Here’s hoping you and yours have a safe and meaningful holiday season. In addition to the usual Thanksgiving festivities, most of my family is in town for my sister’s wedding to one of my best friends, giving us something extra to be happy about. We’ll get to enjoy Thanksgiving supper with an overflow crowd (the more the merrier); we’ll celebrate my wife Sissy and our friend’s November birthdays on Friday; and the wedding is Saturday.
This year, especially, we have plenty to be thankful about. My parents have both endured multiple medical issues, including my dad’s successful prostate cancer treatment. I’ve made progress following back surgery. My niece and her husband are expecting their first child. My nephew graduated from Penn State. My brother’s family moved into a new house. My buddy and my dad both dodged heart scares. Our grandkids are all healthy and everyone’s grown children are all gainfully employed. Oh, and I am still happily married to the best wife and riding buddy in the world. The list just goes on and on. We’ve had our share of concerns over the past year, but we sure have a lot of blessings to count.
Something all riders and many families can be grateful for is the fact that with the holidays come toy runs (organized rides that provide toys and other gifts for kids who may not otherwise get a visit from Santa). On Saturday, Beach House Harley-Davidson, not far across the border in Shallotte, N.C. is hosting the first one within range. This dealership has become more familiar with Grand Strand riders and visitors in recent years following efforts to draw Bike Week riders north, capitalizing on hard feelings in the wake of political maneuvering by Myrtle Beach officials to quell the rallies. Beach House H-D is about an hour’s ride north of the Myrtle Beach dealership. Those participating in this 3rd annual run benefitting the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program can register as early as 9 a.m. The ride leaves at noon. All participating should bring a new, unwrapped toy. BHH-D is at 4919 Ocean Highway in Shallotte. For more information, call 910-575-9997.
On Dec. 7, Myrtle Beach Harley is hosting its 4th Annual Toy Run, benefitting our local chapter of the American Red Cross. Registration opens at 11 a.m. with kickstands up at noon. All participants are asked to either donate a new, unwrapped toy or to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross. The run begins at MBH-D at 4710 S. Kings Highway and ends at Longbeards Bar & Grill at 5040 Carolina Forest Boulevard with a free pig pickin’, live music, and prizes from 12:30 until 3 p.m. For more information call, 369-5555.
When I Googled Longbeards to get the address, a story popped up reminding me the restaurant and pub was in the news in July when, according to Horry County Police, “[an] employee came at the boss with a knife and the boss shot the employee” [he survived] in the parking lot defending himself and others at the establishment. Prosecutors didn’t file charges, citing South Carolina’s “Stand Your Ground” law. My advice: behave yourself at Longbeards and rest assured management has got your back when you come out to support a good cause and have some fun.
ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) of Horry County, a motorcyclists’ rights organization, will have its annual toy run on Dec. 14. As always, the ride leaves at noon sharp from the northeast parking at Inlet Square Mall. I raised a few hackles last year when I was critical of some aspects of my experience on the run, but as I tried to explain to one of ABATE’s officers, I have always supported and tried to help promote the ride. I even recognized the run’s organizers for what is surely a thankless task, and praised the group’s efforts to protect our rights. They seemed to focus on my “suggested areas for improvement” as I was taught call criticisms in management training classes. A representative replied with a moderately scathing letter to the editor, which he gleefully printed, so hopefully we’ve each had our say and can move on. The ride will stop at the McDonald’s restaurant in Surfside Beach (1734 U.S. 17 Business) and then Donny’s Saloon, 1213 Third Avenue S., Myrtle Beach for an after-party. On the bright side, when I Googled Donny’s for the address, the most recent shooting there that popped up was way back in December of 2011.
All kidding aside, the shootings were obviously isolated incidents that really should not discourage anyone from participating in the charity rides. I have been to both Longbeards and Donny’s without ever feeling threatened, unless you include the look I got from my wife the day some drunk chick at Donny’s flashed her boobs.
I am disappointed I can’t ride in all three events with you because of my back, but I’m still thankful to God for all that he has blessed us with.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.