This was a big day in the Owens’ family….A rite of passage…A symbol of continuity. Today, Levi got his first motorcycle.
Motorcycles have been a part of my life since I was born. I actually have a picture of Pop holding me in his arms with one hand and driving a motorcycle in the yard with the other. Mother, obviously, was taking a nap! Anyway, Joy and I grew up riding, and I rode to high school some. Don and I had a motorcycle while we were in college at Samford in Birmingham. Then our children came along…and as soon as they could hold one up…they were riding, and loving every minute of it. My boys and Joy’s girls both rode. Sure, they had falls and broke bones and cuts and scrapes. They hit trees and the backs of parked cars. But, they learned the right way to ride. *** Never without a helmet. *** Never with a passenger. ***Always with an adult present. And always knowing misbehavior while riding would warrant losing the privilege. Ask Adam if we stuck to that.
***Adam on his first motorcycle…***
They rode most often off the road or only on a quiet cul de sac where my parents lived…until my boys got older. The motorcycles were always kept at their house. Then Adam began to ride to school, and out to Wallace Community College…and then his Pop took him on a two week trip from Dothan through Atlanta to North Carolina and on to West Virginia. Wow..they made some great memories. I think Adam was 17.
Ian was also quite a rider and rode frequently in school and while he was in college in Birmingham and back and forth to Birmingham. I would ride anywhere with those two, they are such careful, skilled operators. But, that doesn’t mean I did not worry. I sure did. Not so much about their skills as the fact that cars do not respect motorcycle riders and don’t look for them on the road.
Well, Levi has been riding with his Pa for a good while, off road only. He is already developing a love for the sport just like his dad and uncles. We decided to get him this tiny machine for Christmas…with his parent’s blessing. But, it’s for off road use only. As you see in these pics, he is riding on the little lane we live on. But, there is very, very little traffic here. He will never be allowed to ride without his Pa or his Daddy here with him. And most of his riding will be in our wooded lot. And you’ll see it has training wheels on it, and it will for a while. He’s learning to balance, but this will give him more stabilization for a while. Since Adam was working on Christmas Day, we made the day after Christmas the day of the big reveal!
“What’s in this box, Pa? Another Christmas present?”
“Wow! it’s a real motorcycle helmet! A real one! Like you wear!”
“Look! It fits! I like it! And, it has a face shield, too!”
Don then told Levi there may be one more package under the tree for him! He got the paper off that thing in a hurry, “It’s a motorcycle! A real motorcycle!”
“It fits me! It’s my size!”
Adam had some words of wisdom for Levi…
…they both had things to tell him…
…and some more things to tell him…Like where the BRAKES are!!!
Finally, he gives it a little gas…and off he goes…down the front path.
Eyes on the road…always look ahead…
Big turn here…Pa and Daddy close beside.
A few more words from Adam…and a little reassurance.
And there he goes! Like a pro!
Now Uncle Ian is helping watch!
And Uncle Alex is close by, too!
“I did it Pa! By myself! I love it!”
“Thanks, Pa. I’m going to ride some more, now!”
“Don’t worry Mommy and Lulu. All is well! I’ll be careful! I’m a big boy now!”
It was a day for family and a day for fun. Cherishing the beautiful gift of this little boy, and his Daddy and Uncles and Grandpa and Great Grandfather in whose footsteps he follows. And Suzanne and I along to watch over it all…and shed a few tears. Not sad ones…just wistful ones. Time moves so quickly……and little boys become big boys and men right before your eyes. Way before you’re ready for it! Oh, that we remain wise in the leading!