Monday, April 20, 2009

Dr. Joe

I would like to tell you about Doctor Joe Hineman. Dr. Joe is 86 year young and just as of full of life as anyone half his age including me. He's a remarkable man.

Dr. Joe is a WWII vet who lost his left leg just below the hip in the battle of the Bugle. During the attack a mortar exploded in the trees above him and he took shrapnel to his leg. While laying in the hospital bed feeling sorry for himself and thinking life is over he kept hearing this other wounded soldier screaming. For three days he listen to this soldier scream in pain and all he could think of is how his life sucked now. But on the fourth day the screaming had stopped and it hit Dr. Joe that "hey I'm still alive." Yes the other soldier had lost his battle for life and died from his injuries.

So Dr. Joe set upon a life that many of us will never aspire to. He got home and went to school and got his Masters in dairy animal husbandry. He studied all he could about the profession and did it for, well to be honest I don't remember how long he told me but it was a long time. He retired but he didn't stop.

It was then that Dr. Joe decided he wanted to be a doctor. So back to school he went and got his Doctrine in Physiology . That's right Dr. Joe wasn't done learning yet. Years past and he meets his wonderful second wife, she too is something but that is another story for another time. Dr. Joe again did this job he loved very much for many years. All the while going to school to learn more about his profession. Once again Dr. Joe retires from this job at the rip age of I suppose seventy.

Now most of us would retire and find some place nice to sit and watch the sunrise and sunset with a some frosty beverage and a warm breeze. Not Dr. Joe. Instead he now volunteers at the local jails and VA hospitals helping those who need what Dr. Joe has. Dr. Joe also goes to the the Veterans Olympics in Colorado every year where he has won more medals then he can wear at one time. He skies, plays ice hockey and helps Vets returning from the wars of today to see that they are still very much people who have a lot to offer and many things in life yet to do.

One day some years back he walks into my shop and says, “fasthair I want to buy a bike.” Kind of shocked I stepped back a bit and looked at him and said “Doc if that is what you want to do then I think you should.” He goes on to tell me that this is something he has always wanted but never thought it was something he could do. You see that one leg thing was kind of slowing him down from this idea. After we talked about what he could buy since he would need reverse at the least and either a side car or some kind of out rigger set up it was decided that a Gold Wing was a perfect candidate. Out the door he goes and to be honest I never really gave it another thought.

Then some months later his wonderful wife, Dorothy, walked in my shop and asks rather sternly “Do you know where Joe is at?” Thinking she may have lost him, again, I tried to think of what day it was. She had called me once before to try and figure out where it was she had dropped off Dr. Joe. Since this was a Thursday I told her he was probably at his breakfast club with the boys to which she exclaimed “oh that’s right I dropped him off at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.” Needless to say I wasn’t ready for the answer she was about to give me to her own question.

“He’s out in Arizona buying a motorcycle because you said it was ok!”

Dr. Joe was in Arizona where his sons lived buying a brand new Gold Wing. His sons and him had researched the best way to set up an out rigger set up and which bike was best suited to his needs. I thought she was rather perturbed at me for supporting Dr. Joe’s desire of wanting to ride. As I tried to reason with her that is something Dr. Joe wanted and it would be helpful if she would support him and stand behind him in this new adventure towards how he moved forward from here on out. As much as all of this rather out of the blue conversation continued I made the comment “you know it would be great if you would hop on the back and go riding with him sometime.” Her next comment took me completely off my feet. “Hell with that, I want my own bike!”

Dr. Joe

Needless to say I knew at that point Mrs. Dr. Joe was really ok with his decision and wanted me to know that he was following through with his desire to ride a motorcycle. To this day the Misses still hasn’t got her own bike but good ol’ Dr. Joe still rides from time to time.

I had started to write this almost a year ago. It set in my drafts folder all this time waiting for me to finish it and give Dr. Joe the due justice he deservers. It was IronDads’ post about his friend Bryce who has made the hardest choice we as riders could ever face that got me to finish it. When to give up riding because we were no longer feeling safe in our ability to control a bike. I want Bryce to know that I really can’t imagine the torture he must have been going through to come to this point in his life. But I also wanted to show him that maybe there is still hope to be riding even if it is not in the same way he has enjoyed all of this time. It appears from his letter to IronDad that he is at peace with this tough choice. To which I will add I hope I can be that graceful when that time comes in my life.

God bless you Bryce. 



Mr. Motorcycle said...

Wow! What a story, and what an incredible guy Dr. Joe is, and also very lucky to have such a supportive wife. Thanks for sharing this, and giving the story the justice it deserved.

mq01 said...

i know im going out kicking, screaming, and probably on an ultra trike or with a sidecar ;) !!! bravo to Dr. Joe and the Misses for doing what feels good. and bravo to you for steering him in the best direction for his individual needs. great read!!

Webster World said...

Great post Fasthair. Thank you Dr. Joe for your service and I commend you on your strong will to over come all that you have. Riding in the wind is awesome. Your bike looks pretty cool. Bet it is a great ride too.

