Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Friend Hoppy

There is a wonderful place in Cornville, Arizona, called Connections, which is a non-profit horse ranch that specializes in helping challenged men, women, boys and girls with the loving therapy that only learning about horses can give. I have seen the Connections Equine Therapy Program in action and the results are truly amazing!

While at Connections, my wife and I met Hoppy and Leslie Mennenger, who were also volunteers. Hoppy looked like Wild Bill Hickok with his long pony tail and goatee, but talked with a heavy New York accent. I immediately liked Hoppy and through the years we have all stayed friends. While Hoppy and my wife spend many hours volunteering at Connections, I have devoted most of my time writing murder mysteries and part-time consulting, while Leslie has become totally involved in a greeting card career.

Hoppy had seen my Harley-Davidson Road King many times and always said he wanted to start riding again, but could never bring himself to take the plunge. After I sold my Road King and was not riding, he started talking about buying a horse and keeping it at Connections. I, in turn, bought a Harley V-Rod and sent Hoppy a picture. He relayed a message through my wife that now he really wanted to start riding a Harley. I decided to call Hoppy and find out if he was serious. He was not only serious, but asked me if I knew where he could find a good used V-Rod. Just so happened that I did know and that there was a beautiful 2006 for sale at Buddy Stubbs in Phoenix, where I had found mine.

After calling the store and confirming that the 2006 V-Rod was still available, Hoppy and I jumped in his truck and headed for Phoenix. He put a deposit on the bike so they could install a windscreen and some other cool stuff on his bike and we headed back home with Hoppy talking a mile a minute about how he was finally going to be a Harley dude once he picked up his bike the following weekend. It was then that I learned he had never been in a Harley store, let alone ever ridden one. After over twenty years of not riding anything but a small Honda, he was now going to learn why so many men and women are hooked by the Harley-Davidson bug.

Well, today is the day and my wife, Hoppy and I are heading to Phoenix to pick up Hoppy’s new (to him) bike. We were looking forward to traveling with Leslie also, but she was already committed to another project with her passion, which is Sendoutcards. The plan was for Hoppy to ride his V-Rod back to Sedona, but there is a severe wind advisory out today so we will trailer it back to his house. While in Phoenix and after we pick up the bike, the three of us will go back home via El Encanto Mexican Restaurant in Cave Creek. We might as well kill two snakes with the same stone. Harleys and great Mexican food – the only way to go!

I’m just saying,


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