My Daddy died in 1990 from a brain hemorrhage resulting from a drug overdose. He was 50 years old, and I was just 24. I had felt cheated from his love, even though love me more than I knew.
When I was 5 years old, he and my mother divorced. He remarried shortly after and moved out to Orem, UT. My brothers got to move there with him, but my mother kept me with her. At the time, I felt abandoned by him, though today I understand now the agreements that took place. But, I was still able to visit him from time to time.
He used to go out to Widow Maker Peak somewhere in Utah, and watch guys ride their motorcycles up the hill. Some of them had vintage Indian Scouts converted into hill-climbers. Watching guys command their bikes in the most treacherous conditions piqued his fascination.
I was six years old when he and I watched ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”. They featured the Wall of Death. Guys riding fast-but-nimble motorcycles on a circular wall seemed to both defy gravity and Death at the same time.
“Indian Scouts!”, he pointed at the television, looking at me. “They race those up Widow Maker all the time.”
He went on to say that he wished he had one, and listed out praise after praise of their legendary status in motorcycling history. His respect for that motorcycle, along with how much I wanted his approval, made me want a Scout too. I think it also had to do with the fact that Daddy was a full-blooded American Indian, an Osage. But he always bought and rode American motorcycles. He was rather political in that way.
He bought a mini bike for my brothers. Daddy encouraged me to get on it and ride, even though I was uncertain of it. My brothers showed me how to use the controls. I took off like a rocket! However, they forgot to tell me how to stop it. I kept riding around and around in circles, yelling at them that I couldn’t stop. I finally ran it into a tree just so I could get off of it. After that, my brothers wouldn’t let me touch the mini bike again, though Daddy said that someday I’ll learn to ride a motorcycle.
Later on, he visited me and my mother in Barstow. He brought a brand new bicycle for me. It originally came in a box where he had to assemble it himself, but he brought it to me fully assembled. It was painted green and black. My mother complained about the color, saying that he should have bought a pink one.
“You don’t want a pink one do you?” he asked me.
“No”, I said. “I want to be like the boys!”
I used to tell people that it was my Indian Scout.
When the chain finally got loose and fell off, I took it to my mother for help.
“Your Dad really Mickey Moused it up.” she said, referring to the way he put it together.
I looked all over the bike for Mickey Mouse, but couldn’t find him. Somehow, I started calling it my “Mickey Mouse Bike”.
So in August of 2014, when Indian Motorcycles unveiled its new Indian Scout, it brought a lot of memories back. The hill climbs, the wall of death, the mini bike, my Mickey Mouse bike, were just part of the reasons why I HAD to get this motorcycle. It wasn’t just to win my father’s approval from beyond the grave, but to come full circle with my past, reconcile all the hurt, and begin again with a fresh start on my life.