Before the internet was ever a world changing phenomena, people took out ads in local papers. Papers specifically designed to sell things for people. Ours was called “The Pennysaver”. We always scoured the small ads hoping to find some treasure that someone was selling cheap.
It was 1975 and I was nearly 15. The Pennysaver had come and I was looking through it. That’s when I saw the ad. A used, 72 Yamaha 175. They were asking 400 hundred dollars. I, was penniless. So I did what sons usually do in these situations, I took it to my Dad. Surprisingly, it didn’t take too much on my part to convince him to at least go have a look at it. With the understanding of course, that this would be a loan. To be paid back weekly from my part time employment.
I called the number and set up the time that evening to go have a look. Luckily, my Dad was always a level headed person. I, on the other hand, as soon as I saw it, was already sold on owning it. My Dad talked the young man down a bit, and paying cash we took it home that night.
For the next three years, I rode that bike everywhere the trails would allow. Through water and mud, ranging as far as twenty or thirty miles away. This is where the story truly starts. And how on one fateful night it was stolen.
Summer nights in rural New York are for the most part fantastic. There is always an occasional heat wave of course.Making for some uncomfortable sleeping weather. But that was not the case on this particular night. This summer night was cool and calm. Sleeping with all the windows open, us kids were sleeping the way that only the young can do. We heard nothing.
My father though had heard something, something had woken him. A sound at the edge of his consciousness . A sound that he perceived was much like a motorcycle being quietly pushed down the road. Coming fully awake, he quickly got out of bed and ran downstairs in his tighty whities. It was a dark night with no moon to speak of, so seeing nothing out the window he grabbed the keys to the Ford Maverick and took off down the road. Hopefully, in the direction he imagined they had gone.
This is where things got sticky, literally . The Maverick had an issue, occasionally the float in the carburetor would stick. This was one of those occasions. A couple of miles down the road it started to sputter, and sputtering, it quit.
So here was my father, at two am on a main road in his underwear. Luckily in the 70’s, traffic at that time of the day was nonexistent. So he did what he had to do. He got out of the car, opened the trunk, finding something to rap on the side of the carb with, and then opened the hood of the car. All the while keeping an eye out for approaching cars. Trying to imagine what he would say to the sheriff deputy should one happen by. He needed to remove the air cleaner to get at the carb, so this took a minute or two. After having rapped on the carb, he tried the engine, it took several tries but he eventually got it running again. Motorcycle forgotten he turned around and headed for home.
On returning home he pulled into the driveway, and pulling up to the garage, saw my motorcycle sitting right where it always had.
To my Dad’s credit he could have kept this whole episode to himself. But it was too good of a story for even him to not tell it. We all got a good laugh out of the telling and the imagery of him in his underwear rapping on that carb.