Saturday, May 24, 2014

Of True Bikers and Old Friends Now Gone

Warning: This post has nothing to do about horses, or dogs, or even my life as it is today. This is a story about my past, about who I was and few of the  people who touched my life.  It may not paint the best picture of me, but I won't apologize for who I was because it took being that person to become the person I am today.  It was never that I was a bad person....I was just different, and that is still true today.  So if you are interested or have nothing better to on.  I was going to post pictures but I cannot find them.

About 30 years ago, give or take a year or two, I went on a motorcycle run  in Gallinas Canyon NM.   I was with my very abusive ex-husband who I desperately wanted to get away from (but that is a different story).  Because I was with him I was not allowed to talk to anyone or enjoy myself. I only was allowed to wait on him and sit quietly by his side.

While watching all the festivities, my attention was drawn by one particular person.  He reminded me of some sort of fact he looked very much like the Minnesota Viking football Mascot. He was thin and wirey, longish blond hair, long mustache, that went down both sides of his face.   He was wild and crazy and obviously enjoying himself very much.  His bike was not fancy but it was cool, and had long leather streamers hanging from the handle bars.  Those streamers are pretty common now, but he was the first person I had ever seen with those on his bike.

The thing I remember most about him was the slow race.  Basically everyone would line up and try to go as slow as they could with out touching the ground with their feet.  But when ever they said "Go" , Viking guy would take off as fast as he could and do a big burn out kicking up all kinds of dust.  They restarted the race for him 3 times, and I remember the last time, the gal who was announcing said, "This is a slow race a$$h*!e"   He laughed and laughed and they finally kicked him out of the race.  I wondered what it would be like to be that carefree and happy.

I never spoke to this person, never knew his name, and never ever thought I would see him again, and really was not too awful concerned about ti.

About 6 months later I could no longer take the abuse and made a run for it.  I was never going back and that was final (I never did either- not willingly anyway, being kidnapped doesn't count)   I ended up in Apache Junction, and was looking for a job...any job.  I had a little experience bar tending so I pulled into a bar called The Maverick.  I needed to pee, was thirsty, and figured I'd see if I could get a job.

As I pulled into the parking lot my jaw dropped.  There in the parking lot of this bar, which I had never been to was a big grey 4WD International pick up. Hooked behind was a little travel trailer, and in the back of the pick up was a Harley. A black Harley with long leather streamers hanging from the bars.   I thought, "It has to be a different bike."

I walked into the dimly lit, low budget, not so nice smelling beer bar.  I waited for my eyes to adjust and glanced around the room, taking stock of who I was dealing with.  An old woman sat at one end of the bar with a beer in one hand, and a cigarette burning in the other.  There were several other less than savory looking characters bellied up to the bar, but there over to the left...there he was.  Viking Guy.

I went up to the bar asked for a coke, and then asked if they might be hiring for a bartender.  As it turns out the old woman was the owner, and she hired me on the spot.  Oddly enough, one of their other bartenders had just quit the day before.

After I finished my coke I walked up to Viking Guy and asked him, "Um Excuse me, but weren't you at the run in NM a few months back?"

He laughed that laugh, "Ha ha,  Ya I was there!"

In unison we both said, "Slow down a$$h*!e, its a slow race!!!"

We talked for a minute and then I said I needed to go and he grabbed my arm and said, "Wait, lemme smell ya."

I thought, "What the heck????"

He proceeded to sniff me up and down like an animal, which I have to admit, was weird yet arousing at the same time.

I guess I passed the smell test, because he then said, "I"m Harpo.  Who are you?"  I told him my nick name (Sam) and then he said, "You will be special to me."

"Um Okay."  But kind of felt the same way.  After all, he was special to me before I ever met him.

Thus began a long and wonderful on again off again relationship.  Harpo was one of those true free spirits.  He committed to no one or nothing except his bike.  He was a nomad,  a freak,  a loyal friend, and lover.  If we saw each other, our relationship was on, when we parted ways, our relationship was off. If we ran into each other and one of us happened to be with someone else that day, there was never hurt feelings or jealousy.   One day he was at the bar with another gal and I came in.  He called me over, and gave me a huge hug and a kiss. To the other gal he said, "Linda, this is my wife."   I laughed my butt off.  From that day forward I was known to everyone as his wife.  I think that is what he did to make sure no one else tried to lay claim to him or get to serious. I was the only woman he had ever met who accepted him for who he was and loved him for being just that...a biker in the true sense of the word.  He lived to ride and rode to live.  That was it plain and simple.

