A Slice of Life
It was about this time in my life that I decided I needed a car to keep me warm in the winter, so I bought a very used 1940 Chevy Coupe. The plan was to restore the car as a “Street Rod” that would catch the attention of the “chicks” at the local A&W Root Beer Stand (teen hang-out) in the Nob Hill area of the Northeast Heights, on Central Avenue (US-66) there in Albuquerque.
The first thing I needed to do was to rebuild the engine. Of course, that took a lot longer than I had planned. While I was doing that, in my spare time, my trusty 1955 Harley Davidson Sportster was my main mode of transportation.
I had met DiVoran in, of all places, a Basic Typing Class during our senior year of high school (as I mentioned earlier my interest in school was waning by then). You might ask, “What motorcycle “Jock” would take a typing class?” And, I would tell you, “The kind that was just looking for an easy senior year last-choice course that didn’t require homework.” That was me. As it happened, DiVoran used the same typewriter I did in the next class.
As a quick prelude to this next incident, I would like to explain that, over the decades, when the wind blew from the west toward Albuquerque, some of the desert sand the wind kicked up ended up forming a “V” shaped sand dune at the edge of the Rio Grande River. This “V” shaped dune was approximately ¼ mile long and extended from the edge of the river up a 30+ degree incline to the top of the mesa. When the river was low (which was most of the time) there would be a small area, along the river, of hard dirt where the water had washed away the sand. One of the motorcycle sports, some of my school friends indulged in, was what we called “Pulling the River Bottom.” This involved riding our motorcycles from the mesa down to the bottom of that “V” shaped sand dune to the edge of the river. Then we would get up as much speed as we could, on that small area of hard dirt, and try to get back up to the mesa. It was always a challenge, and I had participated in this thrilling ride many times.
One night I took DiVoran to the River Bottom to show off my riding skills and have some romantic time in the moonlight.* Since I didn’t have a buddy seat, I sat on the gas tank and she sat on the seat with her arms around me (Now wasn’t that cozy?) and her feet resting on the foot pegs. I told her, “Hold on to me tight and try to use your knees as shock absorbers.” With the engine at full throttle, we hit 2nd gear, and the acceleration was trying to pull both of us off the motorcycle. It was all I could do to hold onto the handlebars. We hit a couple of small bumps as we started up the incline and her feet came off the foot pegs. When we hit the next bump, the seat spring sent her flying. The first thing I noticed was her arms coming unwrapped from around my waist… then I caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye going over the side and she was gone! I slammed on the brakes, stopping the motorcycle, killed the engine and ran back down the incline as fast as I could looking for her.
As I approached her, I noticed she wasn’t moving and I panicked. “Oh God, I hope she isn’t dead”. When I fell down on my knees beside her, I could hear her moaning and she was moving some. “Thank goodness!” I asked her if she was OK? (which of course she wasn’t) and she said, “I think so.” She had landed on her backside and it knocked the wind out of her. It took a few minutes for her to recover before we could walk up to the top of the mesa. Boy, was God ever watching over DiVoran and me that night!
—–To Be Continued—–