A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Michael Casey
My first Harley-Davidson was the
single greatest material possession I’ve
ever owned. It was the source of intense
feelings, which led to the most difficult
decision I’ve ever made. Those feelings
stemmed from a roadside memorial
made of bright blue and yellow faux
flowers, a picture of a young man
framed in white poster board, and a
Mylar balloon reflecting the sunlight.
On the street was a long black mark
the width of a motorcycle tire. There
lay a dark and unsettling stain on the
asphalt where the black mark ended.
The last ride this young man took on his
motorcycle made the possibility of death
seem so much more real to me. The
events that took place on this stretch of
road made me realize that I had to let
go of my beloved customized bike.
This was the Harley I had always
wanted and one that I intended to keep
forever. I spent countless hours and
thousands of dollars customizing her to
reflect my personality. We rode in the
bitter cold, under the scorching heat of
the sun, and through rainstorms, which
had turned roads into small rivers. Her
engine roared and vibrated resonantly.
The sound was a thunderous, deep
hum, which continuously reverberates
in my mind. Her mechanical breath
created a flurry of dust and dirt as she
exhaled through the brilliant, mirrorlike
chrome exhaust pipes. In the seat,
nothing could breach the pseudo armor
created from the pride and feeling of
riding this iron horse. All I could think
was that if I sold this bike, all the effort
By Michael Casey
put into it would be worthless.
Passing the memorial every day
saddened and angered me. I was angry
at the thought of selling what I saw as
the perfect motorcycle. I was angry
at my own selfishness for putting this
thing ahead of the ones I love, angry for
having paid hundreds each month for
the loan and insurance when it should
have gone to my family. Most of all, the
vision of the memorial saddened me
with the possibility of turning a wife
into a widow and leaving a 3 year-old
daughter to grow up without a father.
The thought was too serious to ignore.
So the time I spent sitting in the flameembroidered
leather seat became less
Sensing that the last ride was
coming soon, I drove to a park and
without thinking or hesitating, slipped
through the gate. Riding down an
old, bumpy, paved path, dotted with
enormous oak trees draped with
Spanish moss, I spotted a clearing.
Here the path ended, and there was a
field of green, soft, wispy grass; it was
a beautiful clearing aligned magically
with the setting sun. I had found the
perfect place to photograph my bike for
the “for sale” ad. I was finally ready to
let go of my beautiful bike.
Shortly after placing the
advertisement in the local paper, my
pride and joy was sold. The day she
rode away, I understood that while she
wouldn’t be my last bike, I wasn’t ready
for my first.