Sunday, October 5, 2008



This Sunday afternoon, it was my hidden thrill to be a part of (other than apart from!) a group of 100 two-wheeled motor vehicles, usually known as "Hawlees", or Harley Davidson(s). One of these vehicles was a motor scooter (mine). The destination today was Bonita Springs, FL. There, we joined in the celebration of a man's life.

Tim G. was a "do-it" type of guy, into everything associated with alcoholism recovery--he was "a part of"...
Tim was killed back in August 2008, when a truck broadsided his "Hawlee". He was a very active member of several groups in Naples, did the jail and treatment center scenes, sponsored guys, attended many meetings, and was truly loved by all who knew him, and many who did not.

His wife, riding her own Harley that day, was involved in the same accident and severely injured. She only recently recovered enough to host a memorial celebration service for her husband. In typical Alanon fashion, she had Kleenex boxes strategically located to catch alcohol-free tears which were flowing throughout the ceremony.

It was impressive to me, a first-timer, adhering to the almost exciting command, "KICK-STANDS UP!" at 1:15 PM sharp. It was almost as with one click, stands were locked in place and engines roared. I kept feeling lots of hot air on my legs, blowing like engine puffs, and I recall thinking, "Oh wow, how embarrassing for the only motor scooter (mine) to be disabled before we got out into the heavy traffic.

I yelled my problem to the fellow next to me, and he pointed for me to look at the huge twin pipes on the monster several yards in front of me. Sure, it was his exhaust--puff...puff--which was making my trouser bottoms flap and blow as if in a hurricane.

We were instructed to go neither fast, nor slow, but reverently, and emergency flashers were on. Question: How do you make a Harley ride reverently? Answer: You pray that the guy close behind you at 61 mph is also working a good program of recovery. (I made that up, that's why it ain't very funny!)

The point here was that I was made to feel so much at home. These bikers, dressed in holey-kneed jeans are just not as rude and gruff as they seem--and they DO smile and laugh! But they seldom let 'normal' people see that side of themselves.

At one busy cross-street, the guy next to me and I were caught at a stop light, no way to run it. Besides, there were 50 bikes behind us--and 50 bikes in front of us (sound like a joke?). It dawned on me that he and I were now leading the split-off section. So I told him I'd never led a convoy before (hell, never even been IN one!), and this huge, muscle-bulging man said he's never led before either! So, we did the 'job', with superlative maneuvering and directing.

However...I confessed to him that I didn't know where we were going, that it would be up to him. That's when he said HE didn't know either, where we were headed. All we knew was the name of a church in Bonita. But, we did get us all there, in spite of our novice-like approach.

This was for me, another in a long list of God-shots in sobriety, which I would never have contemplated when drinking. No one else would have contemplated asking me to join them either!

All 300-400 people said the Serenity Prayer, and it gave me that sort of 'rush' you get when at a conference or convention of 20,000, all saying our usual stuff. It was goose-bump time.

I've been to dozens of AA funerals spanning years of "membership", and I do not say it lightly, that this one was the first which was actually FUN. Thank You, God, for a safe, fun, ride. A biker cannot ask for more.


Syd said...

It sounds like a great celebration of the man's life. A very reverential but down to earth celebration. Glad that you were there.

Kristin H. said...

I'm sorry to hear of your friend passing. I have a special place in my heart for AA bikers. I love me some two wheelers ;)

That was an amazing story and I'm so glad you were able to be a part (as opposed to apart!) of it. That's the gift of sobriety.

TraceyBaby said...

WOW....300-400 people saying the serenity prayer at once. That would give me chills for sure.

Bikers don't intimidate me. Neither do people, kids, in the inner cities roaming the streets, homeless people, rough looking people, etc. I have had to spend alot of time in these neighborhoods being an advocate for my sons.

Shadow said...

i've been in a biker procession before. it feels wrong to say, but it's awesome. this is a beautiful story. sorry about your friend!

Lou said...

What an amazing tribute. That says alot about him also. We should be so lucky to leave so many friends.

~Tyra~ said...

Wow, I bet hearing that many people say the serenity prayer was awesome.

AlkySeltzer said...

Tyra, a "High Power" posted the Serenity Prayer on two of those big 'church-type' screens--just in case someone there was a 'beginner'...or an old-timer who can't remember sh*t.

oldtimer-a-roni -grin-

Akannie said...

Hiya, wheel-a-roni...

Wow. What a loving tribute for Tim and what a comfort you all must have been to his poor wife.
The circle of life continues. What a blessing Tim got to leave here sober, and leave such a loving legacy in his wake.

Zoom,zoom...wish I could have seen you. Do you have a Hog as well, or do you ride a Vespa? I was never clear about that...is it a picture of YOUR bike (or your dream bike?)

I love reading your posts. I can't figure out how to list my other blog on blogspot-can you help me?

Happy Monday!

Molls said...

I can't stop smiling over this one. I wish I could have seen your motor scooter in there with those Harleys.I bet it was an awesome scene.

Zanejabbers said...

I love those goose bump feelings. It is spiritual to me. What a wonderful sendup for your friends memory.

catholicandgop said...

I walked through a museum exhibit a couple weeks ago behind a bunch of Harley bikers who were vets. My Dad was volunteering at the museum that day and had a nice conversation with them. Changed my whole view of bikers. I don't have very negative views of vikers, but I do always think of them as gruff, but these guys were really nice and changed my view of bikers. This story did too, thanks.

Mary Christine said...

Your friend put "fun" back in funeral.

But seriously, you remind me of so many experiences I have had in AA. I came into AA, thinking I was a "high bottom" housewife alcoholic.. and started hanging out with bikers and finding I had so much in common with them. It was a good experience.

I saw one of my old biker boyfriends on Saturday. He is now 70 years old. But he is still dressed in leather. And still cleans his nails with his knife during the meeting.

AlkySeltzer said...

Oh my, Mary, that is just TOO MUCH! "Put the fun back in funeral--did you inherit this witty streak?

And, I hope your day went well--a long one, a busy one, now a tired one, but I bet ya feel good, even so!