When I was a young girl there was a man who would come see my parents - Daddy called him Shorty but Mama called him Herman. He was Daddy's third or fourth cousin and had always been close to my parents. One summer day when I might have been 11 or 12, he came to see Daddy on a really big motorcycle - I could feel the vibrations as he rumbled up into the driveway and I rushed out the back door to see what the noise was all about. Here was this very short man with the craggy face on this big beautiful machine! I kept standing around looking at the motorcycle while they talked and Herman asked me if I wanted him to take me for a ride. I know this will be so hard for most people who know me now to believe, but I could be quite shy as a young girl but I spoke up and looked at Daddy and said YES! He asked Daddy if it would be okay and Daddy said - "Well, okay, but you know what will happen to you if you don't bring her back exactly like you left with her." That was Daddy's way of saying you had better drive safe! So I climbed on (I was 5'8" when I was thirteen so I was already a tall girl for my age and my legs were much longer than his) and off we went with my hair flying in the wind like a flag (days before helmets too). We never talked, we just rode. After about 30 minutes, he brought me back home and I said thank you and went back in. I was hooked! A few months later, he showed up in Kittrell at one of our family reunions and when I walked over with all my cousins to look at the motorcyle, he asked Daddy if he could ride me back home and Daddy said YES! Of course, he also warned him again - Daddy was quite protective of us so it spoke worlds of how much he thought of Herman to allow me to do this. So - how do you think I felt with all my cousins watching me ride off on the back of that monster - Wow - I felt so free! We went flying down Highway #1 on that big machine and I loved it! This is his first motorcycle - I don't know who the young girl on the bike is but I was about that age when I started riding with him. I just remembered; I also always wore sunglasses.
Over the years - every so often, I would hear the big machine stop in front of our house and I would run to the door and see him stopped on the road. I would yell back into the house - "I'm going riding with Herman!" and off I would fly across that big front yard and hop on the back and off we would go- sometimes for about 30 minutes and sometimes longer. I can't tell you how many times I might be dressed for a date and he would drive up and I would yell out - wait a minute, rip my dress off, throw on pants or shorts and fly out the door yelling to Mama to tell my date I would be back in a few minutes and off we would go. I would come back with my hair all over my head (we were teasing and using hair spray by then) and fly back across the front yard, run a brush through my hair and throw my dress back on and off we would go on the date. I don't know why but they never complained about having to wait for me. Mama was good at keeping them entertained I guess. I received my share of burns from the hot tailpipe (still have the scars) but nothing could keep me from those brief stolen moments of freedom with him. When I got my license, he tried to get me to drive his big Harley on the highway but I said no. I did drive a smaller motorcycle one day after I was married (had on my dress, hose, heels and had just gotten off work) but when I cut a wheelie on it, Big D pretty much made me swear off driving motorcycles. Herman never liked my boyfriends very much until he found out I was dating Big D - turns out they had worked together in a garage and they liked each other a lot. He was very much in favor of us being together and always let us know how much he cared for us. We both loved him very much - Still Miss You Herman.