Wyatt Underwood's



H-D FTXSB 2001 customized

Ahh! A new motorcycle. Not just a new motorcycle, but a new Harley-Davidson! And in particular, a new NightTrain 2000 - or an FXSTB if you prefer.

However you designate it, wonderful! Not sing-hosannas wonderful, but a deep, calm joy wonderful.

The look of her! The ride! The maneuvering! She would have made a bad life grand. She made mine a beauty to contemplate and share. Lindy rode with me. A dear friend at work rode with me. Wherever I stopped, even at a traffic light, someone would admire "Nice bike!"

Oh indeed she was! Regal, I thought her, but like an Irish warrior queen. Specifically, she brought to my mind Maeve, the queen who drove Conchobar and Cuchulain to distraction while retaining her own aloofness.

If y'dinna know the legend, larn it. It'll enrich your life.

And Maeve the motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson FXSTB, the NightTrain 2000, enriched mine. We rode to work early in the morning so we wouldn't have to share the freeways or the streets with many. We rode home noonish or midafternoonish, and the world sparkled a bit more than it would have normally. A precious few times I got away from work long enough to ride with her for most of a day or even just most of a morning. The ocean curled its surf for us, the same reverence it gave that king who ordered the tide not to come in. It also blessed the air we rode through with a faint mist of saltwater scented by seaweed and fish. The coastal mountains wound their roads a little tighter for us. The desert blazed a drier heat and more vibrant colors to honor our passing by. Rocks hardened.

Sometimes at work, those rides would come back to me and I'd sit before my computer terminal, looking far past it with a happy smile. "You're not supposed to have this much fun at work," a friend scolded. "It reflects badly on the rest of us." I would have explained if she could have understood.

Maybe she did. She came to my cubicle one morning, a happy smile making her even lovelier, and said that seeing my motorcycle parked already when she arrived had reminded her of rides she'd taken when she was younger and more headstrong - or did she say reckless? In any case, those rides those many years later brought her the same kind of smile she'd teased me about. Maeve enriched her life too, I like to think.

And then one morning Maeve was gone.