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A glimpse inside the heart of scary-motorcycle-rider guy
Greeley Tribune ^ | 1 Jun 08 | Natalie Costanza-Chavez

Posted on 06/02/2008 3:20:00 PM PDT by real saxophonist

A glimpse inside the heart of scary-motorcycle-rider guy

I am in the frozen food section of a grocery store, dazed in that Technicolor way that settles when we're faced with 14 kinds of margarine to choose from. I'm staring at the boxes when I catch sight of a man in a jacket.

It is superb, covered with patches and insignias, drab and worn in all the right places. It is so perfectly aged, it looks like a something from the wardrobe department of a Hollywood movie.

The man wearing it could also have stepped from a movie set -- he's what my kids, when they were younger, would have called a "motorcycle-rider-guy." He looks tough and convincingly self-sufficient. He's not smiling while he leans over the vats of butter and margarine to pick up a box. I'm staring. I spot the letters on one of his patches and string them together over the folds of a pocket. It says "Patriot Guard."

One year ago my friends attended the graduation ceremonies at Rocky Mountain High School and watched a boy graduate. Then they headed home to get ready for the party, to take the cheese plates out of the refrigerator, to unwrap the cold cuts, and double-check that the red and gold streamers hadn't blown away.

That's when they got the call from the wife of their oldest son. Sgt. Nicholas Walsh had been fatally shot in Iraq. Nick's wife wanted to tell them before two Marines, solemn faced and duty bound, made their long drive to arrive at the doorstep of this family that just moments before had been in celebration.

A full military funeral was held, smack in the middle of Fort Collins. The entire town stepped up. Word had it that crazy people -- and I don't use that phrase lightly -- from a Kansas hate group might picket the funeral. Hundreds of people showed up to place themselves as barriers, up and down the street, ready to shield the family from any potential ruckus. The Patriot Guard, clad in leather, with huge motorcycles and even bigger American flags, lined up to make an impressive and respectful wall.

At the grocery store, all this flits through my head. I look from the man's jacket to his face. He watches me stare at him. I blurt out, "Are you in the Patriot Guard?" He still doesn't smile; after all, I'm a complete stranger, staring, and in the dairy section no less. He answers a solid "yes."

Then everything moves together for me. I must have put the butter down. I leave my grocery basket and make my way around the refrigerated display. He's looking at me warily until I say "Did you ride for Sgt. Nick Walsh's funeral? His mom is my friend." His face falls, and then lifts and lights and softens all at once. His eyes fill half with tears.

He puts his butter down, and I hug him, and he's not even surprised. I thank him over and over again. He holds both my elbows, and says, "It wasn't about us, it was about Nick."

Before Nick's second deployment, his mother traveled to San Diego to see him, his wife, his two boys. As they drove through the gates of Camp Pendleton Marine base, they passed protesters with placards and signs about the war. His mom asked him, "Does that bother you?"

"What, that?" he said, following her gaze. He told her it didn't bother him at all. He said, "That's why I'm a Marine. To protect those kinds of rights, to protect those people."

After we left Nick's funeral last year, we walked past row after row of revving motorcycles, and crowds of -- I'll just say it -- some scary looking "motorcycle-rider-guys." I said to my sons, "See those riders? They are amazing. Don't ever be afraid of people just because of they way they look."

One son, who already wasn't afraid and was giving me the "Oh, brother" eye roll, said, "Not even the one with the spikes around his wrists and the skulls on his bike?"

"Not even him," I said.

The other son said, "Are they for the war or against it?" Because children see that Americans seem to fall into two camps over just about everything. "It doesn't matter," I told him. "They are both. They are all of it mixed up. They are Americans."

Natalie Costanza-Chavez is a writer who lives in Fort Collins and welcomes your e-mail. You can reach her, and read past columns, at www.gracenotescolumn.org, or e-mail her at grace-notes@comcast.net


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: patriotguard; pgr
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1 posted on 06/02/2008 3:20:00 PM PDT by real saxophonist
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To: real saxophonist; Morgana

For your edification.


2 posted on 06/02/2008 3:24:37 PM PDT by Melas (Offending stupid people since 1963)
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To: real saxophonist

Oh, sometime last fall I believe, I met a husband/wife team who rode with the Patriot Guards. They’d just left the funeral of a girl who’d been buried that day.

