Two of our sons, Kurt and Joel, have had scooters as their main modes of transportation this summer. Our other son, Jeff, owned an actual motorcycle after he graduated from high school and before he served his L.D.S. mission. He replaced it with a car after he returned, but he misses his bike. When Kurt went to Oregon for a month or so this summer, he left his scooter at our house. This made Jeff very happy.
On the first Sunday evening that Kurt was gone, we sat around the table as family dinner wound down. Our daughter Carolyn and our son-in-law Brock were over, and maybe Grandpa Byron as well. It's our habit to stay at the table and talk long after we've finished eating. At one point, I realized that Jeff and Joel were gone.
This is how I imagine it happened:
The rest of us were busily engaged in not-so-important but very lively conversation about who knows what. Jeff caught Joel's eye. He raised his hands slightly above the level of the table top, discretely made revving motions, and very slightly pointed his chin in the direction of the door.
We didn't notice they were gone till they came back.
The following week, the same thing happened. This time, when they reappeared, we asked them where they had been.
"Sunday Night Scooter Ride," they announced.
And yes, the words were capitalized. You could tell. The Sunday Night Scooter Ride was now an official institution. On Sundays in a predominantly L.D.S. community, the roads are more or less deserted. Perfect conditions for a leisurely scooter ride with friends. This week they had invited our neighbors, Weston and Stuart, along. By the third week, seventeen young men between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one hit the Sabbath streets of Utah Valley on their bikes. Seventeen squeaky clean biker guys, some of them probably still wearing their white shirts and ties from church or home teaching appointments (a Mormon thing). They ride in a pack consisting of mostly scooters, a couple of actual motorcycles, and even a couple of dirt bikes (probably not street legal). They spread the word via Facebook. Meet at the H.S. parking lot at 7:00. Some weeks they have more, some weeks less. Sometimes as they cruise along, total strangers on scooters will join them. Last night they met up with a couple of real biker dudes at a stop light. Harleys and leather and the works. They joined them for a while and felt really cool. The scooter boys joined the Harley guys and felt cool, that is. I'm not sure how the Harley guys felt. I can only imagine.
Summer is winding down. Within the next couple of weeks all of these boys will be back in school, serving missions, or off to college. I'm sure the ones who are still around will try to keep it going while the warm weather lasts, but their numbers will dwindle. But what a memory for them. And for me. As the evenings get cooler and the leaves start to turn and fall, I'll imagine that I hear the not quite substantial hum of a gang of scooters out in the cul-de-sac and I'll be reminded of the coolest, cleanest, cutest biker gang ever to ride the streets of America.