This is the second in a series of a collection of true stories and incidents that, when they occurred, set me to laughing. These tales are planned for a book with the above title. Motorcycle (M/C) business persons or other confirmed "MOTORCYCLE ADDICTS" call such stories, "Bench Racing". Most took place during the 1950's & 60's, on "Motorcycle Row".
Copyright by Robert H. Baucom
Dennis Manning and I had a good time, as we were always laughing and joking ... even during meetings. This didn't set too well with Hazen Bair, the West Coast Sales Manager. He was serious as hell during business hours. A small, short man, (He won the Catalonia Island, 175 cc class on a Triumph Terrier) he hurried around, eyebrows furrowed, with a worried look. Wise crack during a meeting and he would look at you hard, squinting his black eyebrows. He really was a great guy and I still remember him fondly. After hours, he loved a practical joke. He could tell some stories. He started and owned Bellflower Triumph. Walt Fulton Sr., I think Dick Mann and Dick Hammer were just some of the Pro's, that had raced his bikes. He said, "Walt Fulton was the coolest, calmest rider he had ever been around. He never got rattled."
I have a few Dennis Manning and Hazen Bair stories, I'll have to write down after the New Ulm Rally. One of the Hazen Bair stories ... The joke's really on me.
Larry Beal (Ole National No. 87) was the Chemmati (Spelling F-) Sales Manager in Houston. I was sitting in his office after hours, waiting for him to get through in the warehouse, so we could go gnaw/chew on some barbecued ribs and sip a few cold, Pearl Beers. On a shelf, there was these defunct Mobeilette letter heads. I got one and wrote a scrawling (written left handed) letter with a lot of purposely misspelled words tried various ways a few times. Then all attempts were crossed out and another word substituted ... It stated," I was the Mobilette Dealer for Houston Texas. Did they have a "Snow-Go" that would fit a Mobilette? Oh yea, my brother-in-law has a great idea for an add campaign to get the police business."
In my brief case, there was a picture, cut out of a Nudist Magazine. It was a Dark Haired Brunette, with an exceedingly bushy beaver, sitting sideways on a Triumph, facing the camera, while leaning back with legs a foot above the seat level and splayed wide, wide open. This was put on the 2nd page with the heading "Put the Fuzz on a Triumph"! Larry came in all sweaty and a trifle flustered. I handed both pages for him to read. His mind was far away, filled with other thoughts. He glanced at the first page, not really reading the words. For an instant, a worried look came over his face. Wiping said W.L. from his countenance. and trying to be tactful. he said, "Wouldn't you rather let me have a secretary type this up for you, in the morning"? ... I just fell down in a chair and collapsed laughing. He stood there looking at me with a non comprehending, puzzled look. I just lost it. The more I thought about it, the funnier it got. A full three minutes later, the tears streaming down my cheeks, I got enough control to choke out, "Read the damn thing Larry! Quit looking at the composition and read it! You'll like page two." He was too miffed at all my laughter, to fully appreciate it. It was mailed to Hazen & Wayne Moulton, back at Johnson Moters in Duarte, CA. What happen after that? That's another story.
Sitting here at 2:30 AM, the memories are coming back in a continuous flow. If I ever get caught up and can write full time, it will be from 11:00 PM to 4.00 AM. Gotta get out my pocket, tape recorder and start talking my notes. I used to tape my reports and observations while driving down the road, after leaving the dealership. All was still fresh in my mind. The next morning, I would get up at 6 am. S, Shower & Shave. Go eat breakfast. Those days, I carried a roll of Tums in both pockets. Working a Honda parts counter had destroyed the lining of my stomach. The goofy kids were just nutty teenagers. I was pretty tolerant of the kids then. Couldn't do it now. Hell, we were all the same idiots at 14. Break an anvil with a tooth pick. The problem was their damn mothers. There is nothing more useless... Than a mother in a motorcycle shop. Here comes "Mrs. My Poor Innocent Li'l Boy and that Bad Old Motorbike, That's Always Breaking Down". Whip out a roll of Tums. Used to eat 'um like they were red hots.
With my stomach, still in that shape, a good breakfast was a must. It was ritual. Breakfast is the one meal of the day I'm VERY particular about. With a wide smile I would spiel, "Morning Mam, I'll have two eggs sunny side up, bacon crisp, whole wheat toast, decaff coffee and a large milk. Bring the milk now, so it warms up a little." Then, with a serious look, came a rapid, " Tell them, don't even dare put hash browns on my plate. Give me grits or sliced tomatoes. NO hash browns! Just the sight of that greasy, under cooked. indigestible crap next to something ... I'm Going To Eat, makes me very upset and angry. I like my breakfast to be calm and the food prepared, PERFECTLY. Not hard fried. No Easter Eggs." The waitresses jaw would drop. She would take a step or two back, before turning around. I could picture her going back to the kitchen and saying, "I've got a real nut out on table #14. For goodness sakes, don't screw up his eggs. The way her talks ... He may have a shoulder holster under that red, Bell Jacket."
Most dealerships opened at 9;00 or 8:30. To give them time to roll the bikes out, throw out the bottles and put the bodies into the dumpster... I would show up around 9:30. Unless it was an old friend like Ray Brazelle at Tulsa Triumph, who I knew was an early riser. I'd be on his door step at 7:30 ... and he'd be making the coffee. Usually, I would go back to my room and write all my paper work. In my report I'd write only the facts and cover all the legal bases ... if need be. I'd mail the tape, with my observations and opinions on it, to Hazen with the report. Hazen would tape his comments on the end and mail it back to me. Now, I wish I'd kept some of those tapes. Hazen would work so late at night, you could hear the exhaustion in his voice. But really, those were the good old days ... when it was Johnson Motors. It was like family. Then Peter Thornton and his band of fellow thieves and incompetents got in control of Triumph USA, it was a nightmare! But that's a long, bitter, another story.
Copyright © 2000 NTNOA All rights reserved.
Revised: January 29, 2008 .