Like this writer, I made my gratitude known there in the checkout line, and expressed how proud I was of them and of America. They appreciated my comments, but not nearly as much as I appreciate all they do.


3 posted on 06/02/2008 3:27:58 PM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Melas
Very moving post. I had the opportunity to make very casual acquaintance with some of bikers who were part of the Ride to the Wall a few years back. I was surprised at the depth of their compassion and commitment to their cause. Appearences are truly deceiving!
4 posted on 06/02/2008 3:30:53 PM PDT by buckalfa
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To: real saxophonist; StarCMC

God bless the PGR.


5 posted on 06/02/2008 3:33:17 PM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: real saxophonist
Here on Maui, this last Memorial day, a group of about 300 bikers did a memorial ride to the Veterans Cemetery and then on to their pavilion just down the street from my house. Almost all of them fit the description in this article. If you can get passed the initial fear you will meet some real patriots. (most of these guys were Vets, some of the conflict in Viet Nam)
6 posted on 06/02/2008 3:40:27 PM PDT by fish hawk (Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.)
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To: jazusamo

Bump and an Amen.


7 posted on 06/02/2008 3:44:48 PM PDT by freema (Proud Marine Niece, Daughter, Wife, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Mom and FRiend)
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To: real saxophonist

i was at Rolling Thunder in D.C. one year. Most of the people there - if I had run into them anywhere else - probably would have made me uncomfortable given the stereotypes we all know. However, it didn’t take long to realize that I was safer there than anywhere - these were good people. They took their patriotism seriously and it was a privilege to be there with them.


8 posted on 06/02/2008 3:47:20 PM PDT by Aria (NO RAPIST ENABLER FOR PRESIDENT!!!)
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To: real saxophonist
I was getting ready to slag this post with the woman and her 14 kinds of margarine chit.

I'm so glad I read it through and can see that she's real.

9 posted on 06/02/2008 3:53:12 PM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: buckalfa

“Appearences are truly deceiving!”

Indeed they are.

psst....We bikers are not all bad guys or gals. ;<)

In fact, most of us aren’t bad boys at all. We just love to ride and we love the feeling of freedom that it gives us. While some folks can’t figure out why we do it, many of us don’t think that just because a persons heart is are beating, they’re alive. ;>)


10 posted on 06/02/2008 3:58:59 PM PDT by Gator113 (Obama is a member of the Far Wright Conspiracy.......)
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To: real saxophonist

There is a group of bikers that go to the homes of sexually abused children set to go to trial and testify against their abuser. They are very calm and gentle with the kids and show them their bikes and tattoos and such. Also, knowing how much an intimidation factor is for sexually abused children to face their antagonists they let the children know in no uncertain terms that when that child goes to court, several big, tough bikers will be in the audience to let the kids know that NO ONE is going to hurt them. And if they intimidate the abuser nobody loses any sleep, well except for the perp.


11 posted on 06/02/2008 4:02:10 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: jan in Colorado

ping


12 posted on 06/02/2008 4:09:19 PM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: Syncro; shibumi

*This* is a biker thread ping


13 posted on 06/02/2008 4:09:53 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

God bless ‘em for doing that!


14 posted on 06/02/2008 4:12:18 PM PDT by fishergirl (My warrior, my soldier, my hero - my son. God bless our troops!)
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To: real saxophonist

God bless the Patriot Guard Riders!


15 posted on 06/02/2008 4:12:20 PM PDT by texpat72 (<><)
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To: real saxophonist
You wouldn't believe how many people ask if I rode a Harley. I don't even own one....yet.

16 posted on 06/02/2008 4:12:59 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Satisfaction was my sin)
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To: real saxophonist

Thanks for the article, now I need some tissues. God bless the Patriot Guard!!


17 posted on 06/02/2008 4:13:17 PM PDT by fishergirl (My warrior, my soldier, my hero - my son. God bless our troops!)
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To: real saxophonist

OTOH, sometimes scary-looking people are also bad people. Some guys who ride motorcycles are very bad dudes, by anybody’s standards.


18 posted on 06/02/2008 4:16:00 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. - A. Lincoln)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

As a survivor of a “weird uncle” who totally got away with it, I wish to God I’d had people like that in my life, back then.

Maybe that’s part of why I have them in my life, now.

I know, without any shadow of a doubt, that NO one is ever going to harm me in any way, ever again and go unpunished.

