Flying Stories from Scudrunner and others. Feel free to submit your own "Tall Tale"
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John Swallow
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:58 pm


In 1984, after half a lifetime of flying airplanes, I decided to get into motorcycling.  Well, I didn’t decide right away; I sort of backed into the idea.

My son had a friend who appeared on our doorstep one cold and rainy night having ridden a 400cc Yamaha motorcycle from Newfoundland to New Brunswick.  After having disembarked from the ferry, he rode in a cold rain from North Sydney to our home in Upper Coverdale, just west of Riverview, New Brunswick.  Wet to the skin and chilled to the core, he’d spent the day going from Irving service station to Irving service station trying to keep from freezing as he worked his way westbound.  Upon his arrival, we put the motorcycle in the garage and him into a hot tub. 

During breakfast the next morning, it was revealed that the motorcycle was up for sale as one of his last acts prior to leaving “The Rock” was to propose marriage to his girl friend and the bike was to be sacrificed to pay for a ring.  After a quick assessment of the machine, I reasoned that I could buy it, get my motorcycle licence and then sell the bike, making a bit of a profit in the meantime. However, unlike the dictum of Colonel Hannibal Smith of the A-Team; sometimes a plan doesn’t always come together.

After getting my licence and becoming aware that there were several bikers at my workplace, I decided that I would continue cycling, but after completing the motorcycle safety course, it was apparent that a 400 cc Yamaha was entirely too small for a man of my capabilities.  I moved up to a KZ 1100 Kawasaki; a sport bike, I think.  Whatever it was, it was a bike that promptly threw me in the ditch twenty miles out of Fredericton; all because I had stopped to care of a minor problem and then had got underway again with the kickstand still down.  However, I digress.

Up to this point, I had been riding with a leather jacket but no lower body protection.  Not because I didn’t think it necessary, but I could not make up my mind as to the style of protection:  leather pants or leather chaps.  A friend in the know had this advice:  leather pants are great but if you go anywhere socially, you have to carry a pair of jeans or slacks into which to change; however, this is not the case with chaps.  You just unzip them and leave them in the bike.

Unfortunately, I could find nothing in the Moncton area that interested me; however, a few months later, my duties with Transport Canada took me to St John’s, Newfoundland and a rainy day resulted in a trip to the Honda dealership on Kenmount Road.  Off in a corner of the display area, I came upon a rack of leather chaps.  I tried out a couple of pair, looking for a set that fit me.  Seeing a perplexed look on my face, a salesman came over as I was on my third pair.  To his inquiry “Did you need any help?” I replied that I had tried on several pair and couldn’t decide whether to go for a loose fit or a snug fit.  The salesman advised not to buy pair that were already loose, as the chaps would give as they broke in.

I chose the tighter pair and returned to my hotel room.  While making a cup of tea, the thought struck me that I should commence the break-in period right then so that the leathers would be a bit more comfortable when I went riding that week-end.  Not wanting to crease my pants, I slipped out of them and donned the chaps.  Now, you have to close your eyes and visualize me fetchingly dressed in my brand new leather chaps and a pair of Stanfields white finest briefs.  As my married daughter would say “Quite a package…”

I commenced walking around the room, drinking tea and watching television.  At this point, it should be noted that I was staying at The Battery, a hotel situated on the Signal Hill Road in Saint John’s.  (Signal Hill was the reception point of the first transatlantic wireless signal by Marconi in 1901.)  Now, The Battery had the nice touch of delivering a small fruit basket to the room every afternoon as courtesy to the guest.  It would be no different this day.

Alternating between walking, leg flexes, and deep knee bends, I had spent a half hour or so loosening leather when there was a knock at the door.  I stopped, looked at my attire, and then inquired:  “Who’s there?” 

“Fruit basket” was the reply in a male voice.  Sure of the gender of the carrier, I crossed to the door and opened it.  Normally, the basket would be brought into the room by the bellman and placed on a table near the window that overlooked the city and the harbour.  But, not today.  As the door swung open, the bellman took in my attire at a glance.  I would imagine that bellhops in established hotels have seen just about everything there is to see and there is probably nothing that would surprise them.  However, on that rainy afternoon in The Battery Hotel overlooking the St John’s harbour, I can only surmise that the bellman had finally run across a situation that was outside his ken:  with a couple of interesting emotions flitting across his face, he thrust the basket at me, said “Here”, and fled down the hall.

I have told that story often and am usually rewarded with a giggle or two.  However, what would really make my day is to hear the tale related from the bellman’s point of view.  Now, that would be a story…  I can hear him now in a lovely outport accent:  “So I’m standing there with the friggin’ fruit basket in me hand when he opens the door and invites me in.  Lard Geezuz boys, he’s standin’ there wit’ nuttin’ on but a pair o’ them black leather pants and his knickers.  Nuttin’ else.  I trew de basket at him and left”

I got no more fruit the rest of my stay at The Battery.  However, I still have those leather chaps, if anyone is interested in seeing them…

Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:04 pm

Pics or i did not happened  :)
John Swallow
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:58 pm

This took place pre-1990...  Know how many smart phones were around then?  (;>0)

Which is probably a good thing!
Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:04 pm

What ?
No smart phones?
No selfies?
How did did civilization survived?
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:08 pm

Bahaha  :D

Reminds me of an ACE All Canada Express Pilots tale from Cuba he told me.

He was woken from sleep to find a janitor attempting to pilfer his room for valuables. He lept to his feet sporting only his underwear he tore down the hallway and grabbed the thief. This pilot was also former amateur MMA fighter and bouncer.

Holding him in a headlock he thought now what, he then dragged the thief to his Captains room and knocked on the door hoping for assistance.

The Captain opened the door to see his FO "naked" holding a small sweaty Cuban man by the neck. The Captain quickly assessed the situation and slammed the door.

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