Thursday, September 27, 2007

Field Jacket

I kept my field jacket that was entrusted to me by the U.S. Army in 1971 for a few years after I got out of the service. I would had it still except for a mishap back in 1973. I had been camping in late fall on Chandler Mountain near Oneonta, Alabama. It was a warm day in October when I started out on the trip but I took a sleeping bag and the OD green field jacket because I knew the night air would be cool. I was riding a motorcycle and the weather was picturesque. The bluegrass festival was a hoot but by early afternoon the next day, I was ready to head home so I strapped the bag and the field jacket on the back of the bike and headed out like a rocket.
I had gotten within ten miles of home when one of the sleeves of the jacket came lose from the bindings but I figured It would be fine until I got home. That turned out NOT to be the case. I came upon a long stretch of straight road and I let the engine on that bike moan. I was clocking along at about 80 miles an hour when the sleeve of the jacket got too close to the chain and became wrapped around the back sprocket which locked the back tire up tight as a wedge. One moment I was cruising at 80 the next moment I was sliding as if I had stood up on the brakes. It was one of those defining moments when you can't get excited. You must breathe, focus, and hold on for dear life. The bike slide straight and true with me sitting astride.
When I came to a stop, I had to clean out my britches but I never laid the bike down...I simply kicked down the kickstand, walked a few feet away sat down hard.
When I gained enough strength to stand up again, I walked over to survey the damage. The bike looked fine but the field jacket was wrapped up all the way to the zipper on the front.
In my mind I saw images of me having to disassemble the bike to remove the the obstruction. And then a simple idea came to me....this couldn't work could it? I simply started pushing the bike backwards and the jacket slowly unwound itself off the sprocket. When I got it dislodged, I secured it on the back of the back and drove home in first gear. Not because of any problem with the bike, but because I was afraid to get over ten miles an hour.
It was another one of those close calls where I had a guardian angel riding with me.


  1. Anonymous10:30 AM

    and where was Jilda on this trip?

  2. She was abducted by aliens but fortunately they returned her later unharmed. She did smell a little funny for a few days :)

  3. Anonymous12:30 PM

    I think she was the guardian angel watching over you. Have you ever thought about that!! Keep up the good work!! I love your blog!


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