In honor of what would have been Dad’s 76th birthday today:
Before dinner we would head up to the corner of Hayes and Coram. We’d look south down Hayes for the telltale glint of sun on chrome and listen for the rumble of Dad’s department-issued Harley. Watching Dad approach our neighborhood – from a flash of steel at Seven Mile to the hulking silhouette of Detroit’s Absolute Finest signaling a right-hand turn onto Coram – was…well, I don’t have the words (meeting Gordie Howe at the Olympia was a second-best thrill, if that means anything to you).
He’d pull up to his gaggle of sons and hoist one of us, legs straddling the gas tank, hands squeezing the base of the handlebars, back reclining on the barrel chest of the grandest man we have known. He’d hurtle around the four corners of our block, his turns so tight we thought we’d skin our knees on the curb. He’d return us to the stop sign where the ride began, dropping off one rubber-legged boy and hoisting the next fortunate son onto his bike.
We’d walk back home for dinner passing the Parson’s, the Reese’s, the Kirby’s, the Angeleri’s; our spines still humming from the Harley, our hearts pumping pride full throttle.