"The Champ"

I learned early on that there was two things I could not do while living in my parents' house while I was growing up: play football or have a motorcycle. My parents made the point real cleat early on, and it was a non-negotiable.

(picture source: www.bestcars.com)

Around the time I turned 16-years-old and obtained my driver's license, my Mom acquired a 50cc Yamaha Champ which she quickly adorned with a white wicker basket on the handlebars that was complete with artificial flowers.

(picture source: kidscycle.blogspot.com)

After weeks of asking, she finally let me ride the scooter one afternoon but with one caveat, I could not take it on the street in front of our house. I could only ride it on the grass of our front yard. So, I started riding a long circle around our front yard and picking up a little more speed every lap. After about 5 laps, I turned a little too hot on pine straw in our yard and the little scooter dumped me. Sliding across the pine straw did no damage to me, however it did crumple the little white basket a bit. But fortunately for everyone involved, the white bicycle basket pressed back out into original design shape. Mom quickly forbid my brother or myself from riding the scooter anymore in the future.

A few weeks later, she encountered rain a couple of times and decided rain gear would be required. So, after much deliberation and consideration, she elected to purchase a yellow rain poncho.

(picture source: www.cpsc.gov)

One Spring afternoon, I was driving home from high school in a light mist. As I turned on the street to my parents' house, I met my Mom. She was riding her scooter, half helmet securely strapped in place and a bright yellow poncho flapping in the breeze behind her from around her neck.

On first blush, it reminded me of the cape of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz with the exception that my Mom doesn't look like the witch and her cape was yellow and the witch's cape was black. Regardless, all I could hear in my head was "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too!"

(photo source: filmfanatic.com)

Trying to be safety minded, I pulled my 1974 El Camino to the curb, put it in park, and laid down across the front seat and laughed until I cried.

I realized today on my ride home that this was my first experience riding a scooter/motorbike on my own. So, I guess Mom's 50cc Yamaha Champ has some piece to play in my love of motorcycles and riding. However, I do not have a Yamaha tattoo, a scooter, a flower emblazoned white basket, or a yellow poncho. I guess there were some lessons learned from the whole experience.

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