Leslye M 1938 Harley Davidson

A Heart Never Forgets It's Harley

Around 1955 a young man, against his Father's wishes buys a used Harley Davidson motorcycle. It is the beginning of a very long journey for a man and his bike. My Father did not own the bike for long before entering the US Air Force, knowing his Father's distain for his show of defiance in buying the Harley he disassembles it and packs it into crates and stores it. He knows if he does not take this measure his Father will destroy the bike by force or by literally riding it into the ground. The bike stays in those crates until he has finished his service and arrives back to his old home, new wife in tow. My Mother says it took him a couple of days to reassemble the bike, kick the pedal exactly 3 times and it started right up and off he went! The bike followed him wherever he moved after that. It was a defining force in his life from the time he acquired it, it has been there for as long as I can remember, it is the one and only thing that he never sold off when money got tight or times were hard. Many, many years ago, he passed it to me. I do not remember exactly what birthday, because I did not understand at that time its significance. It was just a dirty old bike that was always in the garage, a garage that by then was so packed with junk I wasn't even sure if the "gift" was actually still there. My Father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 18 years ago. This past May he began to mutter the word motorcycle to the aides at his nursing facility, and there began my true journey with the old dirty Harley that I know had not run in over 20 years. I became obsessed by an overwhelming desire to make it run for him, to bring his mind to those early years and what the bike meant to him. Through the grace of God and a word of mouth recommendation a man named Dave Clemons was plunked right into the middle of my plight. All I asked of him was to make it run for 10 minutes, that was all I needed to let my Father hear it and feel it and rev that throttle one last time. I knew it was asking a lot and I was in the beginning not at all hopeful. But, with more patience and skill than most could imagine he took that neglected dirty bike and not only made it run, he made it RIDEABLE! So, sometimes prayers are answered, expectations are surpassed, faith in your fellow man is restored, and miracles happen! This bike is all of that and so much more to me now...On December 28 2013 we were able to reunite the bike in it’s beautiful running condition with my Dad. He lit up and smiled like he had not in so many, many years! He revved the throttle and felt the rumble of that engine one last time. He passed away last month on June 4th and giving that experience to him before he died sends me to the moon and back with love and joy.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Ken USA September 7, 2015 at 03:55
    Dear Leslye M, We met at the Dania Beach bike show in 2014. You had the bike there on display and it was very touching to learn what you had done for your late father by bringing that bike back to life. I have known Dave Clemons for many years and he is one of the very best (and few men) you could ever have found to help you with this task. I actually was at Daves when he was going thru the various steps to make it run. He actually let me help a little and I can tell you it was an honor for me. I lost my father in 1990, and if he had that bike in his earlier life I would like to think I would have tried to do exactly as you did. Bless you Leslye, Ken

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