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Author Topic: The Irony of Riches  (Read 686 times)

Offline hppants

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The Irony of Riches
« on: December 26, 2018, 10:06:29 AM »
The other day, I took a ride through the back country near my house.  I had the day off work and with abundant sunshine and moderate temperatures; I couldn’t resist the temptation for a ride on the motorcycle.  As I got ready putting on my gear, my wife reminded me that we have family plans later on this evening.  That’s her way of telling me not to wander off too far from home.  I hadn’t forgot about our plans, and told her I’d be home in plenty of time for that.  With her usual “be safe” wishes, I bid her goodbye and threw a leg over the wheeled horse.

As I’m taxiing through the neighborhood toward the highway, John Mayer pops into the ear buds with “Queen of California”, and I’m getting excited about the ride.  I lean left at the highway and through the gears I go, shifting at about 5,000 rpm and feeding the horse a healthy dose of right wrist between shifts.  If I live to be 100 years old, I shall never grow tired of that first run up through the gears as I leave the house for every ride.  It gets your blood pumping and after perhaps a thousand times, I still enjoy the adrenaline every time.  You get to see the road through your helmet visor, feel the vibration of the chassis, hear the motor muffled through the ear buds, smell the wind in your face, and most importantly, experience the g-forces that only riders know about.

I’m heading generally southeast, but truthfully, I’m not paying much attention to where I’m going.  After all, I can’t go far and there isn’t anything within today’s ride that I haven’t seen a hundred times.  The holiday traffic is thick now, even outside the city limits.  As I ride past others going in the opposite direction, I can read some of their faces through the cage’s windshield.  Some were showing worry about having enough time for last minute holiday shopping.  And others looked like they were trying to finish up some last minute work details and wrap up another year.  I feel for them.  In their minds, the pressure is real and I’ve been there and done that.  But today, they will only get my sympathy.  I may be able to empathize; but I will not join them in their despair.  Today I will be happy and I will enjoy my relative brief ride to the fullest.

I find myself near Live Oak Gardens, and stop almost instinctively.  Although I’m only 20 miles from home, the bright sunshine and breeze blowing the moss amid the massive trees is just too much to pass up.  This is a special place for me.



The shallow roots of these beautiful trees make a perfect stoop to sit down.  With their massive branches cloaking me like a warm blanket, a feeling of peace and safety comes upon me.  The air is crisp and clean, and I breathe it in slow and exhale it even slower like a drug addict enjoying his crutch.  I can barely hear the vehicles on the highway, but I’m going to be by myself in the Garden today.  The others don’t have time to waste today.  The irony is that even though I have time to kill, I am hardly killing time.  No, these minutes are very precious and I find myself treating time today like it should be treated – with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

I come down a smidge from my fresh air high and get back on the bike.  Twenty miles or so later, I run through the town of Delcambre and a familiar bridge catches my eye.



It’s a counterweight bridge for the railroad track.  Apparently, there are no trains scheduled because the track is up for boat navigation.  A nice patina has formed on the metal from decades exposed to the salty air.  This bridge was designed for function over form, but its simplicity gives it great form, in my view.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a thing for bridges.  I like all kinds of bridges, but the one with metal structure are most appealing to me.  For any adventurist, a bridge provides hope.  The adventure doesn’t have to end at the crossing.  The bridge will take us to the other side, where more exciting adventure awaits us.

From the boat docks, I turn toward the highway and something catches my eye.



This mural depicts a Cajun wedding on the Bayou and I suppose it is quite appropriate, as the building is some place that people can rent for such a blessed event.  When I was younger, I had no appreciation for any art of any kind.  How narrow minded I was.

I turn left onto Hwy 330 and head toward the Bayou Teche, another navigable waterway that meanders throughout the coastal marsh.  The bridge here is a swing style and operator’s house is unusually located on top of the structure.



This wooden structure makes a nice sun bathing deck for this pelican



I think this is a cool picture.



