Valentine's Day... the one day a year where that a funny looking little cherub flies around and shoots us with his love arrows to make sure we are either falling in love or staying that way with our committed significant others. A day to show the love of your life, just how much they mean to you and to let them know how much you appreciate them. I have a Valentine's Day story that will make you weep... well, maybe not weep, but you'll definitely feel the pain (after your laugh your ass off!).
In a previous "REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" post... the one where I purchased my first motorcycle (the Suzuki 800 Intruder), I mentioned something about my bike getting home being a... "whole 'nuther story", and my hubby's testament of true love for me. Well, Cupid must have been behind on his love quota that year, 'cause that can be the only explanation as to what came over my very sensible and sometimes uncompromising husband on February 18th, 2006. A leftover stray arrow from Cupid's love bundle... right between the eyes. Oh dear...
It was a cold and cloudy February day, but I was very ansty to get going. After all, I was going to buy my very own motorcycle and I was so excited! In typical fashion, Harley decided to play his favorite little game of "Antagonistic Procrastination" that morning before we left the house. The one when he pretends to look at the coffee pot and says, "gotta check to see if we turned off this." And picking up his jacket and helmet in a verrrrry leisurely fashion, "Probably gonna need that." He loves to tease me incessantly when he knows it's a 99% probable chance, that under no circumstances during that time will he get in trouble for doing so.
We finally left the house and got to Troy, AL about an hour later and found ourselves negotiating the deal for my 2001 Suzuki 800 Intruder. Harley had already taken it out for a little test ride and came back with the good news that he didn't see any reason for it not to become mine. During the course of the transaction process, the sales dude kept taunting us with the fact that we could just go on and take the bike home right then, even though we already told him we would return for it next Friday with a trailer to transport it back to Montgomery. Being a newbie, I wasn't ready to tackle 48 miles of 4-lane on my first ride.
This must have been when Harley got struck by one of Cupid's wayward love arrows, because the next thing we know, he's decided he will ride the bike home for me and I will follow him in our truck. Woo Hoo... that's my sweetheart! He could tell it was killing me to accept the fact that my new beauty was going to remain here for another week before I could begin my practice rides on her, and this was his way of making up for our little game of "A & P" earlier that morning. Even though it was gray and overcast, at 48 degrees, Harley figured he could handle the ride home in the minimal gear he had.
So here we go... my big ol' loving husband sitting astride my little Suzuki 800 (which looked unnatural in itself) while I followed in Big Blue (our F150). Even though the weatherman said we only had a 35% chance of rain that day, we didn't get ten miles out of Troy before I saw the first light drops hit the windshield. Oh, oh. I prayed to the rain Gods... "Please don't rain yet!" For a few miles it didn't seem to do anything but sprinkle and drizzle. I figured if it doesn't get any worse than this, we're good.
Ten more miles up the road, however, and the sprinkles turned into a steady and somewhat heavy rain. In a matter of moments, I watch my hubby's large silhouette shrink down significantly into a small ball, kind of like one of those little rolly polly's only with arms and legs. I watched as he tried to hide himself behind the windshield to keep from being pelted with the falling daggers of rain. Seeing as how the bike was so light, the wind was whipping him around pretty wildly too. Knowing what I know now about riding a bike in the cold and rain, my hubby was getting very uncomfortable with the predicament he's found himself in.
All of a sudden, I see his blinker come on and he's pulling over, into an old abandoned gas station a little less than halfway home. I pulled the truck in beside him and wondered what he was going to do. He hopped in the passenger side and said... "Turn on the heat!" Poor Harley was soaked and freezing. He had no gloves and no rain suit and he was so cold he was beginning to stiffen up. I kept apologizing for the awful conditions, and he would just look over at me and say... "You owe me."
"Yes, yes dear... I know! Whatever I can do to make it up to you," I kept saying. I asked him if we should just turn around and take it back, but by that time, even though we were not quite half way, he had the choice of going back 20 miles, or forward for 28. Didn't seem like it made much sense to go back. So... forward we go.
Keeping my distance but making sure no one positioned themselves between us, I kept following Harley as we made our way toward Montgomery. At the risk of sounding like I'm repeating myself, again he crouched up into a ball and did his best to keep from weaving all over the roads from the cold windy rain. A few more miles up the road, I saw it again... the blinker.
This time when Harley jumps in the truck I notice how bad he's shivering. I'm getting worried now and suggest we just leave the bike parked where it's at and we'll come back and get it. At this point, we were probably only 12 or 13 miles from home. Harley just shook his head and said, "If I c-c-c-an just th-th-th-thaw out a li-li-li-tt-le bit. I c-c-c-can p-p-p-probably m-m-make it." We had the heat on full blast as he held his ruby red digits right up to the vents trying to get them to uncurl. We sat in silence for a few moments letting the heat circulate through his body when he looked over at me and reminded me once again... "You owe me."
Yes... I owe him. That was probably one of the most miserable rides Harley has ever had to endure and what he did for me that day was above and beyond the call of duty as a husband. We could have returned the next week and all would have been just as grand, but he knows how it feels to become the proud owner of your first motorcycle and he wanted me to be able to enjoy it as soon as I could. Thank you honey!
Happy Valentine's Day Harley! After 30 years, your still my sweetheart, my knight in shining armor, and the rock that holds me steady. I love you!