So on this sunny Saturday as I chatted with my father about all manner of things, our front door bell rang and there was Wayne. And looking past him and up that front path at 5 Armagh Street I saw this wonderful blue motorcycle parked on the street.
"You've got it!"I screamed... and as fast as I could I made a dash to look at this wondrous machine. What a magnificent thing to behold. Mr Honda's 90cc Scrambler. Silver tank, blue frame and all of that chrome on everything else
"Start it Wayne.. start it and let me hear its exhaust... rev it mate.. rev it!" It's a wonder I didn't pee myself. I soon ran inside and rang Ken brand.. he lived around the corner and was doing first year medicine. Quick as a flash Ken was there too marvelling at this Honda!
Life was indeed rich. God.. I have to get one of these I thought.. even at 15.
|Wayne's Honda looked exactly like this one! Ripper Rita!|
Now Ken was into bush walking, but sadly he had cystic fibrosis which made trudging long distances hard work. (Although, having said that we did a lot of bush walks together) He instantly saw the idea of taking a bike like this into those out of the way places along paths less travelled. He had been thinking of a motor scooter.. but he now saw the light and thought this was just the ticket.
Of course; only Wayne could ride a bike.. Ken and I had never ridden a motorbike.
Obviously we need lessons.
"Hey Wayne, if we take this to Kalinga Park.. reckon Mark and I could have a ride?" Well silly Wayne said yes, so Ken and I jumped in his mother's old Morris and headed down to the park with Wayne following behind. This would be fun.
Ken mounted up first.. Wayne showed him where the controls were.. and away he went. Up and down the park along the big expanse of grass there. Then it was my turn... and even right now as I type this some 48 years later......
I can still remember it all so clearly. The way the rubber hand grips felt under my fingers, the noise from the exhaust, the new paint smell and the smell of a new engine running a little hot as it runs in. I marvelled at how it soaked up bumps unlike our non suspended push bikes. And I rode that bike around that park for about half hour .. until it ran out of fuel. Wayne switched to reserve and took it to Shell Clayfield (long gone) to fill it up.
So a full tank of juice and the next plan was.. Mt Glorious. With Ken and I chasing in the old Morris, Wayne was wringing the neck of this little bike all the way to the top. The exhaust header had turned a funny colour too when we got there.. and it smelt a bit warm. Sort of running it in and running it out at the same time.
Coming back down the mountain and I hear the Archies singing Sugar Sugar on the radio and that is now forever locked in my mind. Whenever I hear that song.. I am back on Mt Glorious in 1969.
But I digress....
We all end up back at my place were mother makes us afternoon tea. We are three young blokes having a great time with things automotive.
That night we go to a drive in movie in the old Morris.. and laughed and joked, talked cars and bikes and perved at all the young ladies in cars around us. What a magic day that was.
And then.... time marched on. Ken bought a new Torana GTR in 1970, I bought a clapped out two stroke Mini in 1970 also.
It's funny how time passes and the currents often drag friends in different directions; along different paths. Wayne graduated to a Ducati and an old Valiant with "fat wheels" and before you knew it.. we didn't see as much of Wayne.
Fast forward to my MAX Instrument days and Wayne found me.. he would regularly drop in for a coffee as he was a rep on the road. Marriages, divorces and all of that stuff came along for us both.
And then in 1990, Dr Kenneth Brand sadly succumbed to his cystic fibrosis.
Wow! I didn't cry at his funeral, I nearly wailed. Comforted by Debra I just could not believe my best mate was gone. All of the crazy things we used to do together. You name it.. bikes, cars, midnight drives to Sydney, parties.. and the more serious stuff like supporting me through a traumatic divorce. And his wonderful sister Beverley said to me at his funeral.. as we hugged.. "We'll just have to learn how to get along without him!" Bloody hard to do, that.. tearing up just typing this some 27 years later.
|Ken on his mighty DT2 at Beenleigh. Boxing Day 1973|
And so time moved on and through the magic of Face Book.. Wayne and I reconnected. We would email and chat on the phone. We'd talk about old days, cameras (he was a pro photog too) and all manner of things.
|My old mate, Wayne Francis Pinna|
And then last year... he rang to tell me he was terminally ill.
By now Wayne was living at Glasshouse with his wife Christine.. so onto Fat Max and away I went to see him. It was sad to see him so frail. But he was cheery, positive and we had a rollicking good time remembering our childhood and youth. Like the time somebody else blew up our neighbour's letterbox. And when Wayne's mother heard about this.. she demanded Wayne go and apologise.. despite the fact he didn't do it!
At each visit with Wayne he would get his camera out and take a picture of me.. and I took some of him with my iPhone.. but I won't post them here. He was far from well and for those of you who didn't know my mate Wayne... I would rather let you imagine this skinny kid who used to ride his bicycle around Clayfield with me over 50 years ago.
Wayne had been given only short time to live... but he was his own man and rolled on way past that medically set expiry date to see another Christmas. I would wander up the highway, sometimes by bike and sometimes by car to say hello and chat.
God we used to get into trouble together as kids!
And Christine was wonderful to Wayne. She was soft, gentle, loving and nothing was too much trouble as she cared for him to the end.
Thursday night last week.... Christine called.
His suffering was over. His heart had finally called time and he left us in a peaceful manner. After that call, I sat in my study and remembered that mate from my childhood and I cried as I am want to do when sadness sweeps over me like a bloody fog.
Wednesday just passed was his funeral. It was funny, it was sad and a whole gamut of emotions passed over me. Happy to see his brother and sisters whom I hadn't seen in over 40 years but sad because of the circumstances. And because we had commitments in Brisbane that night.. as soon as the service was over; I had to leave. And I so wanted to renew aquaintences with Glen, Robyn and Bernie.
And I will still.. Glen your'e first on the list.
This afternoon driving back from the Gold Coast, I was thinking about the events of this week.... and I remembered that day in late June 1969; the Saturday the three of us spent together with that little motorbike and the Morris. What a day it was. Memorable as though only yesterday.
And although the moving parade moves on... it is sad to think now that with all of that excitement back on that day, we never even thought about what our futures might hold for us, and what might become of us.
Those two are gone, and now there is one.
But that June day lives on in my memory... and in this blog.