By all rights, my friend Buck should have been dead in 1969 when he was involved in a bad accident on his motorcycle. He was working in Morgan City and commuting to NOLA on his days off, spending those with friends Al Bartlett and Sam Hopkins, who were living the bohemian lifestyle in the French Quarter.
It was winter and cold, and Buck’s sole means of transportation was a Harley Sportster. He bundled up in his shepherd’s coat, the kind made out of sheep’s skin with the rough leather on the outside and the wool side facing inward. For added insulation he lined the inside his coat with newspaper, which makes excellent insulation, by the way. Thus bundled up, he headed for NOLA.
As he topped the overpass over I-10 where Airline Highway becomes Tulane Avenue on the New Orleans side, he saw the South Carrollton Avenue light was green for him and laid on the gas to be sure he made the light.
But, someone ran the light, and Buck t-boned them. The Harley came to a complete stop, but Buck didn’t. He flipped over the car, landed on his back, and slid down Tulane Avenue thusly, his fists still firmly grasping the Harley’s handgrips, which he had pulled off when he “disconnected” from the bike. He came to a stop abreast of an elderly black man who had been making his way towards Carrollton on the sidewalk along Tulane.
And Buck lay there motionless.
The old man hobbled over to Buck and bent over him for a closer look. Satisfied with his examination, he looked up towards the gathering crowd near the motorcycle and car crash scene and yelled, “He be deid!”
Buck opened his eyes and said, “No he’s not.”
And he wasn’t. Surprisingly unscathed, he had only a few scratches and a ruined coat, which, with the newspapers, had contributed to his lack of significant injuries. He got up, called his dad, who showed up with his pickup, into which they loaded the mangled bike, and went home.