I woke up very early this morning. Before it was light out. I didn’t sleep well because the threat of storm would not let me.
Yet when I Woke up at 5:30 am, I felt awake. Unlike most mornings where I struggle to operate the coffee pot, this morning I felt clear headed. Which doesn’t make sense.
I had no coffee, I slept less than three hours, and I didn’t sleep well at all.
So going for a motorcycle ride was probably just stupid – especially since it was still dark, and the streets were still wet.
But I hadn’t ridden in a while, and I wasn’t ready to start my daily routine. So I just took off. No coffee. No idea where I was going.
I knew the storms hit hardest towards the northwest of me, so I rode southeast. I rode to China Grove, of the ZZ-Top song fame. I used to come here often with my Uncle, to fish in our illegal fishing spot not far away. We used to have so much fun doing little, and saying even less.
My Uncle has always been a quiet man. Being a Vietnam Vet who was wounded more than once, I never pressed him on what he had been through. But often, in the dark, with a nice little fire, sitting on the side of that creek bank, he would tell me things I know he shared with nobody else. Not his wife, or his own sons, or daughter.
He would tell me stories not of war, or courage.
Not of bravado or beer-brawls.
He would tell me about the people he knew. And although he never said as much, I knew that every person he talked to me about had not made it home. I could tell by the story, and the tone, and the lack of details about anything to do with them after the war. He never mentioned how they died. He never mentioned who they may have killed. He spoke about the person – the guy that wanted to open a hot-dog stand in New York, the guy who wanted to marry his High School sweetheart. The friends he made, and why he remembered them
But I never pressed him for more. I never intruded. I felt honored that he was sharing with me, and I didn’t have anything of value to add to the conversation.
And he didn’t expect me to.
He didn’t want to talk to me about these stories – he just needed to tell them.
And that’s where I sat for about 25 minutes this morning – in China Grove, Texas.
Eventually a fine mist started to fall and I decided I better head home – before the traffic started.
Every time I think I am ready to sell my motorcycle I have a moment like this – something that happens on my bike that just seems to not happen any other time.
And I know that if I sell her, I’ll just buy another. Since this one is paid for, I think I’ll keep her. She is cheaper than Prozac and a Shrink.
And infinitely more effective.