Before I go on with my story I want to interject something.  One of the most watched shows on Television right now is Sons of Anarchy.  I hate that show with a passion.   It has taken the biker persona and turned it into everything it was never meant to be.  The bikers I grew up knowing and loving would never do the awful things that are done on that show.  They were kind and caring people who had a great sense of adventure, crime was not something they accepted, nor was drug dealing, murder or any of that.  Which isn't to say they didn't partake of illegal substances on occasion, but it was not their main goal in life.  They were good people who lived by their own set of right and wrong, we did not call the police, and we did not do wrong to our fellow man. We lived our lives and let others live theirs.

Anyway, back to my story.  My 3rd day working at that same bar another person came in and sat down in front of me.  He ordered beer and introduced himself as Sparky.  I told him my name and then he took my hand and said, "I am leaving for Canada in a week, will you come with me?"

I said, "Sure, why not."

We never did go, but Sparky and I were in love.  I mean deep deep love and we wanted to be together so badly, but it was not meant to be.  I wish I could find the words to accurately describe the relationship we had.  I start to put the words down and it sounds just like the relationship that Harpo and I had but it was nothing like it.  I think because Harpo and I knew that we had no intention of actually being together long term, but Sparky and I talked about it often. We wanted it, but life kept getting in the way.  I know that doesn't make sense to most people, but our lives were chaotic...mine especially, and I guess I was a bit of a nomad myself.

So was my relationship with two of my most favorite people in the world.  Harpo and Sparky were, of course, very good friends and so our little triangle tittered and tottered through the years, and on into the next decade. It bounce from one side to the other and back again and we were all perfectly fine with how things were.  Eventually though we grew further and further apart physically. Harpo went home to the mountain top of Basalt CO, I fell deeper into my quest for self destruction, and Sparky had children with someone else and tried desperately to settle down and be the man they wanted him to be.

But it never failed, when I least expected it, or when I would see something that would remind me of one of them, I would get a phone call out of the blue. I would answer the call and a gravely voice would be on the other end, "Hey Sam, do you know who this is?"

"Of course I know who it is, who else would it be?"

It was always Sparky, and usually had Harpo in tow, as he went to CO to visit often.  Married life didn't suit Sparky very well, especially with someone he didn't even like, much less love.

We would talk and laugh and catch up.  Once in a great while they would show up on my door step and although I was no longer a lover to either of them, I still loved them just as much as ever, and they loved me as well.  One time when Harpo came to town they spent 3 weeks trying to find me.  Eventually they did and we spent the entire day laughing our butts off about the silly things we did when we were young.

One day I got one of those phone calls and it was Sparky once again, this time he was alone.  He told me that Harpo had cancer and it was bad.  Very bad.  There was nothing they could except dose him up on pain pills.  By now I had started rebuilding my life, and running off to CO, was no longer an option.  It hurt my heart to not be able to go to him, but Sparky assured me that he would let him know I wanted to come.

Several months went by and I got another call, it was Sparky again.  He had been in AZ and Harpo had called, he asked Sparky to come, he didn't sound good.  Sparky jumped on his bike and was there in a day.  He stayed by Harpo's bedside, his closest friend, with him while he passed.  Sparky told me the last thing he said to him, "Go find my wife and tell her that I love her."

That was during the week before Memorial weekend. May 22nd to be exact.

I heard from Sparky a few more times after that, always the call out of the blue, "Hey Sam, do you know who this is?"  I didn't even go by my old nick name anymore, but to him I was always Sam, and I was okay with that.

2 years later, I remember that I was sleeping and was woken up by something consistently brushing my face.  I got up to shut the window, but the window was closed, nor was the fan on.  I thought to myself, "Well that was odd." But then went back to bed.

