“Woody was one hell of a brother. One of the righteous few, and a good man,” Big Keith said, before leaving Jake to rejoin the other patch holders he had been standing with.
The title of righteous was not one that was tossed around lightly. This was something Jake had learned early on in his riding days. Righteous was a mantle that was earned over time, awarded through action, made by honor and held in high esteem by those who followed the silent code of a secret society. To be considered righteous, you earned it by being there for others at a time when no one else could be found. It meant that you gave your last dollar to someone who needed it for food, gas, or drink; or you took a part off your bike for a brother who was stranded on the side of the road and then you both limped home together. A righteous brother would be the first to come to your side in a bar fight and be the last man standing next to you.
And this gathering was another step to earning the title. You showed up to pay respect to a dead man you hardly knew, in a town that is not your own and stand shoulder to shoulder with relative strangers, because you know they would do the same for you. They’d do it because they all know what its like to feel the power of rolling down the highway at ninety miles per hour astride an iron horse, with nothing except a leather jacket between you, the pavement, and the rest of the world.”
Chapter 21 / Page 141 One Light Coming: A Biker’s Story (Book 3 in a series published by Blockhead City Press to be released Oct. 1, 2011. Available through bookstores everywhere, and Amazon.com and B&N.com)
Success is measured in many ways in this world. Material wealth is important to some, admiration is paramount to others. I’ve always felt that being a good man is the best measure of success. A good man, someone who is there for others when they need it, not when it’s convenient.
In this lifestyle, righteous is a badge proudly worn. As I said in the passage above: Brothers are made, not necessarily born, to each other.
Let me give you a real life example of what it means to be righteous.
I am involved with a state wide Motorcyclist’s Survivors Fund organization. This organization raises money with the only task of giving it all away to the families of downed motorcycle riders who are in need. In need of rent money, grocery money, money to pay doctor’s bills, even money to pay funeral expenses. There are ‘fundraising rides’ held several times a year to add money to the kitty.
This year’s main fundraiser is coming up, and to publicize the event, pre-sell ride tickets, raffle tickets and other merchandise, the President of our Fund organized a series of free cook-outs at Bike Shops across the area. He got a biker friendly lawyer to sponsor and pick up the tab for the food and drink and lined up the locations. Well, one event was more successful than expected. Maybe it was the good weather, maybe it was the shop that was the location, whatever the reason, at the end of the night there was no more food left for the next night’s cook out. So, after the volunteer crew had cleaned up and packed the truck up, he and his sweetheart headed off to the nearest supermarket at 11PM to replenish supplies. Hamburger meat and chicken breasts by the ton, more hot dogs than you could shake a stick at, and a couple dozen flats of water were loaded up onto the conveyor belt and the poor check-out girl didn’t know what to make of this $300+ purchase so late at night. Just as Prez, was reaching for his wallet, a guy behind him slide his credit card into the machine. Surprised, Prez looked over at this bearded, barrellchested t-shirt wearing regular guy.
“My contribution to The Cause” was what he said. “I saw your truck out in the lot, and want to do something to help.”
My Prez, stunned, said thanks and wanted to know this guy’s name.
This guy shook his hand, and refused to tell him who he was. The last thing he said was: “I hope to God my family never has to be in touch with you, but I know there are others who will.”
And with this, he walked away.
He is Righteous.
He earned it.
It’s what a person does when a situation arises that defines them.
Be righteous whenever you can.
Ride Hard, Ride Safe, Ride Often.