More often than not, the stresses of daily life get to us all. We all end up with only a few dollars to carry us through until payday. We all “think” of how tough we have it, we all “think” we could have a better job, or better spouse or made better decisions in life. Not to say that some of that may or may not be true, but one of the simplest things we all forget to do is step back and take a look at our lives. I’m always reminded of that old saying I heard while growing up, “there’s always someone worse off than you!” How true that is! We so many times, forget how good we have it. Part of that is our instant gratification online lifestyle where we think we “need” everything we see and sometimes even think we “deserve” things.
Sometimes in life you have to think of someone else. Whenever I think the task at hand is tough or demanding, or that I am getting the short end of the stick I stop for a moment and think. I think about some poor coal miner back in the thirties and forties scraping by to make ends meet and raise a family only ending up owing his soul to the company store. I think of the millions that were out of work for years during the depression and had to scrape by on whatever they had, to make things last, to feed, clothe, and shelter a family. I think about those in our country and others who are born with nothing, grow up with nothing and die with nothing. I think of the single mother trying to raise her child with no help from anyone and the sacrifices that all parent put up with to raise their children. I remember wondering when I was a child why my father wore work boots with holes in them and a thin ragged coat while all the other guys he worked appeared so much better dressed for the cold weather they worked in. I was sometimes ashamed to have my friends see my father like that. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that his ragged boots and clothes were the cost of raising a family that he put first. He was the sole breadwinner in the family and the money only went so far. As a child I never realized that instead of being ashamed of my father I should have been proud. He went without so we could didn’t have to.
Each day I thank God for the things I have been blessed with in this life and the things so many of us take for granted each and every day. I have a job, a roof over my head, a car, food, heat in the winter, my health, a great set of family and friends, the ability to see the beauty and the ugliness in everyone I meet and know that everyone has both, the ability to know that I can choose to take what I want from every encounter and every situation I’m presented with in life and I can either choose to let it beat me down or lift me up by taking a lesson from it. So many of us never do that. We get up every day thinking how life sucks and what a raw hand we’ve been dealt and wanting more and more. How about waking up one day and being thankful for all you have and going through the entire day taking only good and doing only good and wanting NOTHING? It’s a tough challenge but as with anything if you do it for a day or two it might become a habit. Soon you’ll realize that your life has shifted in a monumental way you didn’t even know existed.
Being truly thankful makes you realize how blessed you really are and how lucky you are to have things in your life. When you’re feeling that grind of the daily job think, hey I could be a coal miner freezing my butt off in some mine, or a homeless person and your focus immediately shifts from one of attitude to one of gratitude. Instead of thinking of all the things you want to buy and how you don’t have enough money for them, think of all the things you have and begin to re-purpose things before you throw them out. Take a lesson from your ancestors who went through the Great Depression and WWII with very little gas, food, fuel for the home and other “necessities” and yet they made it through. Be thankful that you HAVE a television instead of wanting the fifty inch because the thirty two inch is so last year! Be thankful you HAVE a job that pays for the things you do have. Take a moment each day and look around you. Put yourself in those shoes who are much less fortunate than you and you’ll begin to be thankful and feel blessed.
Take a moment, change your life.
I hate to admit it but we are on the tail end of the summer season. Oh we don’t want to admit it, there’s still concerts to attend, picnics to have, places to go and things to do. Barely noticeable though is that change in the air in the late mornings of August. It’s not a chill, but it’s not the heat of June and July. It’s that slight notice that nature gives us letting us know that time doesn’t stand still and that there are things coming our way whether we like it or not. Those early August mornings of course lead to hot August days and nights and we soon forget about that little bit of dew on the grass we noticed that morning, or the bit of fog we spotted in the higher elevations on the way into work. We just brush it off as another beautiful August day and hope that it will be our endless summer.
The seasons changing are much in the same vain as our lives changing and just as you wake up one morning to that bit of August chill, you also look in the mirror and notice a new wrinkle or a little less hair on your head. It’s God’s way of reminding you that nothing lasts forever and we are all mortal. That’s not to be construed as being depressing by any means. A leaf that changes color from solid green to vibrant orange or red in the fall is more beautiful the older it gets. We seem to associate beauty with youth, but I would tend to disagree. Beauty, true beauty that is comes from inside and when we are young and innocent we haven’t the scars, and miles that life will give to us. We dread getting old and think of putting old people on a shelf somewhere. But if you’ve ever really sat and talked to an older person there is much to learn from them, they are the wise old owl, the old grizzly bear, the majestic lion, all rolled into one with wit, wisdom and a bag of experiences that we must cherish. We tend to want to put our elders in storage much like we’d cover up the BBQ grill and put the patio table away for the winter and take them out next spring when we need them. Instead we should be celebrating and cherishing their lives and memories and treating them like treasures.
Soon Labor Day will arrive and not too long after that our decks will be as deserted as an old West ghost town. Our windows shut to hold out the chilly fall and winter air. Our lives closed up inside four walls. There is a peacefulness to the fall that is like God’s way of giving us a transition between the heat of summer and the cold of winter. There is a beauty and a splendor all its own in the fall, a time to bundle up, talk a walk, and enjoy the falling leaves, the harvest, and the fruits of the summer. The big difference between life and the seasons is that summer will be back next year in all its heated glory, while we as humans once we go along won’t. The key here is to enjoy them both; enjoy the seasons, and enjoy the people in your life who are getting older and may not be around much longer. Don’t take them for granted like you do the seasons, thinking they’ll always be there; they won’t. Don’t say “Oh I’ll go see them tomorrow, or this weekend or next week,” make time, right now to harvest the wisdom of the people who are in your lives today.
