Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dashing Dad

My first "hawg" looked more like a baby pig. It was a mini-bike and I was the only mini-bike kid in my neighborhood. If you're not sure what a mini-bike is, just think of it as the Mini-Me of Motorcycles. It's a Sit 'n Spin with an engine and wheels.

My mini-bike was an eclectic gathering of various parts from deceased mini-bikes in my neighborhood. There were two parts missing on my mini-bike: a kill switch and a throttle cable.

The kill switch wasn't a problem since there was a piece of metal hovering over the spark plug wire. You simply pushed down on the piece of metal and it killed the engine.

The missing throttle cable made riding the mini-bike an adventure because it gave you only one free hand for steering. Your other hand was busy holding the throttle wide open with your fingers on the swivel cable stop (which was located on the side of the engine). This was a great hand warmer for your left hand since the cable stop was close to the muffler.

A few of my friends had bigger bikes. Dirt bikes. "Real" motorcycles bought in "real" stores. Their bikes were three and four times the size of my mini-bike. Their bikes had "real" kickstands. My kickstand was a parking curb. I would pick up my mini-bike and balance it on the parking curb. It was so short, the frame sat on the concrete and the wheels didn't touch the pavement.

We rode our bikes in the church parking lot because the asphalt drive made a circular track around the buildings. I'm sure it was quite a sight to see five motorcycles speed around the church followed by a putt-putting mini-bike. Those guys could make three laps to my one. Imagine seeing five people riding thoroughbred horses through a pasture followed by a guy on a miniature pony. That's about what it looked like.

It worked out great for me, though. For some reason, there was always a biker buddy who wanted to trade rides. So I spent most of the time on a "real" dirt bike while a friend slummed on my motorized Sit 'n Spin.

One mini-bike memory stands out high above the rest. I was riding Bruce's dirt bike and he was riding my mini-bike. Bruce was the cool kid. He had the longest hair and the newest and biggest dirt bike. I came up behind him at one end of the parking lot, ready to zip by him. He was hunched over with one hand on the handlebar of my mini-bike and one under the seat holding that tecumseh engine's cable stop wide open.

I zoomed past him and glanced back at him. He was all smiles. Seconds after I had turned my head away from Bruce to see where I was going, I heard a loud boom and a louder scream behind me. I jerked my head back around just in time to see Bruce let go of the mini-bike and jump off. The engine was covered in flames.

Bruce was holding his left hand and blowing on it. The flaming mini-bike kept it's balance and continued rolling through the parking lot. I spun back around to check on Bruce.

My dad was at our house working in the garage and heard the boom. The house was 200 yards away. By the time my buddies and I got to Bruce, Dad was already running toward us. Bruce wasn't hurt. A minor burn on his hand. With his good hand, he pointed at my sprinting father.

I remember how stunned we all were at that moment. Dad was the preacher. Preacher's don't run. Dude, was my dad running! We were amazed by three things: 1) How far a flaming, riderless mini-bike can roll, 2) how fast the old guy could run, and 3) how perfect Dad's hair looked at 100 miles per hour. It didn't move. It was like watching Flash Gordon without his costume.

The mini-bike was doing the wiggle motion as it started losing momentum. It passed the asphalt and bounced through the open field between the church and our house.

Dad ran straight to the church, stepped inside, grabbed a fire extinguisher, ran back to the flaming mini-bike that had finally fallen over, and put the fire out before it could spread across the field.

To this day, I don't know how Dad covered that much ground that quickly. If I were to call my buddies to the witness stand, they would corroborate my testimony.

Every time I think of how quickly God comes to the emergency needs of His children, I visualize that mini-bike moment. I love my earthly father and I'm so grateful to have had a Dad who cared for me and provided safety and security for me. I'm thankful for all of life's emergencies that he has rushed toward, ready and eager to help his children and grandchildren.

I'm also gratefully, sometimes to the point of tears, for the times my heavenly Father has been on the scene so instantly in my life. Whether in times of loneliness, injury, crisis, confusion, or depression, our Father is a good Father. He rushes toward us and never leaves us.

"Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue" (Psalm 31:2, NIV).

Slightly used mini-bike for sale...charcoal color.
Perry Crisp

No comments: