Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nothin' Could be Finer

...than to be in Carolina in the morning. At least, that's how the folk song from elementary school went. Or were we the only ones that learned that song?

So it was that we took off with Mom and Dad for a ride to North Carolina, by way of Tennessee. To really sweeten the pot, my brother was going to head west out of Richmond (yes, Lydia, I know you live in Chesterfield. I'm generalizing) and meet up with us on the way down for what was expected to be a long weekend full of good times.

In the week leading up to it, however, we were beset by a progressively worsening cascade of maladies starting with a miserable forecast, and culminating in Donna's emergency root canal 20 hours before our scheduled departure. She walked into the house wacked on Vicodin and unable to move her jaw. By then the forecast was 4 straight days of rain. Disappointed, I reluctantly called Dad and cancelled. It was his trip, and he was more disappointed than either of us.

Donna, being the most stubborn person I ever met, called him back 10 minutes later and said, "mmph rrph erbim glurbin rurrer," or words to that effect, which it turns out translate to "don't listen to this idiot, we're going. See you at 8."

We got exactly one block before pulling into the repair shop behind our lot to put on our rainsuits. At the other end of the state, it was pouring as we pulled in for our first gas stop. We did actually have them off when we met Bryan in Virginia, but it wasn't long before we found ourselves under another gas station canopy, joining a few other groups of riders in an impromptu rain gear fashion show. It's also where we had a good laugh.

One of the things I love about our family, and that definitely includes Donna and by extension her ex's Dad, is that we're all motorcycle people at our cores. We understand what it is to be exposed to things that most people never will, and it's part of us. When I rode up to their house to work on Katrina's car, and a thunderstorm had just rolled through as I was packing up to leave, my Mom didn't freak out and tell me I was crazy. She said, "Be careful. Do you need to borrow my clears?" Of course, I had a pair of clear lenses with me and off I went. But that's how we are. So, there in a rainstorm off I-81 in Virginia, when Bryan opened his "rainsuit" bag to find... his bike cover, it had been a long time since I saw Mom laugh that hard. Priceless. We'd do what we needed to keep him from freezing to death, but that moment was a family heirloom.

We did ultimately make it to our planned stop in Johnson City, TN late in the day and just in time to see a rainbow arching over our hotel. As we got off the bikes, you could see the street beyond us dry, and actually see the line where the rain behind us caught up and stopped with us. When we get old, we will have a lot of stories to tell.

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