If you’ve ever seen bikers pass each other on the road and automatically wave at each other and wondered “Gosh...do they ALL know each other?”...well, the answer is “Yes”, even if we’ve never met or will never see each other again.

And every one of us will stop to help the other when necessary, no exceptions.

You won’t find that in any other ‘societal subset’.


19 posted on 06/02/2008 4:21:19 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: RandallFlagg

You were to the manor, born.

Get a hog, boy!

;-D


20 posted on 06/02/2008 4:22:59 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: 1 Olgoat; 103198; 10Ring; 11Bush; 1stbn27; 2ndClassCitizen; 2SterlingConservatives; 2yearlurker; ...

DC Chapter ping except for justanobody. I haven’t got around to removing her from the list yet.

Justanobody, don’t read this.


21 posted on 06/02/2008 4:23:15 PM PDT by BufordP (Had Mexicans flown planes into the World Trade Center, Jorge Bush would have surrendered.)
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To: real saxophonist

Excellent


22 posted on 06/02/2008 4:29:02 PM PDT by wastedyears (Like a bat outta Hell.)
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To: Sherman Logan

OTOH, some people who are dressed in expensive suits and have never been near a bike are murders, child abusers, bank robbers, and I could go on and on, but you get the picture.


23 posted on 06/02/2008 4:29:41 PM PDT by lolhelp
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To: Salamander

Slowly working up the cashflow after the divorce while being the sole provider for my 2 Sons takes time. Almost there, though.


24 posted on 06/02/2008 4:30:12 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Satisfaction was my sin)
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To: real saxophonist

Most bikers are decent folk. A couple years ago I rode in a poker run to benefit the local schools that was organized by the Banditos. (Their kids attend school too).

They didn’t even comment I was on a Kawasaki.


25 posted on 06/02/2008 4:31:44 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Play that Funky Music Typical White Boy!)
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To: real saxophonist; Dr. Ed Bravo; OSTATE; MS.BEHAVIN; TherealMr.B; KSParalegal; BraveMan; ...

 

To be on or off my PGR list, please FReepmail me!

26 posted on 06/02/2008 4:35:52 PM PDT by StarCMC (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/peoples-information-support-team/ -JOIN US!-We're PIST!)
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To: StarCMC; MS.BEHAVIN

PING!!!


27 posted on 06/02/2008 4:35:55 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (Arrogance IS my virtue!)
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To: StarCMC

LOL!

You beat me by 3 seconds!


28 posted on 06/02/2008 4:37:11 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (Arrogance IS my virtue!)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for the ping Jaz!!


29 posted on 06/02/2008 4:38:40 PM PDT by StarCMC (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/peoples-information-support-team/ -JOIN US!-We're PIST!)
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To: Sherman Logan

I had the *the* baddest dude in this area watch over me like a dark guardian angel at a swap meet when a “nice guy” tried to cheat me out of a large sum of money because *I* didn’t know what the part he was buying actually was.

The “bad guy” saw the “good guy” point to a price on the list of items we were selling and knew he was screwing me over.

Without warning, the “bad guy” slammed his walking stick down across the paper and pointed to the right price and the “good guy” hauled ass.

The “bad guy” [and eventually 2 of his “brothers”] stood a respectful but short distance away from me the rest of the hour until hubby came back from parts-scrounging.

Then, he subtly tipped his hat and disappeared into the crowd.

To this day, if he sees me, he still tips his hat.

Another time, we rescued an out-of-gas “bad dude” off the side of the highway and got him back on the road.
We didn’t ask his name or anything else.

No matter where we go, if his “brothers” are there, they shadow us to make sure no harm comes to us, even though nearly a decade has passed and the out-of-gas guy is long dead.

I sat with a huge number of “bad dudes” in the infield of a bike race and it was so hot I was literally sick from it.

A huge “bad dude” that the other “bad dudes” gave wide berth to came and stood over me as I sat on the ground and provided very good shade for me for hours.
He had to be suffering terribly from the heat himself but he never said a single word.
He just stood, silently, arms crossed, staring straight ahead.

I’ve gotten more loyalty and devotion from “bad dude” strangers than I have 99% of my friends or my own flesh and blood.


30 posted on 06/02/2008 4:40:46 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: StarCMC
..."See those riders? They are amazing. Don't ever be afraid of people just because of they way they look."

