It is not that I have a very tight and very warm relationship with my Dad. I dunno, so much happened in our small family and I have often felt an outsider. Of course, my Dad will always be my Dad and I will always be his daughter. We just do not speak each-other often, just because..well, it just goes like this.
This afternoon he called and the moment he started talking and we exchanged the usual ‘how are you’s’, I just heard from the sound of his voice something was wrong. He sounded sad. So, I asked what was up and well, nothing of course. Some chitchat about the weather, his garden being a mess and his wife nagging him to clean up the garage. And then, I definitely heard it. He was holding back his tears when mentioning the garage. So I waited a bit. And there it came. The shocker, the big news. And the tears.
I hate tears from my sister but hearing my Dad cry..is even worse. But he managed to tell me. He has put his beloved Harley Davidson up for sale. His baby, his bike, his escape from everything…his…well, his Harley!
Now, I am not a biker. I do not like them, I find it scary to be a passenger on a bike – any bike – and I prefer the safety of a car for transportation. However, being the daughter of a real biker…I have learned what it meant to him. It was not just a ‘bike’…noooooooo! For one, he had a Harley Davidson Millenium Edition – fully modified over the years to his liking, and well what can I say as a non-biker: it wasn’t just a bike or just a Harley. No. It was Dad’s Bike and me and my sister were part of the very lucky few that ever were allowed to even touch it! Under his supervision. Wearing silk gloves. (ok, the silk gloves part is not true, but it gives an idea….).
Back to Dad and him selling his Harley. The reason makes much sense. He is getting older, he is almost 75 and he felt this past biking season he was…how he described it: losing control over the machine. And that is never good, you need to control the bike, the bike should not control you.
He has had too many ‘insecure moments’ on the highway, there was one incident the bike fell over while waiting at traffic lights and he needed bystanders to help him getting it back up (mind you, these Harley’s are heavy!) and it made him decide the time has come to say goodbye to the Harley days and accept that some things don’t last forever. With a very, very heavy heart, many sleepless nights and many tears.
I feel his pain, I know what the bike and the cruising around meant to him. Not to mention him cleaning, polishing, nurturing the beloved piece of machinery for hours…But I am also proud of my Dad.
Not only will he always be a true biker (he toured the Route 66 with this machine a few years back and did many charity rides for children with his Motorclub), but he took responsibility concerning safety and rather pulls back from traffic pro-actively than be that poor ol’ bastard that causes a horrible accident because he cannot let go of old times.
I will surely miss the sound of his Harley roaring through the neighbourhood, to be heard 6 streets away, in summers when he came by (and the people that stopped by my drive to admire the polished, shiny huge bike…as it was surely an attention getter!).
But he did the right thing. My sister, she is a professional photographer, will go see him and his bike tomorrow and she is going to make a last ‘vintage’ photoshoot of the bike, on his request. I am sure this will be a wonderful tribute to the bike, my Dad and good for fond memories. For all three of us.
And yeah, even as a non-biker who will probably never understand the relation between machine and rider, I cried too. For Dad and his Harley and him having to give up his life-style and his soon to be empty garage….So, Dad: cheers!
Pictures in this blog taken at: The Sideroad Blues
3 Comments Add yours
This is wonderful. My dad is kinda the same except his motor love is vintage Mustangs and he has not yet given up on them – yet.
Thanks Bine. Well, as daughter of a biker, I am sure you can imagine my sadness and also being proud. I would not want to live in fear of my Dad being a danger on his bike, for him and others. But it is sad to know he has to give up his …well…lifestyle. :( My Dad without his Harley, it will be strange…
Thank you for sharing this Cait. It’s movingly sad, and very well expressed. I agree, there is little that compares to the heartache of seeing one’s parents expressing sadness. I’m sitting here at my work desk, and feeling tears well up in my eyes at the thought of it. What your dad might be going through is letting go of such an obviously important part of his life and perhaps a very large part of his identity. I suppose that as time progresses, so do losses, and these changes become a part of life as much as the freedom and exhilaration of that seemingly endless, open road.
You are right that he is doing the right thing – and it’s what one would expect of a man of that age, to grasp the importance of that decision and to know what is the right and self-less thing to do, as heartbreaking and difficult as it can be. This will be a very important and pivotal moment for you dad. What he does next; how he substitutes the love and pride associated with being a biker, will have a deep impact on how he sees himself moving forward. I wish him all the very best.