September 18, 2012

Riding Daddy's Trail

He was 12 feet tall, a tower of a man, larger than life itself. The resonating boom of his spoken word trembled within me, filling my heart with romance only a 5-year-old girl could know. Thick, coarse hands ingrained with grease and cigarette tar scooped me up and sat me on his grimy, crusty Levied lap. Giggling and cuddling, every ounce of my tiny body was flooded with love, because Daddy was home.

He could do no wrong. He breathed whispers of kisses in my ear, hugging me tightly in his recliner. Wiping away the soggy lip leftovers from my neck, the laughter turned to a quiet hum as I slipped into the serene calm of Daddy's embrace.

"You're my darlin' baby girl and you always will be," he murmured, sending me to my own Baby Girl Heaven.

He had that magic touch, that enormous presence, that loving tenderness that filled my heart and left me always wanting more. To say I loved him would be less than scratching the surface. To say I was deeply in love with him would be on the right track.

I ache with longing as I write these words, 42 years later. I've spent the last 22 years remembering him, reliving and basking in all the memories he left me. No truer love there ever was. No greater loss I've ever known. No greater gift I've ever received than the love he filled me with, as it will sustain me for a lifetime.

The roar of a panhead still rushes my blood, skipping my heart a beat or two. While I know it's not him riding home again, my tiny 5-year-old heart waits for the rumble of his Harley to roll into the driveway. To smell his leather jacket, pull his boots from his tired feet, crush my tender cheeks into his worn Pendleton would be all the Nirvana I could hope for.

Perhaps it is in our blood, this sense of adventure, to mount my pony and ride like the Native American people from which we descended. Perhaps it's nothing but leftover wanderlust, breathed in from his skin while cuddling him years ago. My father found something on those roads. Without knowing, he left me with a legacy to seek the trail he blazed and find my own soul on the ribbon of asphalt that lie ahead. I have no preconceived notion of what I should find, nor am I looking for anything in particular. What exists out there may be just pavement, but whatever it is I mean to find out for myself. It can't be found from a steel cage on four wheels and it can be found in my own living room. When my soul connects to my motorcycle that connects to the road that I'm intended to ride, I'll be on my way.

I'm coming Daddy, I'm coming.

My Parents, deeply in love.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jack. I still feel I could never convey my love completely, but this is close. Even I understand my need to ride better now.

      One day, you and I must ride together, huh?


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