Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

Spring Time With A New Old Friend

As I noted, we've been having quite the spring in February here this year -- the exact opposite of what we were dealing with last year.  Not that I'm complaining at all mind you.  It's been very nice and good for the soul to say the least.  This past weekend was exceptional -- it felt and looked like April with the combination of cloudless sunny skies, temperatures in the 60s, and daffodils and cherry blossom trees in bloom.  In other words it was the perfect weekend to fire up the Harleys that have been sitting idle for the last month or so.

Tony and I used to enjoy these weekends -- and I've missed riding with him very much, and still do.  But lately I've been spending a lot of time with an old friend who's become a very good new friend.  Ritchard is someone I've known for more than 10 years -- he still sings with Tony in the chorus which is where I got to know him, and like me, he and his partner of many years divorced last year.  Ritch used to have a bike, but it was totaled in an accident a few years ago when someone ran a stop sign and hit him.  He wasn't injured but  he lost the bike and was unable to afford to replace it.  Earlier this year we started hanging out again, and it's been great.  Its especially nice since we were already friends and we are comfortable with each other, and we like a lot of the same things -- including riding.

Well this past weekend we made plans to head out for a long ride in the sunshine.  Ritch used to ride sport bikes -- you know, those "crotch rockets" that scream up and down the roads and that the rider lays across.  He's not used to a Heavy Iron Harley with a 1200cc engine -- twice the size of the typical sport bike.  So I let him take out my little Nightster -- my smallest bike, and a great bike to learn how to ride sitting straight up. 
See that huge grin on his face.  I think he likes it!  We headed out for a nice leisurely ride on my secret back roads of East King County, winding through the countryside, just enjoying the ride for the sake of the ride, watching Mt. Rainier in the distance, rolling past gorgeous houses and pastures with farm animals, and waving at an extraordinary number of other bikers on the road enjoying a spectacular day.  We ended up out in Cumberland at a sleazy biker bar for lunch, and we kept listening for the theme from the movie Deliverance.  Ritch used to ride everyday for transportation, and this was a rare "ride for the sake of riding" day and his first one on a bike in sometime.  It's much different than using it as "transportation", but it's something he never really did and wanted to on his old sport bike. 

But that grin on his face isn't just from the bike and the ride.  Ritch is perpetually happy.  I've never met anyone who is so positive about life, so upbeat, and radiates so much good.  When I'm down, I know just spending some time with Ritch will lift my spirits -- you can't help it, his positive attitude and boundless joy that he radiates just does that.  Plus he's got the metabolism and spirit of a hummingbird and practically skips when he walks since he can't contain his happiness.  He wasn't always this way.  Ritch went through some tough personal times a few years back -- lost his job, his money,  his house,  and got hooked on drugs.  But he's a rare soul, and dug himself out, and with some help from God as he said, is climbing back out of an abyss of darkness and is now full of life, light, and joy.  Hitting bottom will do that I suppose.  I'm proud of him, and he's wonderful to be around.

So his goal now is to buy a bike again himself and we'll go riding together -- in the mean time, he's always welcome to ride one of mine.  Seeing how he's got himself back on life's track, I have no doubt we'll be riding together.  Me on one of my V-twins, him on some gulp "crotch rocket".  I guess I can do that.  With Ritch it won't matter, we'll still be having fun. 

And just like the new spring brings old life back to earth, makes things warm and green and alive, so can an old friend make a person feel like it's all new again, warm and green and alive.  Welcome to spring.  

  • Latest Magazine Column

    For over ten years I've been writing a monthly column in Quick Throttle Magazine -- a regional biker publication. The confluence of the changes…

  • May/June QuickThrottle Column

    With the pandemic shutdown, the loss of revenue, and everyone staying at home, the publisher decided not to put out a May issue and put out a…

  • April QuickThrottle Column

    This whole pandemic thing, in addition to being very trying, has delayed a few things, including the publication of my column. I just got the April…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.