The Biker
By Terrie terrie12756@hotmail.com

When you see us moving past you quickly:
Don't take offense or think we're trying to "show off". Ninety five percent of the time, we're trying to get
out of your blind spot or taking ourselves out of a potential dangerous situation that has evolved
around us. Distancing ourselves from you does not mean we want to race, but that we're giving
ourselves the edge we need at the moment.
When you hear our horn:
Don't take offense or think we're trying to aggravate you. All we're doing is letting you know where we
are in relation to you on the road, and we're more than likely aware of your inattentiveness to us while
You're talking on a cell phone, eating, reading or involved in some other distracting aspect to your
driving. It's important to us, and you, that you know we're there.
When you hear our loud pipes:
Don't become angry and hostile toward us. Yes, some are quite loud, but for some, there's a purpose
behind being loud. It's about letting you know we're close by and we're constantly hoping that our
investment in this accessory will help save our lives. Our pipes are really not about our ego...it's a Pride
and Personalization to our form of transportation.
When you see us in our clothes:
Don't become fearful of us or think us weird. Our leather jackets, chaps, gloves and boots are the
barriers between loosing massive amounts of flesh should something cause us to go down...nothing
more, nothing less. Safety gear is paramount to our riding. We wear patches on our jackets, and pins on
our vests. These are symbols of pride and honor within our group(s), Individuals giving back to those
who gave. These things bond us as a Brotherhood and Sisterhood among bikers. Not that we're better
than anyone else, but that we have the same kind of nobility and pride in our accomplishments as you
may have in the various aspects of your life. I guess one could say; our patches and pins are the decals
and the bumper stickers of our involvement with society and the general public, of which we are very
pleased to be a part of In our own little way.
When you see us in a restaurant:
You don't have to shield your child or feel intimidated. We have family, wives, husbands, children and
loved ones too, just like you. We smile; we laugh And enjoy the moments we have. We are approachable,
and would befriend you, if given the opportunity.
When you see us in a parking lot:
Don't convince yourself that we're there to "get you". More than likely, we Just finished a long ride and
are taking a break. Or, we may be meeting up with other riders for a charity run for young children, or
another very Worthy Cause. We may just be admiring one another's bikes, sharing our pride with other
brothers and sisters, just like you do with your personal vehicle. It's what we do...it's a part of our lives,
and we'd be more than welcome to share with you what riding a bike is all about...if you'd only ask.
When you see aggressive riding bikers:
Don't put us all in the same stereotypical category as those whose behavior and actions would cause
you to react in disgust and intolerance. Many of us do not agree with this style of riding either, and we
know and understand that human nature tends to blend us all together as the "same group". Most of us
don't want that title...and don't deserve it.
When you see a group of bikers on the roadways:
Give us the courtesy of sharing the road with you. Please don't "move in" between several bikers in
formation. This gets us very excited and nervous, especially when it's done with no due regard for Our
Safety. Provide us with your awareness of the fact that we are much more vulnerable than you. We don't
want to challenge you, for all of us are wise enough to Know...we'd lose that battle.
When you are turning left or entering a roadway/highway:
Look, then look again...and then one more time. For we can be easily hidden, and appear to be invisible
by such things as a telephone pole, another Vehicle, bright lights or the glare of the sun...or possibly,
the beads hanging from your rearview mirror, among numerous other items that are displayed there. If
you see us flashing our lights at you or blowing our horn, we're only trying to ensure that you will see us
before tragedy changes both our lives.
When you are behind us:
Please give us the room we need and don't tailgate us. If you hit us, we're going down...HARD! We don't
want to play games with you, we just want to enjoy the ride and the fresh air, and experience that which
many of you have never lived for. If we accelerate away from you, don't interpret this action as though
we want to drag race you. We're only trying to take ourselves out of a bad situation if you insist on being
too close.
When, and if, you experience road rage:
Don't take it out on us just because we're smaller than you and more vulnerable. Think about what you're
doing and the end result that may become a reality. The consequences of your actions and choices
could be very detrimental to our well being, our families, our children and our loved ones. Yes, there
are those that can tend to piss you off, however, rage towards them will not solve the issues, but
accentuate them. Nine out of ten bikers will do everything they can to take themselves out of that
situation without causing you or them harm.
When you have an opportunity to talk to us:
You'll discover, outside any influenced or stereotypical mindset you may have, that we are just as human
as you are, just with different interests and toys. Many of us would give you the shirt off our back if it
would tend to brighten your day or console you in some way. We're really no different... and we drive
cars, trucks and vans too. So, meet us and greet us...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised that you'll be
met with open arms.
Thank You for attempting to understand.
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The House

By Ruth Brunner Sisson, 1926-2005
Echoes! Of our house on the hill
Echoes of children's laughter
Footsteps retreating
Passageways empty
Rooms, denuded of the past.
They-we-are gone.
The house is empty.
Memories remain in our hearts,
Whispering through our minds,
Echoing what is gone,
Enveloping us within the future.
The House.
It sleeps, waiting
A new footstep - another's laugh
New life
A new beginning,
Their house on the hill.
Death of a Snowman
By Steven Mackie
Snowflakes flutter and turn and fall before my eyes. The children’s laughter is as comforting to me as the tickle of
flakes upon my head. My head? Is it in place? Yes, of course; I can see. But I can’t see the children. Not yet.

