North Main, Ft. Worth Stockyards, just south of Hell’s Half Acre
Cowtown, T-E-X-A-S – The truth is, you don’t have to be flying a patch to get profiled, not in this world. No way.
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
…His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.Yours, Arthur James Balfour
Sec. 1. FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the …. Sec. 20. OUTLAWRY OR TRANSPORTATION OUT OF STATE FOR OFFENSE. No citizen shall be outlawed. No person shall be transported out of the State for any offense committed within the same. This section does not prohibit an agreement with another state providing for the confinement of inmates of this State in the penal or correctional facilities of that state.
(Amended Nov. 5, 1985.)
Let’s call him Grogan – at least, that’s what the dude with the Society of Grey Beard Bikers patch called him, a man he said was retired from the profession of arms, U.S. Marine Corps – Sgt. Major in rank.
Just how Sgt. Major wound up stepping into the path of an oncoming semi truck while standing on a white line in the big middle of Hwy. 183 in Bedford is a story all its own.
Like Sheriff Bell said in the movie the Coen Brothers made of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, “No Country For Old Men,” you can certainly say it’s a story, but not much more than that.
Media rarely reports the details of a suicide – unless the victim makes a public spectacle of his self murder, and then only rarely. Cop shops don’t like to give up the official record, and in this story, the Sgt. Major police pursued him when he fled after they came to serve an arrest warrant to a place of refuge, a spot on the freeway, where he for some reason left his vehicle and took refuge from the pursuing police in the middle of one of the world’s busiest high-speed limited access expressways, standing on the white line.
The obligatory compelling event:
Grey Beard put it this way. “The Sgt. Major tried to get off his Harley without putting the kickstand down…”
A bystander who had just made the November 10 Stockyards Stampede ride to Wilson’s Leathers from Strokers-On-Harry Hines to the 2200 block of North Main, Ft. Worth, in a thundering herd led by the Sons Of Liberty Riders MC, interjected: “I JUST HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!”
When all this took place outside the bar, the shock of Sgt. Major’s bike hitting the pavement broke the toe shifter apparatus where the suicide clutch on 45-inch flathead Hogs used to be and on today’s touring models, the one down, four up gear shift lever rests just above the footboard, on the left side of the touring FL model.
Naturally, as the story goes, the old boy was drunk and in operational control of a motor vehicle, but for some reason, the local gendarmes let him go home to sleep it off after citing him for the misdemeanor offense of public intoxication.
Overnight, someone changed their minds about all that. The next day, they showed up at his home to arrest Grogan for DWI.
That’s when the seasoned combat veteran bolted in his vehicle, and the cops followed.
When he took refuge on of the multitude of white lines of Hwy. 183, the cops stayed on the shoulder, shouting at him through a bullhorn to give up, come back to their custody. The Sgt. Major stood his ground in no man’s land. After all, he was in a place from which no traveler every returns, as it were.
The police made preparations to shut down the highway and gave every sign of preparing for a violent confrontation, the Sgt. Major took one lateral step, “dress right dress” – here, the narrator of this tale of woe mimicked the close order drill standing ont the sidewalk outside Wilson’s – directly into the path of a semi barreling along at the speed limit, which seems to be at least 80, if not 85 miles per hour along that stretch of mid-cities highway – and everywhere else in the concrete canyons of the Metromess.
“You really ought to look into that,” said Mr. Grey Beard Society, himself. “I’m sure the details are available – somewhere.”
So, what was that all about? Who knows? Who cares? Spooky is as spooky does, etc.
All the way from Dallas, he and his lady friend criss-crossed lanes, swapping position at the drag end of the convoy, which of course, prevented those behind them from joining the formation.
The maniacs driving the jacked-up four-wheel drive Cowboy Cadillacs dove in to cut the herd, and the SOLR riding drag risked his life a number of times to block irate motorists willing to commit vehicular homicide to prove a point, the idea being, “Cut me off, buddy, you’re going down.”
Nothing like a little friendly vehicular assault at speeds that would terrify all but the brain dead.
Some folks like to play games in the afternoon freeway traffic, and, like, since everybody got to be somewhere, look here where we wound up.
As it turns out, there are unwritten rules everywhere you go on a Hog, and over the course of the past month walking the 9-hole course of three gambler’s loops that all wind up back at the Clubhouse and cold beer, hot whiskey, and sand box of The Bosque Valley Golf Club, FM 1991, near Meridian, “Top Of The Hill Country,” the local gentry informed me more than once that it’s just not cool to ride “that thing” up to the first tee and park it right there in the parking lot.
Okay, what else is new?
On November 30, the prophecy of the Gray Beard came true.
I parked at the golf course for an hour, walked the perimeter of the grounds as the gathering gloom chased the golfers into a long day’s journey to night, and when I got back on my scooter, guess what?
The toe shifter was all jimmied up, man. Someone made a rather unnecessary adjustment to the apparatus, the destructive kind that says, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend. President Bush used to loop this very track, back in the day. Don’t park that ‘thing’ here.”
When I depressed me left great toe on the peg to hit low gear, it rotated way down past the point of no return, and I rode to Waco on an errand to pick up my month’s supply of KETO powdered smoothie mix, shifting gears with the heel piece of the shifter.
Doctor’s orders: Lose 100 pounds or lose your legs, eyesight, kidney function, lungs and heart – whatever. Just do it. I’m getting there; only have 29 pounds to go, and I’ve been walking, trotting, dieting, hitting golf balls, walking some more, and keeping that blood sugar down and resetting my insulin resistance level since May 4.
Didn’t try to get off the bike without putting the kickstand down, didn’t tumble, rumble, or do anything but make an appointment with the wrench to have the shaft of the control and the shifter lever replaced.
Didn’t come anywhere near any kind of unnecessary dust-up, just arranged with the President of the Bosque Valley Golf Club to get a refund of my monthly dues in return for a promise that I will never cast my shadow on those hallowed golfing grounds – no more forever.
Incidentally, I haven’t had a sniff, snort, swaller, puff, pill – or suppository – not even a cold beer, since 1984 – 34 long years. No DWI.
But it seems that’s just not good enough.
I have spoken.
Someone, please, remind Representative Beto O’Rourke that though he thinks we don’t need a wall, the simple truth is, we already have one.
And the wall doesn’t just define the border of Mexico; it includes many invisible borders within the boundaries of your state, your county, your city, and your neighborhood, electronic boundaries triggered by GPS devices on your car, your cell phone, electronic bracelet, TDC identification card or Driver’s License – whatever.
The truth is, it’s a multiplicity of walls, a virtual, electronic grid of walls, and it’s all recorded in digital real time to the Mobile Data Terminal in Officer McGruff’s patrol “unit.”
Welcome to the Balkans. Feudalism is alive and well in the Lone Star State.
Officer McGruff is with us, the UAVs are on track, and the satellites are watching.
So mote it be.
The slipped spline on an Harley-Davidson FLHRS Road King Custom parked in a place where the clientele call it “that thing”