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The young and the foolish

Most of us can likely remember doing foolish things in our youth.
Ah..youth. A time when we certainly do a foolish thing or two. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Aliyah pulled on her motorcycle helmet and tightened the strap under her chin as I pelted her with instructions.

"Now, don't go fast, and watch for uneven ground. Keep both hands on the controls and scan ahead for potential problems. Lean against turns to offset tipping, stay off main roads, and…"

"Yes, Mother, I've got it," she answered irritably, rolling her eyes heavenward. "I'll be careful."

As she rumbled out of the yard on a quad, I heaved a worried sigh. She was a responsible seventeen-year-old girl. I had to lighten up. How the heck had my parents done it? I don't remember them plaguing me with undue regulations and restrictions.

How did they live through my adolescence without suffering from the high blood pressure and anxiety attacks I seemed to experience? I slumped on the front steps, head in hands, reliving just one of the foolish incidents of my past.

I must have been about eighteen and possessed both a 250 Suzuki trail bike and a casual disregard for safety. My friend Lori was spending this night with me on the farm, and we had hatched a wicked scheme between us. Well – it wasn't so much wicked as it was just darn dumb.

Later, after my trusting parents had gone to sleep, Lori and I crept soundlessly outside. In the moon's silvery glow, we found my old bike where it leaned against the pump house and painstakingly pushed it down the road about a quarter mile since it made too much noise to start in the yard. We certainly didn't want to alert the folks.

This bike had issues. As well as lacking a muffler, it was short taillights and turn signals, mirrors, and a kickstand, although it did sport a fairly decent headlamp. My erstwhile companion stood to one side as I jumped on the kick-start, and the engine throbbed to life.

We grinned at one another in the wavering beam of a flashlight we'd brought from the house. Success! With the heady excitement of teenagers up to no good, we hopped aboard and roared down quiet backroads to visit another friend in Lloydminster. Lori had no place to rest her feet for this trip, but no matter. She shared mine as we zoomed through the midnight air.

When it was time to head home, I decided (with all the wisdom of a gnat) it would be quicker to go down the highway.

"But we have no taillights," Lori wisely pointed out. "How will drivers behind us know we're there?"

"That's easy," I yelled confidently as we motored onto the Yellowhead. "Flip the flashlight on and hold it over your shoulder. People will see that for sure."

And so, she did. We rumbled home without a care in the world. Two silly girls on a wretched old motorbike in the middle of the night, one holding a flashlight over her shoulder as they streaked along a busy Canadian highway.

The following day Dad eyed us intently over his oatmeal as we dragged ourselves into the kitchen. Dryly he remarked, "You might want to push that bike a little farther down the road next time Helen. It's pretty damn loud."

How did my parents put up with me?

To contact Helen or learn more about her books, including two new sweet romances, go to