The old, delapidated clapboard house in the rundown backstreets of North Joplin was cold. Wood stove struggling to chase away the bitter artic cold that had moved south and settled. Hard winds whistled and moaned through the spindly dead trees and brush, pushing through the thin walls. Snow and sleet pelting the plastic covered windows….
The old man stoked the old stove against the cold of late afternoon, loading it with small logs, limbs and brush he had scrounged up around the neighborhood. The dry heat felt good, taking the edge off of the cold creeping in the house as the sun went down. His lady slept, content under the old wool blankets, one that was an old brightly colored Hudson Bay trade blanket that had been in the family for decades. The Electraglide was parked in the corner of the room on an old sheet of plywood; a tight fit even through the oversized front door. Fresh from the shop, ready for spring if it ever got there.
They had done the best they could to make the rundown old house tight before the weather changed. Wheeled the bike in just as the freezing rain started. The pantry was well stocked, would get them by for at least a month. Broke but they wouldn’t go hungry. Hell, their worn out little truck parked in the old rickety garage even had a new battery….Just in time….
The old man loaded the stove again, feeling sorry for the homeless they had seen as the were out shopping for food, supplies and warm clothing. He had an extra jacket and had given it away. He lit his old pipe, thinking how hard times had become. Shit, seems the poor, homeless and destitude, grew in number everyday and could be dangerous. One kept ones knife and loaded pistol handy. Sometimes seemed that the world was going to hell a day at a time.
As the chilli simmered on the stove, he realised he had a whole winter to plan and prepare for a summers rides; and the good riding started just south of town. Important, as high as gas was. Southwest Missouri was some of the primo riding of the country, and he wanted to show his lady some of this. A large part of the reason they had come here….
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