PatnWilton said...

Good story Fasthair! Very inspirational and teaches us that our only limitations are the ones we give ourselves.

KT Did said...

Awesome stories like this keeps one moving on or makes one realize the reality of their life. I feel honored to have read this and to learn that it is a dream that keeps those moving and it is a reality that brings those to another road in life to live and venture into. Nothing ends...its all in "the beginning".

chessie said...

Both of these people are a rare enough breed they deserve tributes like yours! Thank you for letting us get to know Dr. Joe, his wife...and a small glimpse of their incredible lives....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Fasthair:

Thank you for an example of a man who refuses to let his horizons be determined by circumstances that most would think were beyond his control. Life is what you make it and the only regrets are opportuniies and risks not taken.

Dr. Joe sounds like the kind of guy who strikes when the iron is hot, but who doesn't hesitate to heat the iron up when things get a little slow for him.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Big Daddy said...

That's what seperates Bikers from wannabes.
Don't ever take no for an answer and no obstacle will stop them.
Thanks for the story.

FLHX_Dave said...

The only thing that scares me about riding is if I crack up will I still be able to ride after I heal up. That's it.

What a great story. I honestly can't see myself without a bike. It does a body good to read stuff like this.

Another testimony that brings credibility to the phrase "Fear is temporary, regret is forever."

"Joker" said...

I can only echo what's already been said as I'm here kinda late. I too intend to go out kicking and screaming, if need be on an Ultra trike. I've cracked up, healed up, well partially anyway, and I'm still going. Dr. Joe is an inspiration to us all to do as Big D said, don't take no for an answer, and let nothing or nobody hold you back.

Earl Thomas said...

Great post,
It reminds me a lot of the gentleman who lives down the street from me that I have grown extremely fond of.

I've lived in this small town for 15 years and I never had the opportunity to speak with the elderly man down the street; one day he stopped by my place and introduced himself. I learned in that first meeting that he spent the war as a prisoner in a Russian concentration camp, he was one of only a handful of survivors. His outlook on life is very similar to Dr. Joe's, they are both incredible role models.

In the years since that meeting we have become close friends; I spent one winter transcribing his history for his grandchildren and learned a great deal about my neighbor.

I've tried to think of a way to tell his story in a post, but it's a lot of work, the transcription of his history was over 20,000 words alone. I'm still thinking of a way to tell it. It's fascinating.

Little side note: My grandfather was a tank driver under Patton in the war. He was deployed with his battalion during the battle of the bulge but his tank was heavily damaged in one of the first skirmishes. He credits the damaged tank to saving his life; none of the other tanks in his group came back.


Anonymous said...

>It was IronDads’ post about his >friend Bryce who has made the >hardest choice we as riders could >ever face that got me to finish >it. When to give up riding because >we were no longer feeling safe in >our ability to control a bike. I >want Bryce to know that I really >can’t imagine the torture he must >have been going through to come to >this point in his life. But I also >wanted to show him that maybe >there is still hope to be riding >even if it is not in the same way >he has enjoyed all of this time. >It appears from his letter to >IronDad that he is at peace with >this tough choice.

Dr. Joe with the outrigger wheels look interesting; far too expensive here for me.

I should add the most difficult situation is disposing of my 1981 Honda Goldwing Interstate. We in Southern Ontario Canada are in a recession as well. Not as bad as the USA however still difficult. Seeing the 1981 Honda Goldwing Interstate parked and covered in the garage is more
difficult than the actual decision to terminate my riding.
Then too the price is low, however it does have 250,000 kilometres on the odometer. Have been thinking of burying the entire motorcycle in the back garden six feet down so I don't have to see the machine. BTW two different friends over the past two weeks have ridden the machine to various Sunday breakfast locations and elsewhere, forgoing riding their own much newer machines. At C$2500.00 it is a bargain and both
individuals noted the machine is very responsive and exceedingly quick. Rides like a dream.

However for me, retention is a bad dream, not a nightmare rather
more like a thorn in the side in a sensitive spot.

If it sells I won't be purchasing anything else.
My screen name says it all. Tallnbig, and no modern
machine touring or otherwise is large enough or comfortable enough to manage my height and weight.

One of my friends suggested, in jest maybe an Amazonas or similar just might be big enough to hold me.

Then again such a machine would be disallowed by the government here in Canada. Too many restrictions on oddball items here.

Oh, and a trike is not a motorcycle; would much prefer a sidecar rig if possible. Looked at a Ural the other day, they are dwarfed by my physical size, and I decided then and there, not for me.

Fast Hair, and others, when it is time to hang up the keys and stop riding, keep in mind you are not alone. Some of us have done it prior, and have been quite successful, in our own minds eye.

fasthair said...

To All: Dr. Joe stopped by the shop the other day so I made him read this. He wanted me to pass along a big Thank You for all of the wonderful comments and praise. I also have to make a correction. He got his degree in Psychology. Damn spell checker didn't know what I meant :)