Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

We forget how much work was done by hand in the "good old days." People who remember those days fondly generally didn't work on a farm or in a factory. I remember the sheer number of people who had lost fingers or hands working with unguarded machines. Our local blacksmith had a steam engine to run a shaft and belt system to power each machine. Nothing was guarded. I soon learned to give those belts a wide space. Getting caught in a belt could ruin or kill a kid. Steam is silent and a lot of folk had no idea how unstoppable those pulleys were. We learned safety at an early age. I liked being in the blacksmith shop. Orvill Zigler was the blacksmith and a distant relative of mine. He was also one of several town drunks. A perfect happy curmudgeon to shape a young mind. I remember watching the men shear sheep. That was work. Extreme, bent over, hot and heavy work. And the men would brag about how many sheep they could shear in an hour. For one not physical, and I was not, there was an induced shame. Strength and a combination of cunning and confidence were the only male characteristics of real value in rural America in the 40s and 50s. I didn't have either but I remember well the men with big hands. They are gone now, those old German and Dutch, Norsk and Swede men who started milking cows at grade school age. Whatever their physical stature they had big hands, hard and knurled. As old men one could always spot them in church. As age mellowed them they became wise and their strength became strength of character and not of muscle. I do not miss the old days but sometimes I miss the old men and old women those days produced.

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