‘Tis the Season – All Year Long
by Bill Hufnagle
aka Biker Billy
On a recent cold and frosty morning, Mary and I attended our first Toy Run of the season. It was a small, first-year event hosted by the Weaverville, NC, PD and some local businesses. Although it was new, they were very successful, having more than double the number of riders expected. By all estimations, this event looks like it will become a regular addition to our local riding calendar. Afterwards we headed over to Mary’s folks house to do some fall cleanup work. Since Memaw and Pop are in their late ‘70s, we try to help with the chores that are too labor intensive for folks their age. By evening time I had spent an entire fall day outdoors, from riding in nippy temperatures in the a.m. to powerwashing in the warm afternoon, and when talk rolled around of dinner, I knew that a warm meal would have me dozing in no time flat. We opted to pick something up on the way home—that way we could eat and crash on the sofa in front of the fireplace instead of crash and burn on the road while riding home.
When I am feeling cold and tired after a fall or winter day outdoors, hot soup always removes the chill from my bones, and this was definitely a soup day! On this particular day I had a yen for Chinese food, vegetarian hot-and-sour soup with my special habanero sauce added at home. Our favorite Chinese place was on the way, so we called in an order for pickup. When we arrived at the restaurant, we discovered that the whole town had a similar idea—while most tables were empty, the place was hopping with take-out and delivery business. While I waited for our order, I noticed that one of the delivery guys was wearing a bright red Ride for Kids jacket.
Since he was waiting on the kitchen, too, he offered to run my ticket so I could get out quicker. I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation by asking if he rode in the local Ride for Kids. His response was no, but he sure wished he could. He went on to tell me that his daughter had been one of the recipients of the Ride for Kids. We spoke for a good while, or I should say he spoke and I listened. He told me of his daughter, who had succumbed to her cancer. He spoke of her infectious bravery and positive spirit in the face of such a grave illness, and how she always knew when he needed words of encouragement. His little angel knew she was going to die, but was not afraid; she had a faith in God that was strong. He told me how the work done by motorcycle riders through the Ride for Kids had been an incredible gift to their family during this difficult journey. He told me how she loved the bikers and was so enthusiastic about riding in the event and spending time with them. He told me how in her last months he was able to spend most of his time with her—his boss let him work one day a week to keep insurance coverage and the Ride for Kids helped support the family. He was so thankful for the blessing that his family had received from the efforts of that motorcyclist-driven charity. I had a hard time not crying as I witnessed his love for his lost child and his love for the folks who helped them in their time of need.
I have volunteered for several different charities that the motorcycling community supports, and have met some of the families and children whom we work to help, yet this was one of the most moving encounters I have had. What made it so special was that it was so random, like life itself. It caught me off guard; often, we tend to steel ourselves at events, protecting ourselves from directly sharing the pain so we can do the work of supporting the search for a cure. While the cure was not in time for this little girl and her family, they were nonetheless helped greatly by people like you. In this season of joy, giving, and celebration, think for a moment of the Christmas Carol and how the sight of Tiny Tim’s empty chair and crutch moved Scrooge to mend his ways. Thankfully, bikers don’t need the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to show them why it is so important to help others in need. It makes me proud to be a biker since we know: ‘Tis the Season to give—All Year Long. Bless you one and all for everything you do to help those less fortunate!
Joe Allen’s Polka Pepper Pasta
This recipe is the first winner of my viewer recipe contest. Joe, who works building docks and piers in the New York City harbor, got this recipe from an old polish sailor. According to the sailor, this is a very old Polish dish. Joe tells me he enjoys this pasta when he goes camping, and he can easily pack the ingredients in his Harley Electra Glide Ultra Classic. Sounds to me like Joe knows how to travel – a big bike on the open road, camping under the stars, and cooking with fire. Alright, Joe Allen!
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
3 fresh red jalapeno peppers,
stemmed and thinly sliced
7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large sweet onions, quartered and
cut into thick slices
1 medium head cabbage, quartered,
cored, and cut into thick slices
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound home-style egg noodles
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil to cook the noodles.
Melt the margarine in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the jalapeno peppers, garlic and onions. Add the cabbage until the pan is full. You may not be able to fit all the cabbage in the pan at first, but you can add more as it cooks down. Sauté, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the cabbage is tender and transparent. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the egg noodles al dente, according to the package directions. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the cabbage and mix well. Serve piping hot.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Column copyright Bill Hufnagle 2005. Recipe reprinted with permission from “Biker Billy Cooks with Fire” published by Whitehorse Press, Center Conway, New Hampshire copyright Bill Hufnagle 1995, 2004. Biker Billy hosts a syndicated television cooking show, “Biker Billy Cooks with Fire” and has authored three cookbooks. Check out www.bikerbilly.com where you can acquire autographed books and also find information on Biker Billy’s touring schedule.