Yesterday, from its early start to a later-than-usual finish, was as packed with activity as any day since we’ve been back at Second Chance Ranch. Some of it was expected and some of it was a surprise, but all of it was intentional.
Our second dumpster arrived mid-morning, another 20-cubic-yard beast, threaded skillfully between Ernie and the carport. It awaits the by-product of our purge, which we expect to continue for the next week or ten days.
This Sunday our auctioneer will pay a visit to the Ranch, to gauge just how much work he has ahead of him. It’s the same auctioneer who so ably handled the auction of Deb’s father’s estate, and we’re looking forward to working with him and his crew again. We’ve decided to have them give us a hand sorting through our household madness, too, and we definitely can use the help
In related news, our auction won’t be online-only after all — at the auctioneer’s suggestion, we’re going to have our household goods hauled to the county fairgrounds for a live auction. Yes, it’s an added expense, but we expect a much better take. The sale is scheduled for early July, which means that we’ll be hanging around here for another month.
While we were out yesterday afternoon, Deb’s cousin sent photos of a couple of visitors to his place. Actually, they’re neighbors — two black bears, seldom seen but always around somewhere.
The sight made us smile, reminding us how very different The Mountain is from anything we’ve ever done. We can’t wait to get back there and start living the life we’ve imagined.
The reason we were away from the house (and not filling the dumpster), by the way, is that we were at a nearby car dealership, making good on our plan to sell Deb’s Tacoma. The offer she got was so good that we decided to see what we could get for mine, too. (They’re nearly identical 2019 trucks, low-mileage and clean.)
That, of course, would mean that we’d be without wheels. We looked at the dealership’s used-vehicle inventory, spied a worthy replacement, took it for a 20-mile test drive (in a torrential downpour) and asked the sales guy to run the numbers.
Turns out we could have it, net, for next to nothing — sold. They did the pre-delivery prep this morning and we drove it home this afternoon.
So our Toyota Tacomas, both of them, are gone. In their place is a seven-year-old Chevy Silverado half-ton, in great shape for its age. We intended to do something like this eventually — look for a full-size American-badged truck, used but clean — but it happened sooner than planned.
It gets us out from under a pair of lease payments and gets us into a free-and-clear vehicle. Our insurance cost will drop by more than 50%. Naturally, that’s a great feeling.
I’ll admit that this ride might be a little more posh than what we’d envisioned. Still, it’s my “retirement truck” and we’ll run it ’til either its wheels or mine fall off. And obviously, this is the right vehicle for our American Life on The Mountain.
In the public tug-of-war over “gun control,” some have suggested that no matter what we do or don’t do, “we must come together as a country.” I’ve heard it from both sides, usually from folks posing as reasonable voices (and sometimes from voices who are reasonable). But no matter the source, the same thing occurs to me.
Come together? Over what?
This is the time-tested “unity trap.” The goal, in most cases, is to cajole people into putting superficial congeniality ahead of cherished values. Tipping into shallow “unity” is why we always end up at the same place and have the same arguments.
That’s no place to start. It’s not enough to say, “We’re all Americans” when there are such fundamental differences — not of opinion but of principle.
I have common ground with true Americans, those of like mind. And I have nothing of importance in common with those who want to infringe on their fellow citizens’ birthrights.
Don’t fall for it. Stand your ground.
Now I’m gonna tell you a story. Yeah, I know, I do that almost every day anyway, but this is a tale from my former life — over 20 years ago, a time when motorcycles and motorcycle culture were both my passion and my profession.
On February 23rd, 2002, I was onstage at an event celebrating the anniversary of a Harley-Davidson dealer almost as old as The Motor Company itself. My role on this Saturday was to interview, talk-show-style, notable figures in the Harley community. My favorite subjects were Willie G. Davidson, his wife Nancy and daughter Karen.
When that particular interview was over, the appreciative crowd applauded and we exited the stage. Willie G. and I were still talking as we walked down the steps when one of the dealer’s employees approached us with breaking news.
At the Hellraiser Ball, a biker-lifestyle and tattoos expo on held on Long Island that same day, dozens of Pagans M.C. had shown up and started shooting. Their targets were members of Hells Angels M.C., sponsors of the event. When the smoke cleared, one was dead and ten were wounded.
Willie G. looked at me and said, “Oh, man — here we go.”
“Yup,” I replied. “We know what’s coming. I’ve got your back.”
“And I’ve got yours,” he said as we shook hands.
Two days later, when I returned to my regular job as spokesperson for the nation’s largest motorcycling organization, my phone was ringing off the hook. Media were anxious for a pithy statement of condemnation from us.
I’d been working with the press for decades by then, so I expected that. My response to each request was the same: “So why are you calling me?”
“Well, because bikers were involved,” would come the reply.
I’d laugh and ask them how, exactly, motorcycles were involved in the crime.
That’s when I reminded them that it was wintertime in New York, and that the assailants — all 73 of them — had arrived in rented vans. Then I asked the reporter if they called AAA every time a person who drives a car shoots someone. This was a crime story, not a motorcycle story.
That was our statement. It made the papers nationwide.
I tell that story because these are the simple-minded people who produce the “news” that Americans consume. Even 20 years ago they took the easy way, went for the sensational angle, trafficked in stereotypes. It was a battle I fought every day I was in that job.
It’s worse now, I’d imagine. I’m glad to be out of that business.
Gun owners are under assault from the same insipid “journalists,” of course, and it’s more than simply a matter of image. These State stenographers fall reflexively into The Holy Narrative about The Evil Gun, carrying water for their ideological soulmates in government without reporting on mental illness, cultural rot, school security or government’s abject failure to enforce laws already on the books.
I’ve personally watched once-honest “journalists” corrupted by The Mob. And I hate to break it to you, but there’s truly no way to reverse that — they’re irredeemable.
All we can do, really, is live our American Life and, using every medium at our disposal, speak our American Truth. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. Fuck ’em — fuck ’em all.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.