Sunday morning for me was all well and good until I discovered motorcycles or at least the allure and want of them. It turned out that motorcycle temptation lay close; the Devil often places temptation so conveniently. In this case, across the street and just around the corner from our church, perhaps just 200 feet away there lay a den of sin and iniquity: a BSA dealer.
Bathsheba's lips and chrome that shined like the Golden Calf itself, those things beckoned this innocent, small town boy. If ever there were a door to temptation placed close to a church, it was Cecil's Cycle Center.
Not long after I turned 15 years old I was feeling rebellious enough to decide that peering through the window of the BSA shop would be more fun than sitting in a Sunday School class so one Sunday after my family got out of our car in front of the church, off I walked around the corner of the church building toward the Sunday School classroom and waited a couple of minutes. I had sweaty palms. My heart was beating fast. Temptation was at full throttle. Peering around the corner towards the main church building I ascertained that my parents had gone off to their own class.
With malice aforethought I made my break for the closed motorcycle shop. I tried to walk casually as if I had every right to go there against my parent's wishes and knowing full well it would be bad, very bad, if I was caught. I was at that age where I was feeling the first pangs of independence and wrongly thinking I had what it took to stand up to my dad should I get caught or that I was at least smart enough to not get caught.
Every Sunday for the next few Sundays I'd slip away from the church and walk over and stare through the window and study the Beezers while my family and friends studied the Good Book. I soaked up the bikes and the look of their many parts. I tried to divine the purpose of their less obvious levers and controls and I even plotted to visit the shop one day when it was open.
And then one fine Sunday morn as I stood engaging in my secret, weekly bout of moto-lust, my dad walked up and surprised me. It was not a happy moment. "What do you think you're doing??" He glowered at me. I was properly scared. No doubt the ancient Israelites felt the same fear when when Moses came down from visiting with God on Mt. Sinai and found them having a real blow out of a party in front of that Golden Calf. Like the Children of Israel I could not think of a single excuse that didn't sound pretty lame. I'd really done it this time, nothing I'd ever done was as bad as ditching Sunday School to look at motorcycles. I got yelled at, threatened, yelled at some more, and then grounded for every Sunday for the rest of my natural life. It was worth it.
I did feel bad about disappointing my dad. Funny thing but parents never want to disappoint their children and children never want to disappoint their parents but somehow we always manage to disappoint each other in some way, first as children and later as parents.
I have to admit I never really regretted those first days of motorcycle awakening, of staring though the dirty window of that bike shop and dreaming of what motorcycle riding would be like, of buying motorcycle magazines and hiding them under the mattress of my bed.
Less than a year later Dad would let me buy my first motorcycle although it wasn't the gloriously blue BSA 250. I guess he forgave me for my youthful errors and in turn I tried to do a better job of hiding my motorcycle related wickedness from him.