18

Eden

Posted on 12. Oct, 2015 by in Gypsy Bikers

by Scooter Tramp Scotty Kerekes

The winter of 2014 was uncommonly brutal and many friends in the frozen north seemed to be loosing their minds. But for those who live by the motorcycle and spend their days outside, the ways of ice and snow are generally avoided by simply drifting south. And so I had.

2 For over a month Tom and I had traveled Florida together and the last three weeks were spent in the Keys. But these islands, especially Key West, had grown uncomfortably hot. The islands are also small pieces of land that offer very little in the way of motorcycling and I’d grown tired 1 of being landlocked. My decision was to ride north along the 130something miles of bridges that connect these islands to each other, and finally the mainland where I’d settle for a while in the first town. Tom’s decision had been to stay with the Keys a little longer. So I left him.

Located just south of Miami, Homestead is a slightly beat up little town (an attractive quality 4 really) and it was there I located private land on which to make camp. Next I learned that the local YMCA will keep offering free passes as long as one asks for them. Home was set. I could stay as long as I liked. The weather in this place was perfect and, as the northern cold now dipped even into central Florida, I entertained no intention of moving anywhere until the Daytona rally in early March. That was still a month off.

Acquaintances came quickly in Homestead and I was soon befriended by an uncommonly 5 offbeat contractor. Steve invited me to stay at his place. As he told of his five acre property located at the far edge of town I contemplated this offer. Houses are things I don’t really need and I seldom visit a man solely for the use of his home. If I do stay it’s generally only in the interest of spending time with that person. But I found Steve’s crazy manner of thinking uncommonly entertaining and, as he farther described the details of his place, his repeated offer began to call with the familiar promise of adventure.

7 I followed Steve home.

It was mid afternoon as we pulled up to the driveway. Once the truck was stopped Steve stepped from its cab to retrieve the stashed key then unlock the chain-link gate. As I followed the pick-up into this seemingly tropical garden of Eden, there came the loud squawking of a 8 goose. Once stopped, Steve stepped from the truck to address his big white bird then turned to me and said, “Best alarm system there is.”

Having parked the motorcycle under a thick canopy of strange tropical trees, I gazed across this 10 land. Although Steve’s the sole proprietor, two houses (one in the process of a re-roofing job) were separated by a small stretch of dirt driveway and one rather green swimming pool. Three peacocks stood in the yard while a white cockatoo sat in a nearby tree. There were a few cats but it was the friendly dog who greeted me and I squatted to scratch his ears. A gaze to the left revealed a grove of the largest bamboo shoots I’d ever seen. Using both hands, my fingers could not encircle a single stalk. 11 Behind me, at the property’s farther end, stood a vast grove of avocado trees—all in season.
The property was an adventure unto itself.

12 After plucking the cockatoo from the tree, Steve led me inside his house. He fussed with the bird for a while before making meatless sandwiches with fresh avocado and we sat to talk some more. Eventually we moved to the other house and I was shown around. Steve’s aunt, who actually owns this property while he acts as caretaker, visits on occasion and her rooms upstairs were off limits to me. No problem. I chose a downstairs bedroom that faced the green pool and was surrounded on three sides by picture windows. From this day forth I’d walk to the orchard by morning to retrieve a huge ripe avocado then cut it in half to eat with a spoon. The time spent here would prove truly sublime.

Steve and I really hit if off and in the days that followed I became better acquainted with my eccentric friend. This 13 once big time cocain dealer’s insane antics had long ago taken him into the heart of south America where, on occasion, guns had been shoved in his face—and worse. But Steve’s one of those neurotic minds who can look down the wrong end of a barrel and tell the man on the other end to fuck himself. They say God looks out for drunks and fools and since Steve doesn’t 15 drink…well…you get the idea. Nowadays Steve’s a vegetarian and picky eater who seems uncommonly interested in the well being of the world and, among other altruistic actions, goes around town giving avocados to everyone who wants them. I found this vegetarian/mobster inconsistency unusually intriguing and these stories entertained me to no end. There was a little of the yin and yang here as the older, mellower, Steve battled with the desire for a better, more caring, way of life and the lour of excitement that surrounded those mobster days. It was fun to watch.