It’s getting closer to family time, so I start heading toward home, I noticed something unusual among this field of cows.



We usually don’t see longhorn cattle in these parts.  These are not nearly as large as their Texas cousins.



So I’m on this road.  I can’t remember the name of it, but the GPS said I should take it for the “shortest route”, so I did.  Maybe I’ve been on it before, but maybe not.  I realize that I’m not where I think I am, so I slow down and pull over on the side of the road.  I turn the engine off and I’m looking at my GPS map trying to figure out where this road goes when I hear a voice.  I lift my head and look around to see where it’s coming from.  To my right, I see a man about my age sitting on what’s left of his front porch.  I turn the music off.

(Pants)  “I couldn’t hear you, sir.  What did you say?”

The man gets up and is walking toward me.

(Man)  “Are you lost?  Where are ya going?”

(Pants)  “No, I’m not lost.  I’m just trying to figure out where I am.”

(Man)  “Well that sounds like you’re lost.”

That tickled me and we laughed at it for a second.  And then we talked a few minutes and I couldn’t help but notice two things.  First, his house was so run down.  There was an old tarp on his roof that I suppose was to keep rain water out, and if that was the case, I don’t think it was doing a very good job.  The entire exterior of the house was very weathered.  I noticed a very old pickup truck in the yard.  He had a pile of junk also in the yard, but it was arranged neatly and was not unsightly.  You could tell this guy liked his stuff organized, even though it was apparent that he didn’t have much stuff to organize.

The other thing I noticed about this guy as I talked to him was that he was so happy - genuinely and obviously happy.  He told me that he took the week off from his job as a mechanic’s helper for the Christmas holiday.  Said he had no plans for the week, just wanted to sit outside and rest.  He seemed so content with that “plan”, and I could tell by the expressions on his face that he meant it.  I enjoyed talking to him.

I bid my new friend Merry Christmas, turned around toward a more familiar road, and made my way on for the 20 minute ride to the house.  I found myself thinking about the man I just met.  I couldn’t help but realized that despite outward appearances, he may be one of the richest men in the land.  How much would you pay for sincere happiness?  For genuine contentment?  For pure peacefulness?  If you don’t have much, then maybe you don’t have much to worry about.  And if that is the case, how much is that worth to you?

We’re taught to not judge, lest we ourselves be judged.  But I think this goes beyond any judgment.  If one man’s garbage is another’s treasure, then surely it must all be relative.  Perhaps the forests’ bounty that we often can’t see for the trees is placed deep within our souls, and it manifests itself in the form of a choice.  Like all of us, that man has a choice.  He can choose to be unhappy and hurtful, lost in his apparent despair.  But instead, he chooses to be happy, and I can’t help but be envious of his choice.

I myself will endeavor to choose to be happy, and I look forward to the endless riches my priceless choice will give me.



Stay thirsty, my friends…. 

Offline Raven

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2018, 03:36:34 AM »
Wow! You should write a book. That was moving. Very insightful.
'82 CB650SC, '12 Moto Guzzi Norge,'09 Yamaha YZ250

Offline DesertDragon

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 08:09:00 AM »
Moral of the story:
To a man that is happy, everything is a blessing, and even little things bring him happiness.
To a man that is unhappy, all the riches in the world don't change that.
Keep the Rubber on the Bottom!

DD

Offline sla4est

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 01:46:22 PM »
Very good, thanks for sharing hppants. Safe riding

Offline alan f

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2018, 01:31:01 PM »
Over on the SOHC4 forums in the Open Forum there's a thread about Early Retirement, your new friend's story would fit right in. Good stuff for everyone, thank you.

Offline hppants

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 03:03:37 PM »
I'm less than 2 years away from my own retirement.  Wifey retired a week ago.  Trust me - we are ready and willing and (hopefully) able....

Offline Adventurer

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Re: The Irony of Riches
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 06:00:37 PM »
Happy Trails!
Every day is a gift.

 

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