The majesty of an old oak is breathtaking whether it’s viewed in the heat of summer or the chill of winter. So behold the oaks in your life.
I attended a car show yesterday and was amazed at the range of cars from the early twenties through some that just rolled off the assembly line last year. Therein lies my gripe, most of these shows are advertised as “classic” car shows and yet they allow cars that are one, two and three years old into the show. How are they classic cars? A broad definition taken from the Cars.com website offers the following:
All states waive certain fees and tests for vintage cars. Most states waive those same fees and tests for classic cars also. But determining whether you have a vintage or classic car can sometimes be confusing.
- Antique car. An antique car is a classification that is often set by state law. States often have a special type of license plate for these cars. For that reason they set rules stating what qualifies as “antique.” In most cases it is a car that’s over 45 years old. Generally the car should be maintained in a way that keeps it true to the original manufacturer specifications
- Classic car. This classification definitely overlaps with antique cars. The definition of classic car is actually quite similar to that of antique cars. A car must be at least 20 years old, but not more than 40 years old to be considered a classic car. It should again have been repaired and maintained in a way that keeps it true to its original design and specifications. In other words it should not be modified or altered. In addition, many add a stipulation that the vehicle should have been manufactured no earlier than 1925. For these reasons all classic cars are also antique cars, but not all antique cars are classic cars
- Vintage car. There is also overlap between vintage cars and antique cars. Some vintage cars quality as antique cars, but not all vintage cars are antique and vice versa. Different groups set different cut off points for what qualifies as a vintage car and what does not. Generally, cars that are considered Vintage were manufactured between the years of 1919 and 1930, but some end it at 1925. Unlike the other two classifications, having had modifications does not necessarily keep a car from being a vintage car
So the admittance to a “classic” car show of a car that bears the model year 2013, 2014, etc. boggles my mind.
The show I attended had a vast array of cars from hot rods, to restomods (which are cars that have an outer shell of a classic car but have modern engines, transmissions, interiors etc., to fully restored cars to bone stock vehicles and there was a couple of barn finds there. One that caught my eye was a 1925 Ford Model T that was found in a barn and was all original! Talk about a great find! It had rust and oil leaks and the owner basically got it running and brought it to the show. That a vehicle can stand the test of time like that amazes me. It amazes me still that there are still great barn finds out there lurking behind garage doors waiting to be opened!
I have a deep appreciation for anything mechanical, especially cars, trucks and motorcycles. While certain classes may not appeal to me in terms of owning one, I certainly can understand and appreciate the owner’s attraction and dedication to their certain class of vehicle. The dedication some people go to is incredible to either restore a vehicle to its former state or create a totally new vehicle based on the body, chassis, or motor of a certain year is amazing. Rat rods, hot rods, restomods, classics, antiques, they are all incredible to look it whether fully restored or right out the barn after sitting for fifty years. They all have the ability to magically transport you back in time to a time and a place when that car was in its prime.
I encourage everyone to check out at least one classic car show this summer and be prepared to be amazed and taken back in time for a bit!
Just finished reading this book and this quote was at the end of the book. Truly made me think of “people in power” I’ve worked with over the years and continue to work with.
"The constant assertion of masculinity is always the most obvious tell of a fake. You do not constantly assert what you know you have."
Matt Bondurant The Wettest County in the World
I am a biker, always have been, always will be. Whether or not I have a motorcycle or not is inconsequential to that fact. A motorcycle doesn’t make you a biker, it’s the rider that makes you a biker. It’s born into you and travels with you like an old familiar weary worn road map of places, experiences, and times spent in the saddle. Times change and in the past year I found myself riding less and less as all my old biker friends had either sold their bikes or didn’t ride anymore. I also found that when I did ride I experienced more angst than enjoyment while in the saddle, constantly watching out for that young person steering with their knees while texting with their hands (true story there) while totally oblivious to the world around them. That world included an old guy on a bike.
So it was with a great deal of thought and reflection that I decided to sell my Harley. It wasn’t as if I was now going to jump on the other side of the divide and become a “cager” as car drivers are known to bikers, and start spouting rhetoric about how unsafe motorcycles are. A car, bike or any vehicle for that matter is only as safe as the person operating it. There is an old saying that there are two types of bikers, those that have gone down and those that will go down. Thank God in my many years of riding I’ve never gone done, although I’ve come very close many times. The bottom line no matter how careful you are and how safe you ride the motorcyclist always loses in an accident. Many people ask me why I was selling the bike and I took some grief from people about it, which I’m okay with. It was a personal decision based on my years of riding and where I am in my life now.
Riding a Harley is the best therapy there is! I’ve ridden many miles and experienced sights, sounds, and joys that few people will ever see, hear or experience. I am grateful to God for allowing me to experience all of that. But it’s time for me to move on, to get out of the saddle for who knows how long. John Wayne will always be immortalized as a cowboy whether he was on a horse of not. I will always be a biker at heart and understand the thrill of the engine between your legs and to experience the ride which is as close to flying as a human can get. I may get another bike someday, I may not, time will tell. But for all the passengers I’ve had on my bikes over the years I am glad we arrived safely wherever we were headed, and I took getting you there safely as a task I honored and took great pride in. For all the people I’ve ridden with over the years through rain, sun, and yes sometimes cold and snow we are bonded together forever by the road.
My bike has sold and is going to Italy of all places! But it has been a trusty steed getting me where I needed to go always physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s now time for the bike to give that pleasure to someone else. The road truly does go on forever and I will forever be a biker.