bed and while they were going down, I had a chance to check out some reference material for my next tattoo session next Sunday. The girls were asleep, Mamma came back downstairs and we watched a little tube together before heading off to bed. It all sounds pretty idyllic to me and I sometimes wonder what I did to deserve such a rich life. Yeah, we have our problems, we have trouble making ends meet, sometimes I hate my job, but all in all we really have it good. We are lucky and just need to step back every so often and look from the outside. It was a really good weekend.
Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,