We’re not all that far from Harry Potter’s “DAILY PROPHET” newspaper. I can take a motorcycle ride in the afternoon and bring home some video, which that same night I can turn into a GIF… Graphics Interchange Format. Graphics Interchange Format, first created in 1987, are about to be a thing of the past. I know, because if I can tell you what a technical acronym stands for it’s got to be something that’s been around a long time and is either already passe or now on it’s way out.

And I can make my own GIFs. My ability to make something technical is a sure sign of it’s approaching demise, or in some cases, that it’s been dead for a while already, see @stevelearnstomoonwalk.

I made a little money in college shooting pictures. The editor of the university yearbook hired me and gave me access to a darkroom and everything I needed to waste film. I loved loading my own cartridges, shooting a roll in the afternoon and developing the same shots that night. I still have a few contact sheets and copies of pictures I shot a million years ago. This has always been my favorite shot:

I can still hear the gravel under her feet and the cicadas singing in the southern piney forest. I always hear cicadas; I’ve had tinnitus since 1985 thanks to Bruce Springsteen and my head is never lonely for the ringing and singing of what sounds like a chorus of insects and a broken police siren.

Along with tinnitus, I’ve had Lisa for quite a while, too. Or she’s had me. Mom said I chased her until she caught me. Truth is, I never stuck to anything until I got stuck on her. We met a couple of weeks before I took this picture. She’s always been a cooperative partner and my favorite model; my best friend. A merciful person. And oh how I’d love if this photo had been a video… something I could now make into a GIF.

As time went by I got kids and along with them a free video camera, courtesy of my father in law. I still have boxes of VHS tape that I need to convert into digital files so I can get around to watching all those moments where I captured my babies doing things no other baby has ever done before; like get their first haircut, take their first steps, say their first funny words. If I had just one of those tapes converted I could insert it here, but, alas; not yet.

In the old days people made scrapbooks. Some people still do but only because they can’t ride motorcycles. Anyone who can ride a motorcycle probably doesn’t have the time for two anachronistic hobbies. Yes, I think scrapbooking is anachronistic. So is paper, writing, glue, and motorcycles.

I don’t care how new and modern a motorcycle is, we’ve moved on to better forms of transportation. But then that’s their charm. That and the fact that if you’re alone with a motorcycle it will pose for you as long as you want and doesn’t fuss if you get it wet. On a side note, I love predictable things. I always know where to find a rainbow. If the sun is shining. If the water’s high. Roy G. Biv always shows up when I’m standing in the middle of old highway 30 facing east and the Sandy River and the sun are both behind me.

Just as predictable is the audience response any time Melvin does his thing. Melvin, light refraction and Spring time in Oregon are all pretty predictable things. It’s not Spring time in Oregon at this moment, but it’s Valentine’s Day and not raining and chocolate abounds.  All these thoughts and images I’ll save here in my scrapbook.

My own private “DAILY PROPHET”.

Lisa Johnson and i binge watched “Justified” over the last few months… yeah when your our age binge watching takes about as long as regular watching… the show isn’t particularly inspirational or anything, some may question my Christianity when it comes to my taste in what i’ll allow myself to watch be it movies, or tv, or funny people in a crowd… i digress…

six seasons of shoot em up, and episodic, often predictable hijinks… i love it when i can say that word… but all that and the show was worth all the watching if only for one line.

it’s a good guy, bad guy show, with the best guy and worst guy being kinda life long ‘friends’ having worked in the kentucky coal mines together when teenagers, but now on opposite sides of the law… and the six season drama was all about this dysfunctional bromance. the good guy was relentlessly legalistic, the bad guy was a true bad guy. but the one great line came at a moment when the good guy allowed himself to be sentimental, and when asked about why he did a particularly gracious thing for the bad guy his response was simply, “we dug coal together”.

i find at this time in my life so many of my friends are on ‘opposite sides of the law’… from me, from each other. obviously, i’m speaking metaphorically; i don’t think any of my friends, current or past, are criminals and fewer still law men. but so many of my old friends, those i thought would be comrades as we aged and pall bearers in the end, so many aren’t speaking to each other and i admit, there’s one or two it’s just as well i don’t bother with, nor they me… i’m fond of the ‘reason,season, lifetime’ theorem of friendship. not everyone can stay close forever. and some of us are so prone to extremes that we will surely wear out all but the most patient or… similarly pig headed… of our friends. Jesus said if you live by the sword you will die by the sword, and though that’s a clear description of what most likely happens to those who truck with blood shed, it also serves as a cautionary slogan to those who might wield the sword of truth a little too recklessly. hey, it’s raining in portland and given a chance to sit and ponder for 5 minutes i’m likely to wax on like this. i am estranged from people i love and admire and see other friends similarly estranged and not for lack of effort and mistakes on all of our parts. ah, the humanity of us all. but once upon a time we were quite a family. dysfunctional to be sure, and pretty wacky at times says the old man in me. call me sentimental, but i miss most everyone all the time.
cause, once, we dug coal together.

Sentimentality isn’t always appreciated. One of my old coal digging buddies even thought it was a sin. Personally, I don’t think life is much worth living without it. The life that isn’t sentimental isn’t worth living, or something like that, I think, as I pause to examine my own existence.

This the 71 guzzi ambassador police version; which a former owner ‘decorated’ with incorrect foot board and some other interesting accoutrements… I’ve been riding past this view point for 11 years, usually to get to that spot in the right background just above the rear fender. That’s Vista House, and a favorite view for guests. But this is Chanticleer Point, or now known as Portland Women’s Forum View Point. https://www.portlandwomensforum.com

Thing about Moto Guzzi is that it’s one of the most sentimental motorcycle stories ever.

Three friends… two aviators and a mechanic… during the Big War… vow to be partners and create a motorcycle company. One is rich and gets his father’s backing, one is a fairly well known motorcycle racer already, and one is Carlo Gucci, the mechanic who kept his two buddies flying machines in the air. One of the buddies, Giovanni Ravelli, died in a plane crash just days after the war was over. Georgia Parodi, the third partner and aviator and son of the rich backer, along with his surviving partner Carlo, commemorated Giovanni in a way that lives on to this day. The squadron logo for the aviators was an Aquila… the eagle…

Here it is on my 67 v7. Carlo and Giovanni honored the memory of their friend with this eagle and to this day the bird is the logo of the company and still flies on the gas tanks of most Guzzi machines.

That’s pretty darned sentimental.

Steve has been a minister for almost 5 decades; and for more than 40 years married to the wife of his youth and partner, Lisa. Steve has spoken in Madison Square Garden. He's swam the Hudson River to raise money for his favorite charity. He’s the writer, producer and director of an award winning short film. He’s an author, speaker, and father whose messages are hilarious, soulful and life changing. When he's not trying to sell, ride or make friends on a motorcycle, you can find him in Portland, Oregon where he is happily serving with the https://portlandchurch.org

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