What’s in a name?
Harley is synonymous with an American classic…
Easy rider, starring Peter Fonda usually comes to my mind …
I also remember that Harley is able, and symbolically answers the question:
What is the measure of a man?
In the old days, teachers used to carry a ruler and rap you on the knuckles when you misbehaved.
I must confess I used a yardstick.
Being more of a gentle spirit, however, I never used it to attack children.
I was seeking people with a very specific attribute: the lower they measured on the yardstick, the higher their value to me.
Harley was a discovery of mine while walking the halls in the high school. It was my first year as a teacher, and I still remember it quite well.
Harley’s 5’4″ stature was enhanced in my eyes by another special quality: He was bowlegged, so measured a few inches smaller.
What I was yet to discover was the size of his heart. How such a big heart was found in that little body I don’t know, but it was.
As coach of the swim team, I was knowledgeable about swimming, but incompetent about diving. All I knew was our pool was unusual.
Located under the gym, the ceilings were oppressively low. There was actually an area cut out under the gym floor about 3 feet long and 3 feet wide, and extended upwards adding about an additional 12 inches of height.
Imagine the terror it struck in the hearts of the opposing divers when they walked into the pool area.
When ole moe was going against us, I can’t tell you how many times this self- taught diver stopped the slide and turned momentum around for us.
He would graze those knuckles that escaped injury from me against the ceiling while doing a back sommie, and would come up with a big grin.
I don’t know where Harley Abelson is today, but I salute his can do attitude. He never quit, and he gave it his all.
It’s an American tradition.
Now, c’mon over here while I get the yardstick…
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