The Rolling Ghost

By Eilene Lyon

This evening I went out for happy hour with Ms. Pearlywhites. She recently got back from her annual visit to the family farm in upstate New York. It was time to catch up on what we’ve been doing with our summer, the lamentable state of our vegetable gardens, and where we should go wine-tasting in the future.

After our lovely visit at Eno, I started to drive home. As I turned the corner from the alley onto 7th Street, I saw a ghost. No, it can’t be!!

I drove around the block and parked the car. Yes, there she was…my 1984 Honda 250 Custom. I snapped photos to prove it.

The Putterer, ever the skeptic when I tell him anything like this, asked me if I found any identifying scratches. Hell, I wouldn’t remember something like that! But, I did have an old picture. What girl doesn’t photograph all her cars, motorcycles, etc.?

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My Honda 250 Custom after finally making it to Colorado in 1986.

I was attending school at Ohio State in Columbus, working on an accounting degree. I worked a full-time graveyard shift at the Hyatt Regency as the head night auditor to get work experience and pay my bills. My car, a 1971 Mercury Capri (yes, I have a photo of that, too), was completely unreliable. I should have just kept the ’74 Vega, but I was persuaded by the fine look of the Capri (all show, no go). Call me a sucker.

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The dreadful ’71 Mercury Capri. She’s a looker, but….

I decided I needed a new vehicle, something I could count on. A new car was out of reach, financially, but a new motorcycle…

Unbelievably, my grandpa Smitty, agreed to loan me the little bit I needed to make the purchase. How many grandparents do you know cool enough to help you buy a killer machine? My guy at the time, the Hoverman, was extremely jealous. I do believe it led to our breakup.

Instead, the Honda attracted Mr. Hemorrhoid, who became my fiancé. We became riding buddies, then rock-climbing buddies and one thing led to another. He was responsible for the fact I ended up in Colorado.

The CM250 not only got me to work, but we found time for a few leisurely jaunts through the Ohio countryside. Yeah, that was some easy-riding bliss.

Once I got brave and tackled the interstate. We rode I-70 west to Yellow Springs to visit a friend. Between the bruising to my chest from the wind, and arriving at my destination covered in nasty, black freckles, courtesy of an old schoolbus-turned-RV, I decided a windshield was a must-have.

When I left Ohio in 1985, the motorcycle was loaded onto the trailer-from-hell that only made it as far as Illinois, while I was destined for Oregon. A year later, my mom brought all the goods I’d left behind to my new home in Colorado and the bike and I were reunited.

But our love affair had run its course. I had been driving Mr. Hemorrhoid’s Kawasaki 750 and I knew my little 250 just didn’t have what it takes to rock’n’roll the mountain passes.

Around that time, I was taking some futile drawing lessons from an older gentleman artist I knew, Clint Taylor. I hadn’t had any luck trying to sell the bike, and he agreed to buy it from me. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and needed the money.

He almost immediately found a buyer and made a nice buck on the trade. (See my comment above about being a sucker!)

IMG_9426

A drawing by my friend, Clint Taylor

Now, 30 years later, my old friend shows her face again. She’s looking her age: crinkly, scratched, torn seat, missing parts. On the other hand, the fact that she’s still around and on the road attests to someone’s appreciation for her unique charms. I detect a gleam here and there. Ride on, dear old pal!

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The Honda as seen on the street in Durango, August 7, 2018. (Yeah, I’m getting a little choked up remembering the good times.)

13 thoughts on “The Rolling Ghost

Add yours

  1. My car, a 1971 Mercury Capri (yes, I have a photo of that, too), was completely unreliable. I should have just kept the ’74 Vega

    Wow! Shoulda kept the Vega, I couldn’t think of a worse insult to toss at a car…..other than shoulda kept the Gremlin. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have taken photos – but I’m not overly sentimental about my cars, however, I only learned to drive in my 30s, I’m not nostalgic over items I’ve only recently moved on from. What I don’t understand is people naming their cars! When my work colleagues do this I tell them that they are nuts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would not say that I am really sentimental about objects – though I was not happy when all my jewelry got stolen. I like my cars a lot, but when they’re gone, I don’t think much about it.
      For some reason, seeing the motorcycle yesterday just brought up a lot of memories in a very vivid, tangible way that just mere recollection wouldn’t do. It surprised me, and the memories are what I find I’m sentimental about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the way I see it. I’m always trying to pare down my possessions. Someday I want to live in a tiny house. I’ll just have to find other ways to conjure my happy memories.

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