Although he’d never touch the stuff, Steve’s some kind of distant air to the Coca Cola fortune. Yet, like some crazy- 16 bastard-stepchild (I kidded him about that), his aunt simply offers this property for him to live on then tolerates his nutty character when she’s around. I met her. She’s kind of stuffy anyway. But Steve’s good with his hands and had personally built the fine house in which he resides. 17 Seems that, though the property’s good for him, he’s also good for it. For money Steve uses the talents of his hands to occasionally work for the many rich folks residing in the area.
We began spending a lot of time together.

One day Steve told me he’d be helping an old woman around town today and asked if I’d like to tag along. Why not? So we piled into the truck and rambled off. On the way I learned something of this crippled woman. Mamma Moon is some kind of Rastafarian guru and he’d been helping her for years. She’d once taken Steve to Bob Marley’s mother’s wake (she’d lived in this area) and, finding this story intriguing, I pressed him for the entire tale. Got a real kick out of that one.

Pulling to a curb in what was obviously Homestead’s worst black neighborhood, we ambled up the walk to a beat up 19 little house and were soon invited inside by a rather large young woman. She soon pushed Mamma Moon’s wheelchair into the living room and I was introduced but, through the thick Rastafarian accent, could barely understand a word.

20 Although he bitched at her while she seemed to ignore him, it was obvious that Steve cared very much for this old woman. Finally he wheeled Mamma Moon to the truck, we lifted her into the cab, threw the chair in the bed, and took off. Momma Moon is a writer of Rastafarian music and she sometimes sung loudly from the window seat as we rode across the flat, semi tropical, land on this warm winter day. Of the many errands we ran her to, I found it interesting how the bank tellers walked outside to handle Mamma Moon’s transactions through the cab window.

Sometimes a momentary stretch of real weirdness, when everyday life takes an unscheduled detour through the 21 Twilight Zone, can bring the sparkle back into one’s existence and by day’s end my love of strange adventure was thoroughly satisfied.

Although Eden was a wonderful winter refuge, I began to hunger for the bike scene. A short distance north, Miami lay long and narrow as it stretched along the eastern coastline. Yet, if one 22 rides west from that place the city gives way quickly to rural land and country roads. On weekends many Miami bikers take to these byways to enjoy easy riding through lush countryside as the week’s mental cobwebs are lost to the wind.

The Cafe 27 truck stop/party place resides on the north/south bound highway 27 and had long ago adapted their establishment to meet the demands of this money spending crowd. On weekends they bring in vendors, offer an open-air tiki bar, and always hire a band. These attractions bring bikers from all over the city and the lot generally fills to capacity. The ride was only 40ish miles 23 north so I decided to make a visit. In the interest of carrying the freedom to follow whatever adventure might present itself to its final conclusion, all my worldly possessions were loaded aboard the bike. It was an old ritual.

Upon arrival I entered the crowded lot and was soon parked among the sea of motorcycles. As is often habit, I retrieved a Coke from the convenience store beyond the pumps then took a seat 24 atop the old Electra Glide to relax and watch the show. A fully loaded bike, especially one as beat up as mine, attracts attention and it was not long before curious folks began stopping to talk. One new motorcyclist’s eyes lit up as she carried on about how much she loves riding her new bike. I enjoyed this enthusiasm very much.

As the day waned there was talk of another party in Miami and eventually I followed a rider into the concrete jungle. Set into what appeared a semi industrial neighborhood, a rock band played in what looked like the lot of an apartment complex while a thick crowd and their parked motorcycles littered the asphalt. The bike scene has always been my own and it felt good to be among this crowd.

The hour had grown late by the time I left. But the party had resided much closer to Homestead so I simply returned 25 to Eden. Although all were asleep, the goose/alarm was up to greet me amid the dark tangle of tropical forest. It was good to see him.

Having grown tired of the islands by now, Tom called and, after consulting Steve, I told him to come enjoy Eden for a while. A day later the heavily loaded BMW pulled into the driveway and introductions were made. Tom was given a bedroom and our little family of three began to hang 26 around Eden, drink coffee, and share vegetarian breakfasts. Tom and Steve seemed as long lost brothers and quickly became almost inseparable. They could often be seen sitting in the yard bullshitting for hours.

I’d never seen Tom so relaxed.

Although none kept track of the days, Tom and I would remain in this place for what would feel like three weeks or so. For the adventure of Eden had only begun…

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