One more day to go

Arms come my way, the day before I ride. ‘Arms are for hugging’ says the sticker on a truck. Shared by a 92 year old and the NRA. Both agree, each with his/its own meaning.
‘Did me in for motorsickles’, he says. At 92 he is square and sturdy, even at this age he is formidable. I am in a Bloomington nursing home visiting a friend who goes back more than 35 years, struck with Alzheimer’s in her late fifties. Dinner we share. And with this 92 year old. ‘Was 12 years of age’ he continues. ‘ Uncle had him a BSA with sidecar and wanted to race around the track. I was in the sidecar. Doing about 100 on the straight in front of the grand stand. Stood up, I did. Something happened. Flew like a bird, I did. 40-50 yards. This arm here got broke. My father kicked and slapped me: hurt more than this here arm.’ Then he kindly strokes his wife whom he came to visit; she is slumped over in her wheel chair, out of it. Barely reacts. ‘Married 72 years now’, he says, ‘ gave me 7 children in 19 years’. Touches her softly. His handshake is gentle. These arms are for hugging.
So the NRA tells me in a hyperventilating letter of several pages; the style I know it only from religious fanatics. The NRA must have concluded I am a big boy now owning a motorcycle (I am in no other US database). The NRA VP rants on: the end of times is nearing if I am not joining to shoulder-to-shoulder defend the 2nd amendment and claim my duffel bag today. Recent news item: 5 year old finds father’s semi-automatic and kills 3 year old sister. ‘Arms don’t kill people, people do’, I remember the NRA chanting its commandment. I am not a believer. These arms are not for hugging.
Arms galore at the army surplus store, I don’t know where in southern Indiana. Test ride of about 130 miles. Had to stop: 20 foot rocket sits there. ‘Get US out of the United Nations’ reads the billboard. Inside enough to deploy a division. Voice from behind jungle camouflage nets: ‘One of you is riding a decent bike’, it says. I am with a friend who ride an eighties BMW twin; must be that one. ‘It’s the Yamaha’, young guy explains, ‘my family runs the Fox Yamaha shop in Bloomington, they are the best.’ I get out unharmed when I tell him that that’s where I have my Yamaha served. Indiana license plates read: In God We Trust. In Fox I trust.
The final test ride to the restored West Baden Springs grand hotel rests my nervous mind. Southern Indiana road signs: deer crossing, Amish buggies crossing. Road flooded, no thruway. MS rides like never before. Whatever the Dixie Highway has in stock: she and I will be a good team.

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