J. Holley Watts
With all those bikes I expected deafening noise
but Rolling Thunder was neither rolling nor thunder.
It was mostly wait and purr.
Memorial Day 2005 was clear and windless
the first one in years where it didn’t rain,
just puffs of clouds in a bright blue sky.
I pulled into the area designated for cars and parked.
The pavement’s heat rose in waves in the noonday sun
and the vast expanse of all that chrome sat, shimmering.
I tried using my cell phone but couldn’t get through
so I decided to make new arrangements to get into the city
and reverted to an old transportation trick… I hitched a ride.
First, I made sure my Donut Dolly helmet was visible.
Then I strolled around the area looking for friendly faces
and eye contact. Got it. I was ready.
I walked gingerly toward the group of vets and asked,
Hey, how are ya? Where are ya from? adding,
Anyone got an extra seat? I need a ride.
Absolutely, came the answer.
Thankfully, some things never change.
We made our introductions and I became a biker babe.
The bikes started moving out slowly and I climbed on board.
When we pulled on our helmets I got a lot of smiles and waves.
The noise was so loud and deep I felt as if I’d swallowed it.
We slowly snaked up and over the bridge leaving the parking lot
with hundreds of us moving in jagged rows three and four deep.
On the road before the merge lane we came to a halt.
We waited… and waited.
We climbed off our bikes and walked around.
This time the bodies on the ground in the sun and shade
were only victims of bottleneck and three hours of boredom.
Occasionally a bike kicked in and we watched them
turn and head back to some place that was more fun
than not moving at all.
I opted to leave and continue with the plans I’d already made
so I said my goodbyes and walked back to my car,
my helmet now in my canvas tote.
This Donut would be back next year.
Despite our circumstances, it occurred to me
that we’d done exactly what was intended for Memorial Day—
We honored our friends and loved ones
with memories, stories and laughter……… in peace.
©Copyright 2005 by J. Holley Watts