#15 In Roads-Carl


The Beast, my beloved Street Glide, has been neglected lately and I decided he deserved a bubble bath since the only cleaning he usually gets is when it rains. Giving him a good scrubbing, I discover grease oozing down the left fork and figure it’s time to jam over to the dealership since the clutch has been slipping and the throttle isn’t returning so, off we go.

I think it’s a great place to meet someone new but I’m wrong. Turns out there’s no one hanging out in the customer lounge and the employees are all busy. I decide to chat up service writer, Carl as we settle up the bill. He has kind blue eyes and is easy to talk to but I quickly run out of words. Frustrated over the thought of having to find someone else to write about, I get brave and just lay it all out. I ask if he’d mind being my subject for the day and he acquiesces as I take his picture.

He’s relatively new at the dealership, having only worked there for a year but has worked his way up through other dealerships. He started out washing bikes after a friend got him a job with a now defunct dealership. Impressive is that he’s a 5th generation West Sacramento native, a town of less than 50,000 souls and there’s a street in neighboring Broderick named after his grandfather, Todd Hunter. I admit that I don’t know too many West Sac natives and I ask if he could move to any place on earth, where he’d like to go. He’s proud of being a California kid and says he’d stay, but head south: he needs to be near the beach and has family there. He’s married and once he started having children, he stopped riding the sport bikes he used to have, though he’s owned five Harleys. I ask about his children. He tells me that if his daughter Addison were still around, she would be 5 and his son is 2 ½. My heart stops. I can’t imagine the grief of losing a child and I don’t know what to say except to express my sympathy. I do not ask the details for fear I’ll cry, or worse yet, he will.

We chat about his recent trip to Disneyland when son Cash wore his parents out. “If his sister was here, she would be putting him in his place. She’s calm and she would be doing the big sister deal, keeping him in check. He is a very wild child. He’s just the opposite of Addison.” I laugh and ask if he plans to build any more kids. “No way. This guy is a handful and we already decided we are not doing this again,” Carl shakes his head in disbelief.

I ask about the name and he laughs. “I thought we had this really cool name all picked out, I like Johnny Cash and it’s different, so I think we’re all original. Now, I know several kids with that name. Even one of my dad’s guys, he was a fire captain for 30-years, is named Cash. I thought about naming him after me, Carl, but figured he’d get teased.” I crack up and agree that yes, Carl Jr. is certainly grounds for a lifetime of harassment. Popular or not, he did Cash a great favor.


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