May 19, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
Recent news of motorcycle gangs brings back a memory from the 70’s. I was riding my motorcycle with a group of five motorcycle friends—just out for a mellow ride in perfect weather. We found ourselves in the well-to-do Guilford area of Baltimore and noticed we had just passed where we thought a friend lived. Trying to identify the house, we turned around and slowly passed again. Once we decided that was his house, we turned around to “drop in” and surprise him. Instead, we were surprised by a police car. Officers stopped and questioned us. Apparently, our friend was not home and his wife, who was apprehensive about our interest in her house, had called the police. We did not look like the Hell’s Angels and we had a right to ride on the street. The police car pulled away (by the way, we were all Caucasian) and so did we since the wife obviously was in no mood to greet us. We had a good laugh about the incident.
I wonder about the motivation behind motorcycle gangs. That early evening, I was merely out for a pleasant ride with a few friends but those who join a gang must feel a need to be part of something more organized. Why do students join sororities and fraternities? Is this the same need? Is it a desire to hang out with like-minded people? Is it a type of laziness that leads people to latch onto a ready-made group of friends? When I was in college, I observed how the sorority girls hung out with their “sisters.” I did not participate in sorority rushing, nor did I join when asked by one sorority. I did not want to be part of a circle that did not have time for those who were outside the circle.
Although I too am a part of various groups, all of them are open. For me, belonging means being part of something larger, something that both motorcycle gangs and sororities are a part of too. Like the purple Allium, we are all connected. For me, it is enough to feel part of the family of humankind where the circle has a diameter limited only by the size of our ability to imagine.
My gift today is a sense of belonging.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: