Paul instructed that what was important was inside and not on the surface of a person. What is down deep inside a person is much more important than what you see on the outside. Most will decide about a person based on looks rather than waiting to see what comes from within. As a Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, I often will travel dressed in black leather, boots and a facial mask if in the winter. Sights some associate with the “one percenters”, the outlaw bikers, but we 99 percenters are a much different breed. My wife and I were sitting on a brick wall at the Harley dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, viewing a sea of Harleys and their riders gathered for the Arkansas HOG Rally [HOG = Harley Owners Group]. I think it was the first time my wife found herself around hundreds of bikers; we watched the people. Soon 3 bikes backed up in front of us and their riders disembarked loosening their gear, it was obvious they had travel far to find this parking spot. A middle-aged lady soon revealed herself out from under all her riding gear and with the manner of some lost relative just started visiting with us. They had traveled north from Beaumont, Texas to join the Hot Springs biker rally; my wife was amazed how friendly everyone was. We walked through the sea of motorcycles, many draped by their rider’s expensive leather jackets. No one touched anything. Looking at these $400 to $800 dollar jackets just laying there, I wondered how long a leather jacket of this quality would last in a shopping mall parking lot in Oklahoma City. You won’t find any group anywhere that is more friendly, more honest, more hard working, more caring, more patriotic and more fun than HOG people. Yes, the tie is the Harley, their iron horse, but more importantly it is what is inside these modern day cowboys and cowgirls.
Using architecture as a metaphor:
Architects & Owners look to spend the money on what is seen in their buildings; it is their expression, their presentation. Obviously, it is much more fun to think about the “glitz”; often this is what is rewarded in the architectural design award circles. An architect is praised by what you see and not how well the architecture looks over time, or how well it keeps the water out, or how low the maintenance costs are, or how well it functions for the user, or how little waste of resources is created. The difference can be the small details around the windows, the doors, the roofing membranes, the various coatings, the waterproofing, and the sealants; this is what really counts. Oh, I believe in the importance of good timeless design, but it is what is behind the visible surfaces that really matters to fine architecture. A person is just the same; it is what is behind visible treatments that really matters. Furthermore, architecture will not have integrity and vitality unless the “form-giver”, the “life-giver” [the architect] also has integrity. With no vitality, the so-called architecture is only going to be “a building”…just sitting there with no life in it, and it won’t stand the test of time.
Ken Pate wrote an article for the Harley Owners Group’s magazine, “Enthusiast”, entitled “Worth the Ride”. He told of how his wife was so mad when he bought his Harley in 2003 and that she didn’t talk to him for weeks and that she would never ride on it. One day in 2004 she was told she had colon cancer and wanted to go for a ride…on his bike. Soon they were riding all the time, she even got her own trike; they ended up a HOG meeting where they met many wonderful people. Ken said of that meeting, that it was the best thing they did together in 46 years of marriage. Later his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. The HOG Chapter rallied to help the couple in many ways over the years. When Ken’s wife passed away in 2010, the funeral planned by Ken and his wife included their Harley family leading the funeral procession…maybe 25 bikes they thought. On the day of the funeral, a police escort and 74 bikes led the way! What is a true family anyway, I ask? I would say these folks were producing very good “shelter & shade” benefits by having proper roots and good nourishment. It didn’t matter about politics, money, position, or anything else; it was about caring for one another as a family of humanity.