Six of Sixty - number 2
I am celebrating the arrival of "So There I Was...",
the book, by re-posting here six of the sixty columns
that make up "So There I Was ..."
Ordering info is here
From Section Two - "Quakers, not just for breakfast anymore"
So there I was ...
at a truck stop, stocking up on a warm breakfast to keep me going through a long day of motorcycle riding. My ride is a Kawasaki Vulcan 750 named Rocinante, or Rosie, or just “The Holy Kaw.” When I am out on the road my mode of transport is obvious, even when she is parked outside because I am always wearing leathers and there is a full-face helmet on the counter next to me. I usually take a seat at the counter because the leathers don’t bend so good, and it’s a pain to get in and out of them.
I always mind my own business, but that never seems to prevent other people from minding my business with me. A big trucker plants himself next to me. The correlation between truckers and bikers is significantly high.
“Hey, pretty lady, where you riding to today?”
They never seem to be able to leave the solo female biker thing alone. But I take no offense. I give a brief itinerary. Weather is discussed -- I never discount weather info from a trucker.
“So, whatcha do when you aren’t ridin’?”
“I’m a Quaker preacher.”
This always stops them for a moment. Silence ensues, which is appropriate since Quakers often worship in silence. The next question is often,
“I thought you guys were all dead.”
We are often confused with the Shakers – an 18th century sect that did not believe in procreation and hence mostly died out. Quakers have been around since 1652, have had women preachers all that time, and, for good or ill, we do have children.
“Nope, we’re still going strong.”
“And you ride motorcycles?”
Confusion with the Amish is next. Quakers have no conscience against technology per se.
“Yep, and cars and airplanes and everything.”
“Hunh” I can see the confusion generalizing. I decide to volunteer a bit of information.
“And, we don’t look like the Quaker Oats guy anymore.”
“I can see that – but you are eating the oatmeal.”
“Oh yes, we are very religious about the oatmeal.”
Actually, Quakers have never produced, sold, or had any official connection with commercial oatmeal production. Those guys are trading off of our good name. I think we should get a discount, but we don’t. However, sometimes I just can’t resist messing with the heads of random truckers.
“So what are y’all about?”
“Oh, you know, the standard Jesus stuff -- being good to folks even when they aren’t good to you, taking care of the poor, keeping it simple, telling it like it is.”
“OK, we don’t really care so much about the oatmeal. Cream of Wheat is perfectly acceptable.” (Caught by my own preaching once again.)
“You know, I always thought Jesus would make a good biker.”
“Me too, buddy, me too.”