Remembering Anna. Remembering the Vespa.

9 02 2015
Anna, Dad, and Sam on the Vespa

Anna, Dad, and Sam on the Vespa

My scooter has been out of commission for some time. An electrical problem. As the weather starts to warm up–or, perhaps better, is less frigid–I am beginning to miss my one and a half mile commute to work on my scooter.

Thinking about my scooter now has given me pause to reminisce about the trusty Vespa we had in Indonesia. It was great to drive. It had four speeds that you went through on your way from 0-60 km/h. It was a bit like our Volvo 240 in that was about the heaviest thing on the road. It took a little getting used to because it had such a low center of gravity. And, as you can see in the photo, it  carried almost the whole family. As I recall, we did go out once with all four of us, but that was a very short trip just to see if we could do it. Going out with both kids at once was not unusual. It took a while for Sam to learn how to keep still when he sat behind me. He always wanted to be able to see, so his head kept bobbing back and forth, from right to left, from left to right. Every time he moved, the weight of the bike shifted. In Indonesia you only have inches to work with so it was important to keep a straight line. Anna kept a little more still than Sam. When she rode in front of me, she was always good to keep her hands on the steering column, like in the picture, and not lean. We had good times.

Timberley and I did not go out together very often on the Vespa, but one night we took a “Vespa date” to a local restaurant. About the only thing I remember clearly from the evening was pulling out from our house into the very busy commuter traffic on the four-lane road in front of our house. In Indonesia, you don’t really wait for traffic to clear. You just start moving, never come to a standstill, and whatever you do, do not make eye contact with another driver. If you do, you must stop and let them go by. So off we went, turning into the traffic. There were, as normal for this time of day, about three or four lines of traffic filling the two traffic lanes in our direction. I kept my eyes forward so I would be able to drive and not kill us. Timberley hung on tight and prayed. Then she screamed. I think. It was loud outside. I was wearing a helmet. But whatever she did, she got my attention that something bad had happened. Then she let me know that we had been hit. Sort of. As I pulled into the traffic, the car that I was cutting off came up beside us very close. The car apparently brushed Timberley’s leg with the fender. She said afterwards that she was fine, but that it was very frightening to have a car pressed up against your leg while you are going 25 miles an hours. (That was fast, by the way, for that traffic!)

Those were some good times!