On my way to the mortuary, I wondered what Al the Funeral Director was going to think when I came in to pick up mom on my motorcycle. Horror? Shock? Disbelief? No...none of those. He met me at the front door (they keep it locked...why? ), and had a big grin on his face. He asked me to come in and wait in his office while he went into the back to get mom. I signed the paper stating that I had taken possession of mom's cremains. We shook hands and I told him that it was a pleasure working with him. I grabbed my helmet and he picked up mom's cremains and said he'd bring her out to the bike. On the long walk through the '70's funeral parlor decor, Al said that his mom told him and his two brothers that they were not allowed to have motorcycles or tattoos. He grinned really wide, and said that shortly after his mother died, his younger brother bought a big red chrome-encrusted Harley...the biggest one he could find...with part of his inheritance. Shortly after, the same brother got a tattoo of a tiger (he and his mom were born in the year of the tiger), and had his mom's name inscribed under the tiger. As we continued down the hallway, Al said that his older brother, now 60, got a tattoo of an eagle on his arm and showed it off during a formal party last year. By now, Al the Funeral Director was laughing loudly...not something you'd expect to hear in a funeral chapel. I asked him if he got a tattoo too, and he said "oh no, I'm not the tattoo type", and then continued that he rode on the back of his brother's red Harley everytime he rides it up from Las Vegas. Not exactly what I expected. I asked mom if she was ready to go, and I didn't hear a response, so I can only assume that she was really looking forward to it. I don't think there was any fear involved at all. Excitement, certainly. I was jazzed about going for this ride -- my mom's first and last motorcycle ride though my stomping grounds. I've been riding those roads since high school, and the memories were all streaming right through my helmet, faster than a 1972 BMW slash-5 approaches terminal velocity when dropped from an airplane.