My weight is overwhelming, yet I perceive that I can move if opportunity presents itself. I can’t see what is directly
below my head, but something is there. I can feel it. Flashes of yellow and red angrily meet my eyes when the wind
blows. The flashes distract me, incongruous with my white world. Beyond the white stands a house. A man strings
lights across a fence. He frightens me, for I sense he is my enemy. If I remain still, he’ll ignore me, at least for the
time.

I feel something enter my side. It’s my arm. There is some pain, but once in place, it’s wonderful. Wonderful
because it’s part of the world in which I now live. It’s a bough of the great oak that looms above me. Laughter
continues. A wave of black passes in front of me, then white again. Something’s on my head now. It feels nice.

Yes, now I can see the children. They are running, jumping, smiling. They adore me. Their wedge-like hands bring
me vigor as they sculpt a more defined shape, a more defined me. I wonder what I look like. Surely not like the
children, for they are perfect. More like my enemy, I suppose. But this doesn’t trouble me, for it is magnificent now.
My world is white and cold and good. My world is magic.

Time passes, and white periods give way to spells of cerulean. The blue periods are welcomed, for this is when I
move. I travel effortlessly, despite my weight, sliding along a blanket of my very medium. Normally these are short
jaunts, but some blue periods beckon for me to go further than I feel safe going. These are the times when the
trees talk to me, encouraging further exploration, further freedom.

“Why stop now?” they sometimes ask. “Seize this time, my friend, for it will be fleeting. Feel the air, the night. Is it
not good to move?”

I sense envy in them when they speak to me, though I don’t know why.
A new blue period now arises and I begin to stir. I make it to the edge of the woods and a giant sycamore says to
me, “It must be good to see new things. Can you tell me what lies beyond the stream?”

I try to answer the tree, but I don’t know how. I want to describe the beautiful hills beyond the stream and the larger
river beyond. But as the silence hangs in the air like an arctic fog, the old sycamore’s limbs droop and I instantly
understand why the trees envy me. I turn and go back to my home under the oak. For this blue period, at least, my
exploration is not much fun. I sneak beneath the oak back home, ashamed that I’d carried with me two of his
boughs. The oak feels my presence and I tremble. I expect a gruff word or two, but instead he extends a few more
boughs out over my head. “Nice to have you back,” he says.

At first sign of white, my enemy emerges. He glances my way, yielding a bitter mien that heightens my distrust. He
climbs in his vehicle and departs. It is then that I rest. I reflect on how and why my miraculous existence came to
be. Was it the children’s touch that awakened me? I suspect not; there seems to be a more basic truth that is
common among all things. The contemplation of these matters is too much to bear, but I do it nevertheless.

As the white periods grow longer and longer, my makers and my fuel visit less frequently. White begins to wane,
and foreign colors swell. I feel stiff and tired and hard.

Oh, how I now long for the blue periods! Not to travel, for my mechanism for such has also waned. My world is no
longer solid. It is broken and dull. No, I long for the blue periods so that I might feel better. The white periods
burden my mind and sap my strength. When blue gains control, my soul is restored. Although, like the blue
periods themselves, my restoration, too, is abridged as time passes.

It is now a particularly dreary stretch of paleness, no longer entirely white. The children have not visited for nearly
a dozen interchanges of hues. The trees’ messages are no longer encouraging. Even my guardian oak has
nothing heartening to say. The swelling of strange colors is suffocating, and a brightening glare penetrates my
body like a million needles of light. My head feels lopsided and hideous. One of my arms falls to the ground. My
thoughts are confused, helpless.
My enemy emerges from the house, but doesn’t enter his vehicle. Instead, he approaches me. I’m too tired to be
scared, but wish I wasn’t.

He pulls something from my head and ponders me with eyes bluer and kinder than I had expected. He unravels
something yellow and red from around my neck and pulls my remaining arm away from my body. He tosses my arm
aside, smiles, then departs. My eyes fall from my head and I can feel my body entering the ground. I can no longer
see my dreadful surroundings. My weight is intolerable, suffocating. No need to struggle.

My will to fight is seeping into the soil with the rest of me.

There’s just hot, empty space now. My head is in place, but nothing else. As all goes black, there is no laughter.
No sound at all, in fact.

Copyright © 2004 Steven J. Mackie, used with permission.
Steve Mackie, 39, is a lifelong Kentucky resident, currently residing with his family in Campbell County.
Max and Ruth Brunner Sisson at their wedding in
1950. Ruth and Max are the parents-in-law of your
webmistress. Ruth was a poet and reader all of her
life. I miss her so much but so glad to have had four
decades of her friendship and knowledge!
Ruth wrote this poem when she left the family home
in Cleves, Ohio, where her children (including my
husband and myself) grew up in a very happy home,
and then moved to South Carolina in the 1970s,
where she died at home on May 4, 2005.
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