The honey-bun girls and a farewell kiss
I was sitting in the Gazebo on the main street the other day watching the motorcycles come and go. Cave Spring is no doubt a motorcycle magnet and has always been so. It just seems there are a lot more of them than when I used to ride. I started thinking about that while watching some leather clad doctors and lawyers mount up.
The trouble with thinking when you get old is that it sometimes takes you in directions that you don’t want to go. That was the case here.
My riding partner was one of my best friends. Vern Pitts was one of the best riders I knew, and he too was also a Police Officer. We both had our own bikes and did a lot of riding.
In the seventies we also ran our own tree service and made as much or more money cutting trees as we did policing. Both of us were assigned to the traffic division of the Police Department, and rode motorcycles eight hours a day at the City’s expense. Life was good.
At the time of this story Vern had a late sixty something Harley. I had a repossessed Sportster that I purchased from a local bank. Why I bought it is beyond me.
It was pure stock. The gears were on the right side, like the British bikes. It had no windshield and the seat was about two inches thick. It really wasn’t bad riding on short little trips around town. But some of the guys talked me into riding to Cherokee, North Carolina and over the mountain to Gatlinburg. By the time we got home I had no feeling in the lower half of my body.
I took the Sportster to a chop shop and they changed the front end. It got a little rake which extended the front forks and allowed it to set up a little. We also changed the handlebars, and put a King and Queen seat on it hoping that would cushion the ride. Still didn’t put a windshield on her, just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Ok, now I’m not easy rider, but I’m ready for another road trip to see what improvements we’ve made. And I wanted to show it off.
A few weeks later Vern and I were hanging around the Country House BBQ when an old friend came in. He said he saw the bikes out front and thought they were ours, and had a proposition for us.
He had rode motors with us at one time on the Police department, but had left for another job that paid a little more money. The department had rehired him and he had just bought a brand new Harley. Well, new to him anyway.
He was a good guy, and had served honorably in the military and was proud of it. On his arm was the tattoo of the 101st first Screaming Eagles. He liked to wear T-shirts with cut out sleeves so it would show.
Now I want to let everybody know I personally have nothing against Tattoos. In fact once in Milwaukee I got in line to get me one. I had picked out this Leopard climbing up my arm, but I sobered up just about the time they called my name.
Anyway, I’m going to call our buddy Screaming Eagle, since I don’t know where he is these days, and I promised years ago, not to tell this story on him till I was sure he was no longer among the living.
We were sitting in the Country House catching up on what he had been doing for the last three years, when a couple of “Honey-Bun” girls walked in. They had just gotten off work and were still wearing their white uniforms. He immediately dropped his head, and Vern and I could see it upset him pretty bad.
I’m going to run a rabbit right here for a minute, but as the lawyer says, it does tie in, and I’ll get back to it.
Rome has several Bakeries. And in the sixties and seventies they had one that made Honey-Buns almost exclusively. Most of the ladies that worked there were good, God Fearing, Family oriented, church going women. But in many companies, and this was no exception, there is a small percentage that likes to party. And at this time in history, at this bakery, it was a pretty good percentage.
There were some real lookers among the party crowd. Now the thing that stands out about the “Honey-Bun” girls was the way they smelled. I’m not sure delicious is good enough. I feel confident that Estee Lauder or Chanel didn’t have anything close. After working that sweet dough and glaze for an eight hour shift they were permeated with the smell. And Screaming Eagle had married one. He said that after a couple of slow dances he was forever more hooked. The sad thing was that she had just divorced him. He didn’t see it coming and was on the rebound.
So now he proposed a little midnight ride, to Panama City Florida. He said we could be there by daylight, we’d sleep a few hours, hang around the beach during the afternoon, party that night and ride back Sunday. I looked at Vern and he just shrugged his shoulders. I knew from that he was all in, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Screaming Eagle could test his new bike, and I could do my scaled down version of Peter Fonda Saturday night on the strip. So away we went. Redneck Riviera here we come.
One thing here I want to add. Riding through the night in South Alabama with no windshield is a challenge. You’re going to get the chance to eat a lot of bugs. Now please be advised. As any rider can tell you, some of them are mighty tasty, and some are real bitter. The problem is, like Forrest Gump said about a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’re going to get.
We made it to Panama City with no trouble at all. Vern knew a guy that had a cheap motel right on the beach. We slept till noon, had lunch, and were now sitting on the patio behind the motel on the beach side. We had purchased a Styrofoam cooler and it was full. All we had to do now was just kick back and wait for the sun to kind of dip into the Gulf. Life was good.
Right before dark we saw this young woman walking slowly along the beach. There was nothing uncommon here, except she wasn’t really dressed in beach wear. She would stop and take long looks out into the gulf, and finally started walking out in the surf to where it was over her knees. There she had stopped.
Screaming Eagle turned to us and said. “I think that girl is going to kill herself.” While we were watching, the Eagle got up and started walking toward her. Vern and I were following a good distance behind him. When we got with-in twenty or thirty yards we sat down in the sand. Eagle was already talking to her and we were close enough to hear what was said.
It was obvious that she was going to kill herself and Eagle was doing all he could to talk her out of it. Vern and I didn’t move, we didn’t want to spook her, or break the rapport that was being developed. Eagle had her listening now. Later in hostage negotiation training that’s one of the first steps taught. He told her all about his problems with his ex-wife. How living wasn’t so bad, he knew life wasn’t fair but you just had to make the best out of it. He did a great job. But she seemed unconvinced.
Finally he told her that if she was bound and determined to drown herself. To please allow him a final kiss to remember her by. This seemed to get her attention, and she asked several times was he sure of that. He assured her he was and she gave him a good one.
That did it. He held her hand and led her out of the water. Vern asked her to come have a cool one with us. She said she had to retrieve her shoes and would be right back. While she was gone Eagle was really proud of himself and we were too. “Boys, she kisses better than the Honey-bun wife I had,” he said. Then looking straight at us he added.”When I kiss’em they don’t even want to kill themselves anymore.”
She came back and sipped a couple of beers and then said that if she wasn’t going to kill herself she was going to have to go home and get ready for her shift tomorrow morning. As she started to walk off Vern asked her why she wanted to kill herself in the first place?
She replied that she was supposed to get married this coming December. And her fiancé had dressed her up in girl clothes a few months back and they went to a party as sisters. She told Vern that she liked the look, so I started doing it myself. My fiancé doesn’t like me wearing her clothes, and is threatening to call off the wedding if I don’t quit. So on the week-ends she has to work I dress in her clothes and drive the fifty miles to the beach. But now my mother and dad are pitching a fit about me dressing like a girl. It’s just a family thing, I guess. Vern just dropped his head as she walked away.
It was a long ride home !!!