Just left Jeff at Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth. Amazing little store front restaurant . You walk in and feel like you’re in New Orleans. Long bar with ceiling fans. Yellow walls and dark wood trim. Cajun music. Uber-friendly staff.
I got the sampler with red beans & rice, Louisiana shrimp & grits, and jambalaya. Jeff ordered the Louisiana Ooh La La which had shrimp, oysters and crawfish,” flash fried and tossed with tasso, spinach and roasted garlic, all in Henry’s Cajun Cream Sauce”. Dang it was good!
Then we settled down to important last minute discussions before the trip.
“Jeff, how you gonna pack all your toiletries like your hair dryer and all your creams and moisturizers. They’ll take up a saddlebag alone.”
He gave me a stern look. “I’ll get everything to fit. You worry about your own load son.”
“More importantly Jeff, what are we gonna do about our nap time?” With semi- retired old geezers like us it’s important to factor in the essentials.
“I’ve been worrying about that too.” He replied. “Might need to sit out somewhere and catch some shut eye. Park bench or something.”
“By the way Jeff, when was the last time you replaced the air filter in Big Red?” Jeff owned Big Red for most of her natural life until she came to live with me last July.
“I don’t recall. You can check the filter though.”
I wasn’t exactly sure how to do that but I wasn’t gonna let on. “Might as well. I’m going over to Harley dealer in Cartersville to get the horn checked out. I could get a new filter.”
“Horn still not working?” He asked.
“Nope and I feel naked without it.”
We said our goodbyes and I thought: Why not check the filter myself? It’s only an air filter. It’s nothing electrical. So I got the tools out, took off the chrome cover and examined it. I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to look but it sure did look dirty to me. I put the cover back on.
I drove over to the dealer where the nice folks told me that I had blown the horn. The seam had broken. Fuse relay had burned out. “The best sound I can get it to muster is this,” The mechanic said as he pressed the horn button. “Munffff” Sounded like a dying animal. No way would that work. Wouldn’t be safe and in Jeff’s eyes it wouldn’t be cool. The mechanic and I hiked over to the parts department and found a Kuryakyn deluxe wolo bad boy horn for a hundred dollars. I thought about taking it home with me and installing it but I realized I didn’t have a very good track record on my own repairs. I’d installed the broken horn and it blew and I’d blown a fuse while installing the cigarette lighter charger. But, to my credit I had at least fixed that problem.
“Do you mind putting the horn on since you’ve already got the other one off?” I asked.
“We’ll do it in a jiffy.”
“Oh and while you’re at it can I get a new air filter?” To save some dignity I added: “I’ll put that on myself.”
“Sure thing. We’ll come get you when it’s ready.”
While they fixed it I sat out in the sun on a picnic table. The weather was glorious. Sunny, about 80 degrees. I tried to just stay in the present moment but I was worrying about things: how much this was going to cost, my preparation for Tuesday and Thursday’s classes (Do they like me?), getting stuff ready for my writer’s group that night (Who’s gonna be there? What should I bring?).
“We got you ready.” The mechanic announced. I walked over with him to the bike. It looked good. Shiny chrome. I pressed the horn button and “Yowsa!!!” it screamed. It sounded like a diesel truck horn. “If they can’t see me they damn well will hear me!” I said to the mechanic who had his arms crossed and was nodding.
“Yep”. He replied. He opened the saddlebag and pointed inside: “I put your old horn and its parts in here, and there,” he said pointing to a cardboard box, “is your air filter.”
“Thanks.” I replied and penitently went in to pay my monthly Harley membership dues.
But now I could hit the road and feel safe again! People will definitely hear me coming!
As I began to pull out onto the road a car cut across my path. I quickly slammed on the front and rear brakes, stopped, and gave them a stern look. The guy flashed a “sorry’ wave and went on. I shook my head and pulled out onto the road. Damn it! I forgot to use the horn!
I gave it a long blast but nobody looked.