The next day I got a call from a number I had never seen before.  It was Sparky's brother Kenny.  Sparky had passed in the night from complications of heat exhaustion combined with a couple of beer.

It was May 22nd to be exact.

So ended the relationship with two of my most favorite people to ever touch my life.  I will never forget the times I spent with these two special guys who showed me how to be free spirit, and who showed me what it means to love unconditionally, to love someone for exactly who they are.

I will always believe that it was Sparky touching my face as I slept that night.

Throughout the years that we spent together, bouncing in and out of each others lives our drink of choice was 90 weight peppermint schnapps.  (90 proof)  We called it chasing the spider.  The spider being the last little bit at the bottom of the bottle which seems to grow legs like a spider.

If you need me this weekend, I'll be chasing the spider.


  1. A couple of very special people indeed. You know, I think I would have liked you back in the day. I was talking to my husband just yesterday about how I have always been different- as he was too- we were both rebels in our own way. I had biker friends- not gang bikers, just guys who loved to ride and loved their bikes and yes, they were like you describe. Also can relate about the abusive relationship and need to get away- it takes some doing to get away, doesn't it? But I did, and you did.
    Betcha Harpo and Sparky were sitting right there beside you, chasin' that spider this weekend.

    1. Who Knew we had so much in common? :-)

  2. Makes one wonder what all the coincidences are supposed to mean huh? Especially May 22nd.

    I hope you find some photos. I imagine Harpo as a thinner looking Hulk Hogan only with sandy colored hair, not bleached.

    Beautiful tribute to your two favorite people.

    1. I am a firm believer that coincidence are rarely just random chance. There is always someone one I am supposed to meet, or something I am supposed to experience, and although the reasons why may take years to reveal themselves, they always do.

      I would say that Harpo didn't not look anything like Hulk Hogan, but if you took the Minn Vikings Mascot and made him into a real person, that would be Harpo. I used to french brain his hair into two braids, which on some would look stupid but on him...was perfect. Sparky was completely different looking than Harpo. He had dark curly hair which was usually kind of long and messy, but not dirty, just all over the place. He was blind as a bat without his glasses, and walked kind of funny from an accident he had as a child, but man was he built like a son of a gun!

      I'm sure I have those pictures somewhere, and spent a long time digging yesterday, but only found pics of Harpo's bike.

  3. I can totally relate as I know a couple guys, best friends of course and yes. Out of the blue, I get those phone calls too. Nothing like it and I wouldn't trade anything for them either.

    Sorry to hear about Sparkys passing and yes, it was very likely him brushing your face to say goodbye. I'm sure him and Harpo are riding together in Heaven, waiting for the day you join them.

    Even if you don't find the pictures to post, you have a whole album of them in your mind. They can't ever be lost. (((((Hugs)))))

  4. I'm so sorry Sparky is gone... It has to be difficult to lose someone as special as he is to you. Thank you for sharing the story. It doesn't make you look bad at all. It's a very sweet story and I'm glad everything turned out well for you. My best friend is in a similar abusive husband situation so it's good to hear that some people do manage to escape. Hugs!

  5. Wow! such an amazing bond you had with those two eagles(its all I can compare that type of person to) They sound like just what you needed and when you needed them. I too believe that feeling was your friend saying goodbye. I have never watched sons of anarchy, just not interested, I too knew some bikers in my day, and i have to say while I have never been that free a spirit,I envy those who are and can be.I also "get" the nobody commits nobody gets hurt" thing . I toasted just such a man in my life who passed away far too young just a year ago. Funny how some bright lights burn out so quickly. Someday maybe you and I will meet and I can tell you about Tuff . I think you would understand. Cheers girl! I hope your celebration this past weekend of their lives and your kinship was what you and they deserve.

  6. They sound like some of the free spirits I knew in the French Quarter when I was a teenager. Wonderful drifters, so full of life! I am so sorry they've gone on without you. I firmly believe that those who are so much a part of us in our lives that we recognize them the moment we meet them, will be waiting for us as we move on from this life. You will see them again, and hold them more closely that you ever could in this world.

  7. Awww.. that was a good story. I was a nomad too, eons ago. The only thing that bothered me about the story was Peppermint Schnapps. Yuck.