The Charlie Bravo Story

We have a dream

A year ago today, dad and I had been in Colorado for a week with mom and Max, and were heading across New Mexico, back towards the Casa and dad’s unemployment.

Since we first started posting concerning the concept of the crate, dad had always felt like the largest hypocrite on the planet, as he had his own crates: vacation time and a company car. Although my crate was made of plastic and steel and was dumped in the wilderness, a crate can be anywhere and anything, a situation that anyone else would view with pity or even disgust, but that the incarcerated one views as normal, even desirable.

So when we arrived back home, dad found out that a regime change had occurred at the old workplace, and promptly found himself being swatted on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, driven home in his crate, and dumped out in the front yard with a only a cardboard box of personal belongings to note the passing of twenty-one years of indentured servitude. As we stood there watching the tail lights of the crate recede down the street, no idea how and where we were going from here, there was one overwhelming emotion:

Relief.

Mom came home that afternoon to find dad home but the car not in its usual spot in the driveway, as we have priorities, and the garage is reserved for the bikes; was it around back? Nooo… in the shop? Guess again… you got canned? Ding, ding, ding, you win the prize!! Mom’s response when informed that a big chunk of income had just been removed from the coffers of the Casa del Whackos?

“Thank God”

Work isn’t life, it’s merely life support, and what you do does not define who you are.

The only thing constant in life is change, and as painful as it may be at the time, the pain is often the space on the page that announces the start of a new chapter in the book.

So here we are, a year later; there has been terrible things happen during this span of days, the loss of Bull, Max, and Angel, strife in other areas of life, the mental and physical health of those around us, all the cares of life that doth so easily beset us. But we have also been incredibly blessed as well, a new job with boundless opportunities should dad choose to stay that path, new inmates to fill the void at the Casa, and we are also getting very close to the realization of a dream, the Charkstream.

When dad and I first found each other, the initial dream was to travel the country by sidecar, visiting and blogging about the old places and people that time and popularity have seemed to have forgotten. When the sidecar idea proved impracticle to our needs(it didn’t lean, and I need to lean), dad started fiddling with the idea of carrying me on the back of the bike. This in itself is also impractical, as the back of the bike is where he carries his camping gear, but we were determined to somehow make it work. Various contraptions and incarnations later, a chariot was fabbed out of PVC pipe, a plumber’s nightmare that has now taken us all over the great state of Arkansas as well as New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and the journey is just beginning.

But still the search continued for a more suitable saddle for my royal posterior, and dad found the Honda CB1100, but more importantly, a welder named Jason that saw the the dream in the fourth dimension. Anyone can see a project in the normal three dimensions in which we view everything, but only a select few can see it in the fourth dimension, completion, before the project even starts.

You gotta have faith.

All dad mentioned when he first met with Jason was that he always admired the old aluminum Airstream trailers that he used to see on the highways of Missouri when he was a kid. This was back in the day when the motels that dotted Route 66 and elsewhere still had those rectangular plastic key fobs instead of the soulless cards whose magnetic strips never seem to work the first time, causing the trudge of shame to the front desk to get a replacement. A key always works, and you get that satisfying mechanical “clunk” when the door opens to reveal the curling linoleum, out of date carpet, and the strip announcing “sanitized for your protection”.

Well, Jason has exceeded even our most ambitious vision; true, it’s not quite finished, and the cost has far exceeded our original expectations, but how do you put a price on a work of art? And not just a work of art, but a functional work of art and the start toward a fulfillment of a dream?

And ours is a crazy dream- but what dream isn’t crazy? Can a dream be a dream and be sensible? No. A sensible dream is a plan, and unfortunately, we’re dreamers, not planners. Mom? Gary? Jason? They’re planners AND dreamers, but the planning gene somehow missed dad, and without them and you, none of this would even be possible.

The bike is like a magic carpet; not only does it get us places, but it introduces us to people, people we could never engage as readily if we were in a car,(Sorry, Miss Ellie). Who can fail to feel at least a hint of pleasure at the sight of a goofy dog that finds such joy simply riding on the back of a motorcycle?

So there will be no picture to accompany this post today; just imagine an Airstream trailer, possibly flying past an old Stuckeys on a patched up, two lane highway, somewhere out west enroute towards an unknown destination on a course that’s not yet set, at least as far as we know.

See you on the road.

A storyteller makes up things to help other people; a liar makes up things to help himself.- Daniel Wallace

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