I was bored and in search of some excitement, so I armed myself and went down to the biker rally, motivated with memories of the movie “Wild One” with Marlon Brando, and “Easy Rider” with Peter Fonda. Plus, I love to see those biker chicks.
The first thing I did there was scope out the food, and I had a great tasting sausage, peppers and onions sandwich, which really tastes better with a beer, but they had no beer at the rally. I was so disappointed. There were no drunken riders doing wheelies or burning rubber. None of the girls were fighting. So, I went around talking to all those people wearing leather and colorful patches. Things were so sedate, it seemed like a version of “Picking On The Square,” with a different form of dress and a little harder rock and roll music. The stage show was entertaining and everyone was sitting around chatting and listening to the show. People were telling me about the great restaurants they went to in town, and the nice stores they shopped in. Most were staying in local hotels. They all gassed up for their trip home. My mind was clicking like a cash register. It became clear to me that they spent a few bucks in our town.
More than once, they would tell me that they realized that were really not welcomed here and I felt bad about that. Ya know, they were actually reading our newspapers. I read all the bad press myself, so I know what they are talking about.
Now I have written before about the curmudgeons we have here who are against everything, and I tried to explain that most people here welcome them. I remember the opposition to the gun show, the possible holes in the ceiling of the community center, and it was a huge success. I remember almost being arrested at picking on the square because I was sipping a small cup of wine during the show. The old fart next to me disappeared to call the cops. Moving down here from New York, with my NY accent, it has been a culture shock for me. In NYC people are brought up to mind their own business. Here, things are very different. People want to tell other people how to live their lives.
After all, the regiment from this area in the Civil War was the last in the entire country to surrender when the war was over. I can tell you firsthand that not everybody was notified.
Jim Sottile — Franklin, N.C.