The Last Wave – and My First

Moments before I received my first "motorcycle wave."

Moments before I received my first “motorcycle wave.”

I’ll never forget my first, and I’ll never forget my dad telling me about his first.

When my dad finished the first leg of his cross-country trip in 2008 – from Toledo to Ojai, CA – I was pretty distracted. After all, I was getting married in less than a week, my whole family was arriving on my turf and, between the wedding preparations required of a pretty DIY affair and entertaining them, my mind was on things other than how everybody got there. But even for a distracted mind, the story of your 60-year old dad’s solo cross-country trek on a motorcycle deserves some attention. And I’m glad I listened.

Strangely, it wasn’t the sights he’d seen or the (minor) troubles he’s encountered that made the biggest impression on my dad; rather, it was his introduction to the outward symbols of a secret society, and his acceptance into it, that pleased him the most.

You see, when riders pass each other on the road going opposite ways, they give each other a special wave – one that signals understanding, kinship and acceptance, regardless of skill level or length of tenure as a biker.

My dad was excited to share that bit of info and, yesterday, I was excited to get my first “motorcycle wave.”

I’ll admit, though – getting my first wave made me wonder who gave my dad his LAST wave. I suppose I’ll never know, but I can’t help but believe that whoever gave – and received – that last wave will somehow know how special that was, just like whoever rode by me on that Goldwing hopefully knew how much it meant to me.

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