Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday is License Day

It's Poetry Friday, hosted over at Tabatha Yeatts' place, The Opposite of Indifference
I have just a bit of background stuff to put here to start out.  If you just want to skip down to the poem, you certainly may - I can't stop you and I won't even know.

For the past two days I have spent almost every waking hour learning about motorcycle safety and strategies for riding, and riding a motorcycle.  I am exhausted!  After my first unsuccessful attempt at the motorcycle safety class, I was disappointed in myself.  I posted about this a little while back.  But I had made another reservation in another class at LORE, a different school.  Instead of cancelling that reservation when I found the earlier class, I kept it in my "back pocket" just in case I didn't pass the first time.  It ended up being fortunate that I did.  Classes fill up fast, and I wouldn't have been able to get in until late July or August if I hadn't.  My second class was just what I needed.

So I went to this new class, with a few skills thanks to my wonderfully brave son who got me over the fear of speed (like 15 miles an hour...).  I sat again amongst a group of young men with motorcycle, snowmobile, dirt bike, living life on the edge experiences - but this time there was another younger woman who had never been on a bike either.  She did a great job and it was kind of motivating for me.  I didn't feel quite as much a fish out of water or alone, and the "rear" wasn't as far back as it had been, thanks to my son's help.  Okay, I'll sneak a part of my poem in here that I wrote during breaks at the class:

Grandma's Motorcycle Class

I look around -
and what do I see?
Boys, young men,
sitting all about me.
All riders from birth,
or so it would seem,
So daring and brave
pursuing a dream.
And I am a grandma
who's late to the game;
But I'm putting on bold,
trying not to be lame.
I don my helmet -
no wind in my hair
Then on go the gloves
and jacket I wear. 
I straddle my bike
and lay on the throttle
Let out the clutch
and try not to waddle.
Riding in circles
over obstacles popping,
Weaving and shifting,
emergency stopping!
The guys were amazing
and did it with style -
And I did it too
Just look at my smile!

by Donna JT Smith, 2016

And yesterday - YES!  I passed my motorcycle written and riding test!  I am amazed and so thankful that I didn't give up.  It feels like such an accomplishment to have done this.  I do have to admit that last year I could not have done this.  The maneuvering of a motorcycle would not have been possible for me.  My back hurt if I walked too much because I was 42 pounds heavier!  Yes,  I have lost 42 pounds now!!!  I still (and this is hard to admit out loud) have some more to go.  But it is still coming off steadily at about a pound or half pound a week.  I'm just slowly and steadily staying the course.

Ok.  Enough back story.  Now for the real treat.  It's poetry exchange time organized by Tabatha Yeatts.  This week while I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law (ok, my grandchildren, too!) I received two packages in the mail.  When I returned to Maine the evening before my motorcycle class, I opened the packages.  One package was my new motorcycle helmet I'd ordered in Laconia while at Bike Week, and the other was from Irene Latham.  Irene's poem, like my new helmet, "fit" so beautifully!  The second part of Irene's gift was a small notepad for tucking in my pocket for writing on the road - with the Herman Melville quote "It is not down on any map; true places never are.".  With that there was a frame with Scrabble letters spelling out my OLW - "BOLD".  (Besides the fact that the word was awesome to have on there, how did she know I LOVE Scrabble, Words With Friends, Alpha-Betty...any word games...but, of course, Scrabble was "my first love").
I will be putting a picture of me and my motorcycle in the frame - or of something else I decided to BOLDly undertake this year.

And then there is the poem.  It just fits and flows and is perfect for the feelings of the days I've just undergone.  Thank you, Irene, for putting so much of your "self" into my "shoes", to create such a perfectly "fitting" poem just for me!  I just love it, love it, love it!

Summer Ride
- for Donna

Asphalt steams
beneath the wheels
and the miles
keep coming:
sweet throttle
blister me home.

How long must
we ride
before we remember
the sun, too,
greets each pnk
as a beginner?

And so we strap on
our chaps,
turn the key.
Soon the engine
rattles, sings.

For once
we stay straight -
and then,
mile by mile,
we learn to weave.

By Irene Latham©

And now, I must put on more sunburn gel.  It was very sunny yesterday and I was outside all day, forgetting sunscreen.  My face is burned.
And I must apply more Arnica gel.  It was very physically taxing on a motorcycle for hours and hours finding muscles you thought left when you were 35, or younger. 
Now to get up the courage to take my own motorcycle out for a spin sometime today.  I know my son and husband have already got a route planned for us to go for a backroad ride to our favorite breakfast place on Saturday morning...


  1. You are amazing, Donna! Way to stick with it!
    Irene really nailed your bold ways, didn't she?
    I love "the sun, too,/greets each pink/morning/as a beginner"

    1. I was struck by that line also. I also think it helped keep me motivated for the class!

  2. Dear Donna, CONGRATULATIONS on passing your test! And on the weight loss! And on this lovely poem. You are BOLD through and through, and I'm so happy to know you. xo

    1. I have to say - I teared up reading your poem! Thank you for your thoughtfulness!

  3. What an inspiring, joyful post. Congratulations, Donna. I loved sharing the wonderful week that was, with you.

    1. It's been a busy, fun week! Thanks for stopping by and sharing it with me!

  4. I'm so proud of you, Donna, admiring too. What a challenge, and congratulations for passing the test! Love your poem, and Irene's is quite perfect for continued inspiration, isn't it? "Country Roads" await!

    1. I'm pretty sore today, but it was well worth it - just to know I'm still able to learn "new tricks"!
      Irene's poem was very special. I may find a way to put that in the frame.

  5. Wow, I'm impressed! Two wonderful poems for the road. Enjoy the ride.

  6. Appreciations for both your grandma not-easy rider poem &
    your hard work toward better health, dear Donna.
    Irene's poem & picture frame are each YOU-perfect.

  7. Congratulations, Donna! And what a thoughtful gift from Irene. I too was struck by the lines about the sun greeting each new day as a beginner. How wise and comforting. Happy travels! (Oh, yes and I love your poem too. Your poem stories read as if they came out effortlessly.)

  8. Amazing, Donna. Congrats on the all new you!

  9. You are the coolest grandma! I love your poem and Irene's!

  10. Exciting times, Donna! Congrats on everything, and thanks for sharing your fun poem with us. That Irene is an expert at sensing what fellow poets need; thanks for sharing her wonderful gifts, too! BOLD fits.

  11. Congratulations, Donna! I am in awe of you; learning to ride a motorcycle, losing weight the RIGHT way, and most especially coming up with such a fun poem on the breaks of your class! Irene hit the mark with her gift - which is a gift for us too. Love her line: "blister me home". Such goodness! =)

  12. Happy motorcycling! Way to stick with it until you succeeded!


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