The growth of Christian biker ministries is also helping to dispel the many false notions about riders. Some of those in the former category are also PGRs.
31 posted on 06/02/2008 4:41:38 PM PDT by Das Outsider
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To: Randy Larsen

LOL!!!!


32 posted on 06/02/2008 4:41:59 PM PDT by StarCMC (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/peoples-information-support-team/ -JOIN US!-We're PIST!)
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To: lolhelp

My uncle is clean cut, mannerly, witty and loved by the community.
He is a pillar of his church.
He is famous for his generosity and willingness to help anyone in need.

If you met him and didn’t know what he was, I guarantee that you would like him.

And that’s why things went the way did.
No one would believe it of him, not even after other girls in the family suffered his “attentions”, too.


33 posted on 06/02/2008 4:45:33 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: RandallFlagg

Wait until winter and buy a “basket case” cheap and wrench it yourself.

We’ve been there and done that many a time....:))

[one year, we just kept buying milk crates full of parts at swap meets until we had enough for a whole bike]...LOL!


34 posted on 06/02/2008 4:47:39 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: StarCMC

What a great story the author tells!

PGR BUMP!


35 posted on 06/02/2008 4:49:15 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (Arrogance IS my virtue!)
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To: lolhelp

Agreed. You cannot tell a book by its cover.

But I suspect a higher percentage of guys dressed as outlaw bikers are actually bad dudes than those dressed in more normal attire.

As the Bible says, the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.

But that is the way to bet.


36 posted on 06/02/2008 4:52:00 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. - A. Lincoln)
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: Morgana
LOL!

Get ye out of my way!
38 posted on 06/02/2008 4:56:34 PM PDT by Das Outsider
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To: StarCMC

God Bless the PGR


39 posted on 06/02/2008 4:56:57 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: Salamander
Sort of a modern-day Code of the West, no?
40 posted on 06/02/2008 5:03:03 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: NonValueAdded

Yes, I guess that would be a good analogy...but I always saw it more as a crude [but impressive] form of chivalry.

:)


42 posted on 06/02/2008 5:10:38 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: Morgana
Good one! Shamelessly copied and stored by moi!
43 posted on 06/02/2008 5:17:36 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (To the liberal, there's no sacrifice too big for somebody else to make. --FReeper popdonnelly)
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To: Salamander
It does seem like a good fit. From The Code of the West
"...no "written" code ever actually existed. However, the hardy pioneers who lived in the west were bound by these unwritten rules that centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land."

"Though the cowman might break every law of the territory, state and federal government, he took pride in upholding his own unwritten code. His failure to abide by it did not bring formal punishment, but the man who broke it became, more or less, a social outcast. His friends ‘hazed him into the cutbacks’ and he was subject to the punishment of the very code he had broken."

The modern day "hog" man might play hard and have a distinctly libertarian view of social norms but when it comes to matters of honor and country, they're rock solid (with exceptions, I'm sure).
44 posted on 06/02/2008 5:21:47 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: martin_fierro

PGR ping


45 posted on 06/02/2008 5:52:50 PM PDT by wizr (Your life is God's gift to you. How you live it is your gift to Him.)
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To: Morgana
“get ye” or “get thee out of my way” ?????????/

"Get thee." Of course, Amish bikers are outlaws, so Elizabethan usage rules aren't strictly adhered to, you understand.

Imagine all of the possible Amish biker stickers:

"My coach be a hog."

"Churn rubber."

And so on.
46 posted on 06/02/2008 5:56:22 PM PDT by Das Outsider
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To: NonValueAdded

Yes, it does!

And thanks for the great website!


47 posted on 06/02/2008 5:59:27 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

I have ridden with Bikers Against Child Abuse a few times and I can tell you the members of BACA are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet; unless you have ever hurt a kid. Believe me, you would not want to be an abuser and meet up with BACA members.


48 posted on 06/02/2008 6:00:03 PM PDT by Zippo44 (Liberal: another word for poltroon.)
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To: StarCMC

Got it, Thanks


49 posted on 06/02/2008 6:03:10 PM PDT by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Salamander

Great stories!! I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that they were Veterans.


50 posted on 06/02/2008 6:36:25 PM PDT by PleaDeal (Don't settle for a squishy moderate -- concretebob in '08!)
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