Oh Miss Harley…

I have an amazing bunch of incredible women in my life. They represent everything the world needs more of, and for every jerk I’ve had the misfortune of crossing paths with, I know five stellar women… I have an incredible bunch of girlfriends in my life- I’m blessed with amazing examples.

Sure…we can be a rowdy bunch… we’re independent, hilarious and hot. We dance on bars and tables, we ride motorcycles and can out-cook chefs. We are incredibly artistic, tattooed, brilliant, down-hill racing daredevil girls who can get dressed up and act like ladies. We’re a well rounded bunch.

We can do some whiskey, gin, vodka, rum damage… and we are a helluva lot of fun- but we collectively have our shit together as well.

My friend Miss Harley sets the bar high in a group of really cool chicks.

She’s easily the most valuable employee where I work,  she outworks all of us. I’d bet her tips percentage blow all of us out of the water, too.  Without question…she’s beautiful, friendly and genuine, rocks a smokin’ hot body and to ice the cake? She rides her own restored 1982 Shovelhead to work every day. Without a helmet, cause she’s just not willing. (We’ve all tried to bribe her…) Her dark hair is tinted a shade of purple showing under her do-rag, dyed to match the deep purple paint on her bike, Daizy. Personalized license plates and everything. Blingy-butt Miss Me jeans showing from the back of black leather chap-wrapped Miss Harley, she’s nothing short of a calendar girl.

Does it get any hotter? Yep. She pulls her do-rag off, blinks sparkly green eyes at you and is charming enough to sell you oceanfront in Kansas. She’s also the friend who makes you soup when you’re sick and offers to take your shifts or help you with anything. She really goes the extra mile and she inspires everybody by being kind. She’s the girl nobody could ever say anything bad about- and defends even the indefendable. She’s an amazing mother and has raised her son alone for the most part. She just wants to be happy and so she is.

She’s true blue and red hot.

Miss Harley- well done!

She rides the bike her father died on when she was 11 years old. Her parents were just about home- close enough that she remembers hearing the siren of the ambulance that came to get her dad. They’d gone down on a corner and her dad had broken his neck and died instantly. Her mom kept the bike for a few years after he died but eventually had to let it go.

Years later someone got in touch with Miss Harley to let her know it was up for sale again. Seeing it only made her want it more. She offered the guy everything she had and a hug, and he took her up on it and let her have it for nearly a thousand dollars less than his asking price.

Her mom drove it home, with Miss Harley on the back. Holding hands here and there- crying now and again. It was like bringing a family member home. Miss Harley was getting the bike of her dreams and a piece of her dad back, as an adult- when you still need it just as much.

She restored it completely, on a single mom’s server/manager’s wages… until it was finally complete and so beautiful. Her mom gave her the old saddle bags that were on it before. She’s oiled and loved this bike into something beautiful enough for everyone to notice what Miss Harley always did.

They’re meant to be together. They’re a perfect match, like sisters- out knocking boys dead at every stoplight.

She recently went through a break-up because her boyfriend couldn’t handle all the attention she gets.

H- I told him, I love ya, I’m sorry you’re jealous but I’m not gonna get ugly for you. He told me he just couldn’t take it- I gotta love him for being honest!

She has her first motorcycle show today & she even brought us purple t-shirts to wear. I wrote a little thing for her poster and was stuck on the image of her mother and her riding the bike home that had been so life changing in their past. How nostalgic she gets when she tells the story… and of her calling to read what I’d written to her mom and hearing them both cry a little. She’s survived the worst of a cheating boyfriend- who lives with her sister. She’s been through a cheating husband and survived a divorce that cost her everything but the baby he didn’t support. She lost her house, her fairytale ideas about marriage and her faith in the legal system- all at once. Digging deep and pulling it all off, regardless of the challenge- and doing it with a smile.

She’s been through hell. She’s walked through fire  and  is stainless steel strong and polished as a result. She’s raising an amazing son who is growing up with a healthy childhood spent outside. She grows a garden, helps her mama and would drop everything to be there for you if you need her. She’s generous and thoughtful and sets an example with kindness rather than judgement. One helluva woman- doing it on her own with pleasure.

Miss Harley, you are a knock-out- through and through & your daddy would be SO proud.

Update!!

She tied for 3rd place!

and I got the best picture of her and her mama, waiting for the results of the voting. It was such a neat moment- and it’s such an amazing bond between them. They’re so cute- and it really is inspirational. Her dad may have died but he lives on in the two of them riding together.

Dear Dad…

Smiling to my toes and happy… I got ready for work with the music blasting, dancing through the house between the bathroom and my bedroom looking for something to wear. High on love and anticipation.

Make-up done, hair in pigtails… and my phone rings. My little brother!!! I love him the best and we connect even though we didn’t grow up together. I answer and he’s quiet.

