I have just returned from spending the holidays with my “old” family in England. I refer to them that way because since I moved to the USA I very rarely get to see them. I always feel guilty about it because I should spend more time with them; my mother is becoming frailer as time goes on (as would be expected of a lady of her maturity) and my nieces and nephews were almost unrecognizable, they have all grown so much. No, this is not going to be a “what I did on my vacation” writing exercise, but probably centers more on emotion than the usual observations.

I was struck by an odd feeling when I saw the British flag flying over the Royal Naval Old Comrades Club. It’s almost like the feeling you would expect if you came across a picture of your first love. Although in that case it’s often followed by the recollection of what happened to that relationship.

The British flag stirred in me many things; the initial feeling was pride, because that’s how I used to feel when I saw it. An odd feeling of almost guilt followed it, because I have all but legally renounced my allegiance to that flag. Several of my relatives asked me if I would ever consider moving back to the old country. When someone in the USA asks me that, I dismiss it immediately. When I got the question there, I at least paused before throwing the idea out.

There is a lot about the place I like, such as the fact that people can ride year round. Currently in Detroit, the roads are snowy or ice covered, and riding is almost impossible, assuming you could get the bike to start in this weather. It’s not like England is a tropical paradise, the temperature in December hovered around the 40-50 degree mark and even in the summer it rarely gets over 80 degrees.

The news on the radio and TV in Detroit before I left was eerily similar to the news on the British TV programs. The government was considering a bailout of the autoworkers, in England. The economy was sucking, retail sales were down and everyone was monitoring the price of petrol. The socialistic tendencies of the government there was certainly a little irritating, but I think we are in for four years (at least) of creeping socialism here at home also.

So why did I move in the first place? Yes, it was a woman. Those of you who have perused our website articles at will have read how an innocent request for pen-pals in the USA placed by me in Easyriders magazine in 1980 led to a deluge of letters and offers from apparently desperate women across the USA and it’s many women’s prisons. Now, three wives later, I have three children and a grandchild here in Michigan. Not only that, I have the best job in the entire world, editor of The Horse Backstreet Choppers!

I still can’t believe my good fortune, for the whole first year here I was certain someone would suddenly notice and kick my ass out the door. However, I’m still here in the editors’ chair, still in the USA, because I’m committed. I’m going to hang in here and do this until someone wises up and realizes there is someone better qualified to do this. Don’t hold your breath, Hammer is the only one that can do that and so far he hasn’t mentioned my replacement. Hell, I just had Jeff Shea tattoo “The Horse” on my arm for God’s sake!

Sometime in the near future I’ll get around to taking the test for naturalization. The next time I go to visit family in the United Kingdom it will be as an American citizen and a damn proud one at that!

People: Englishman

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