Whim, not Wham!

This just in…

Cool things happen when I DO rather than THINK about doing. Novel concept, right? You all probably obtained this little jewel of wisdom when you were in diapers, but remember, I forgot some rather simple, yet important things along the way.

Humor me as I comb through the annals of my memory for yet another story and then let’s hope there is a point to it all…

One of the single clearest and most joyful memories from childhood was something my Dad did on a whim. He is good at many things including (but not limited to) whims, killing varmints and illegal fireworks, but I’ll just stick to whims here. But, please don’t get confused, he was not a member of the 80’s British pop duo. I said WHIM. Wham! is something entirely different.

I said Wham! had nothing to do with this story, but who can resist this picture of George Michael in blue running shorts and leather hat? Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I was four years old and toiling my way through a very prestigious preschool. It was somewhere between blocks and coloring within the lines when I saw my Dad at the door. It was earlier than normal, like early in the afternoon or something like that. Remember, I am four so I lack simple time-telling skills – I just knew it was out of the ordinary.

He picks me up to do what?

To take me on a motorcycle ride. A motorcycle ride in the middle of an average-just-like-any-other-afternoon afternoon. Also it is important to remember, that it is the 1970s and my Dad was never to be confused with Captain Safety, so I enjoyed this “ride on a whim” while straddling the gas tank on a motorbike that was (probably) not street legal and entirely sans helmet. For context, my father raced motocross in the days of my youth and here is a picture of me enjoying some time as he opens some new “moto-wear” for his weekend excursions.

There is probably lots of cussing going on in that room

For those of us who keep our children strapped into a five-point harness until they graduate high school, this is both a foreign and scream-inducing idea. Not for my Dad.

We rode for hours through the backroads of Montgomery County, Texas. For those of you who don’t know this part of the country, this is the Texas Piney Woods. Huge pine trees that tower 100+ feet and packed together dense as dirt. It is its own kind of beautiful. The thing I remember most, other than the burns from the engine on my virgin skin, was the color of the sunshine. It filtered through those huge pine trees and it must have been fall, because the light that is cast in my memory tells me so.

I remember feeling so free, so exhilarated. Think of Gary Wright singing Dreamweaver in your head and you just almost have it.

And then there was that strange taste. The taste of East Texas bug life lodged into my pearly white baby teeth. And since goggles were definitely not part of my ensemble, there were probably a few in my eyes as well. No matter, it was a whim. A whim that did not include a helmet and of which my Mom was probably completely unaware (until now).

Wait! Now I see the Wham! connection…

It could have been the sound of my baby girl head hitting the pavement if we had been in a not-so-fortunate accident. But there was no accident and no Wham!, so instead we have George Michael in blue running shorts and I am left with a treasured memory.

I was only four, but I remember like it was yesterday.

Come to think of it, most of the most memorable and joyful things I have ever done have been on a whim.

Why am I just now getting around to remembering this?

The spontaneous, the out of the ordinary – these are the things that leave the most lasting impression. This is one of the many things my Dad taught me and whereas I am way too Type A {productive badass} to apply this philosophy to every aspect of my life, I can apply it when it matters most.

Like tomorrow.

. . .

For those who do not remember Gary Wright, I have included a visual aid for memory-jogging purposes…


7 Comments on “Whim, not Wham!”

  1. Karey says:

    Your on-a-whim trip to Buffalo was Friday, so maybe you’ve already started. We enjoyed the visit, and I am definitely enjoying riding along with you into the past.

  2. jacob stapp says:

    After talking with a friend for several months about the same plans to potentially do something, he finally stopped me and said, “Jake. I don’t want to hear another word about this until you’ve actually done something beyond thinking about it. Just DO something.” And I did. And he was right.

    • I find that I do a lot of the following verbs: thinking, reading, and analyzing. It is an effective, yet far to joyless way to pass the few days I am given on this planet. A whole-other-world-level of joy comes from the verbs: do, act, propel, launch, jump.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jake. What’cha gonna do tomorrow?

  3. samlowephoto says:

    Interesting parallels for me, here.

    The jet-fighter wannabe in me always wanted to pilot a motorcycle. A fast one. But it wasn’t until after a health scare (and that was all it was, a scare) gave me the donkey-kick I needed to make good on the dream. At age 43.

    My beloved Ducati (named, “Sophie,” the Greek word for “wisdom,” plus…she’s Italian, and I do visualize me, um, atop Ms. Lauren sometimes as I ride…) will hopefully never part. She teaches me too much. Like, “just get out here and ride me.”

    Always is a good time for a whim.

  4. Glenn Gallop says:

    Beautiful, Amber, as always. Will be thinking of you tomorrow…


  5. Tony Jenkins says:

    Sounds like you will have a lot of stories to share with your kids as the grow up! Hopefully your memories will always put a smile on your face.

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