B- I have bad news. Dad died.

Time stops for a second when you hear this sort of news. Everything seems too loud….and I have 20 minutes to get to work. Totally and completely in shock and facing a busy night with the BCS Championship game on.

I was on autopilot all night. Coasting through a packed restaurant and somehow ending up with all the little tables. Thank God too, because I’m definitely not very chipper. Everybody was happy and watching the game, so it was easily managed chaos all night. My last table was my favorite Ms. Sassypants- who I’ve missed. I swear she tipped me more than the total of her tab, lol… I sat down at the bar with a beer and sunk into it finally. Grief… such an overwhelming feeling.

I met my Dad for the first time when I was 8 years old. I’d asked my mom if I could meet him and we were visiting family in Utah. He agreed and we had lunch at Wendy’s. First time I ever had a chocolate frosty and a cheeseburger. He didn’t know we were vegetarians and didn’t ask what I wanted. My only clear memory beyond the food was that nobody said anything. Super awkward… and we parted with a wave. He sued my mom for custody a month later, and won holiday visitation with me every year. Spring break, summer vacation & Christmas.

I remember it being a strange feeling to see someone that I looked so much like, and didn’t know. I was never comfortable with him, ever. He just never really was my dad. My dad was the one who drove me to school and baked my birthday cake.

He blessed me with a brother and two sisters that I love more than anything. He gave me another mom in my siblings mother. Then he divorced her and never took care of any of us ever again. No child support, no call on your birthday. Nada. King Deadbeat.

There’s really no other way to put it. These are facts…

I bought myself a ticket to go see him when I was sixteen. It was Christmas, and I missed my siblings and knew he’d have them for the holiday. He spent the entire time with his girlfriend and I left and went to stay with my Aunt instead. He never forgave me for it.

I tried to mend things with him after my son was born, about 4 years later. We stopped by my grandparents house for a visit and he spent a half hour calling himself Grandpa to a two year old that clung to my thigh and eyed him warily. For good reason, considering it was the only time he ever saw him.

He never met my daughter. I sent pictures when she was born, and we sent him a Christmas package. I sewed him a quilt, and tried one last time to salvage some sort of relationship with him. Something about the birth of my own children made me want to fix everything. He said he never got it… but the confirmation came through that he had. I’m not sure why he’d lie about it… but he did… and it was the last straw.

I wrote him one last letter, and never spoke to or saw him again. I told him about all the holes his absence left in my childhood, and about the dad I made up to tell people because he was so unmentionable. I gave all the hurt and the pain and disappointment every kid with a deadbeat dad can empathize with- back to him. I told him how much I hated him for what he made my mother go through & thanked him for my promiscuity and early entry into parenthood.

Not necessarily what every dad wants to read, and certainly not entirely his fault on every level… but I went above and beyond to hurt him in return.

I never heard from him again…. so those angry hurtful words are the last thing my dad heard from me. He was 56, and died alone, when he had four of the most loving people in the world as his children. Talk about the definition of tragic.

I’m too happy and too much in love to be angry or hurt by him anymore. I feel sorry for him more than anything, and I wish I’d left him with nice words in his heart instead of the rant he got. He deserved it- for sure- but on a personal level it’s hard to fathom that there’s not time to fix it anymore. He’s gone, never having been my dad… or my children’s grandfather.

I can’t mourn him like I should because I don’t have any way of knowing what a loss it is.

So I’m tossing words on up to heaven… or down to hell if that’s where he ended up. I’m on the fence about either place but if the rumors are true and you have to be virtuous to get in? He’s heading south. Sorry, but it’s true.

Dearest Dad,

Whoa… time ran out, huh? I didn’t see that coming, and I’m sorry that you died alone like I told you I hoped you would. It could have been so different, and I’m sorry you died with so many things left undone and so many apologies left unsaid.

You missed all of your children’s weddings. All three of your daughters were given away by someone else. You didn’t know any of your seven grandchildren, many of whom look like you. I am so sorry for you that you missed so much.

Thank you for our beautiful smiles- that look just like yours. Thank you for the strength you taught all of us in not being reliable. Thank you for the fine examples of women you gave us by forcing our mothers to raise us alone. You had amazing taste in women, truly.

You fed me steak and crawdads for the first time. Thank you- I love both ♥  You taught me how to fish in the summer and spent days in the sun chasing lizards with us at Flaming Gorge. You were a pretty awesome Disneyland dad when you wanted to be. You bought me my first designer jeans… bright red even. You spoiled me rotten when I was in front of you, and you always told me you loved me.

More than anything though… you get out of life what you put into it. You taught me to love out loud and sincerely, and to follow up my words with actions because integrity is rare.

Though you didn’t help much in the shaping of who I’ve become, you gave me life and the tools I needed to make mine a happy one. I love you- and I hope your soul is at peace.