A photo in the bookcase of our home shows my mother and father astride a Harley. I’d post the photo here but I’ve been threatened with disinheritance and great bodily harm if I ever make that photo public.

Floyd Countians who know my mother can’t imagine her dressed head to toe in motorcycle leathers and riding that Harley with my father but they spent a lot of time on the bike in the ’40s.

They met in Norfolk during the war. A sailor and a civilian employee for the Navy. The wartime romanced blossomed into marriage and they rode that Harley from Norfolk to Floyd so my father could meet my grandparents.  Then on to Florida to meet his parents and to live. I came along two years later.

My father died in an industrial accident not long after I was born. I never knew him, have no memory of him and know him only through those photographs and my mother’s stories. We moved to Floyd County in 1952, riding the train from Tampa to Roanoke.

The stepfather of flesh and blood tried hard to replace the biological father of memory three years later and we relocated to Farmville but returned to Floyd County in 1961.  My stepfather passed on some 20 plus years later.

Those who know my mother use words like "elegant" and "refined" and "strong." She is that and more: stubborn, feisty and independent. They see a woman who dresses well and conducts herself as a lady. I see a young woman dressed in leathers astride a Harley.

Happy Mother’s Day to the only parent I ever really knew. My motorcycle mama.