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Cold Wrenches

  • April 14, 2011 1:13 AM PDT
    Through the days of this passing cold season I had only a couple occasions that required the use of tools at home. I generally don’t like to fire up the heater in the garage too often unless a long stint in the garage justifies keeping it on long enough to warm the tools to the point that they no longer sweat. But now as the days are getting longer and the mercury is reaching for it every day, I have been out there getting the machines ready.
    It’s been a year now since we were in the middle of the epic restoration of last winter. The grandeur of the endeavor was not so much the bikes themselves as they are humble machines, but the memories I wrote about making back when I was a more frequent flier on this site. So when I reached in a few weeks ago and grabbed that first cold wrench to work on a bike, alone in my garage, the memory of the preceding year washed over me as the hard chill of the steel stiffened the skin.
    While the fluorescent lights buzzed as they warmed, the heater was popping in protest as it started to glow and while finishing the cup in my hand I started swelling inside. The ammo can on the shelf that was converted to a portable tool box for the Bowling-Green Meet and Greet reminded me of the new friends the last few months events have caused me to lose contact with. The names on my cabinets, hand scribed with Sharpie’s, remind me of the spontaneous visits, the minutes before a ride while the bikes were warming and some people who have moved on to other missions in life that has taken them far from our venue. Sometimes my kids take a few seconds looking at the names and I’m glad they are remembering the souls whom we have met, who left their mark.
    Sitting down on my stool, I can see the texture of the machines my family helped me resurrect. The small imperfections from little hands mistakes; the pinstripes from a man named Taco; the small skull that used to be an earring and is now dimmer-switch adornment; the minute physical characteristics that serve as milestones… points of reflection, learning, yearning, laughing and crying.
    The privacy of winter life bore intimate moments that I hold in reserve, private aspects of my life when my family lives almost as hermits, venturing out, sometimes exclusively, for necessity only.
    As the wrench warms in my hand I feel the muscles in my face that knead the skin into a grin. The season is here. I can see you my friends. And the necessity of feeding the soul will bring us from our homes, jobs and downtrodden expanses of cold days when you yearn to live. I know soon I will feel the wind on my skin, the laughter of a child on my back seat as I press their backs into the sissy bar with a roll on the throttle, my wife looking over from her machine as she tucks back into my lane after passing the cage I first overtook.
    While not on empty, my “tank” is ready to receive replenishment. So I’ll wield my wrench with concentration and precision and replace it in its drawer where it will again become cold and static, unlike my soul, my family, my friends……my life.
  • April 14, 2011 1:56 AM PDT
    Good to see you back DEFCON>
  • April 14, 2011 2:25 AM PDT
    Whats up James!! Oh yea!! Glad to have talked to you last night and also to have met and rode with you last summer. Joann and I have fond memories of the times we and all the Findley Crew got together for a great time and meeting your fantastic family! My Brother, we are sure looking forward to this year and continuing those times. See you all very soon!!
  • April 14, 2011 5:14 AM PDT
    Well, I got me one of them desk jobs and will have a few minutes here and there to get back on here.....Where's the "Dragon"? Who else from the old crew is still here?
  • April 14, 2011 8:46 AM PDT
    Good to see ya back winter has been way to long!
    • 835 posts
    April 14, 2011 11:09 AM PDT
    Hey James, great story! Its amazing how out of no where we just start thinking of old friends and good times!
    • 0 posts
    April 14, 2011 5:35 PM PDT
    Gday knackers good to see you still baffle the shit outta me with those bloody big words and stuff.Dont worry about me im still comfortably numb mate..CHEERS BOOF..W.T.F.B.M..
    • 580 posts
    April 15, 2011 3:21 PM PDT
    Welcome back from your winter hibernation Defconand as usual you did it in style - brilliant story. Hugs (o: