This morning was a sunny beach morning in Warrnambool. On my walk, total strangers insisted to embroider on the beauty of the day. Me? I was just focusing on keeping a proper corona distance, trying not to breathe mutual air.
Somewhere in my subconscious I became aware of a rhythmic pop-pop…pop-pop…pop-pop. The sound became insistent and as I turned around I saw not a fleet of tanks chugging along in a World War II scene, but a bunch of Harley-Davidsons. Why are my thoughts so obsessed with World War II lately.
The ten or so riders approached slowly, in V formation, not too unlike black swans heading to their evening roost. A magpie’s melodious yodelling occupied my attention and when I looked up again the Harleys had moved along Stingray Bay, down to the breakwater, and had turned around at the biscuit-coloured domes where an aquarium was once housed.
As the gang of hogs drew near again, my eye caught the sidecar behind the leader of the cavalcade. Strapped to the car was a black coffin and just as the Harley, adorned with much chrome. Angular. Hexagonal. Shiny. Real.
My mind clicked into overdrive. This is clearly some funeral procession. A ritual lap for the dead. A loyal last journey for the deceased. A cortège swinging by landmarks that were once the lifeless body’s stamping ground. Friends getting around the ban on funerals. Possibly he loved the sea. Maybe he was a fisherman. Or a dawn patrolling surfer. He probably hated ankle busters, Aerial being his thing. My imagination flew in circles. And then of course, there was the love for his Harley. There must have been. Who was he. How many toyruns and breakfast runs did he participate in. Or don’t all Harley owners take part in these iconic events.
With the pop-pop…pop-pop disappearing around the Lady Bay bend, I saw that the motorcycle directly behind the coffin was showing a P-plate. As the youngster’s waist-length hair blew in the breeze I wondered whether the guy in the coffin was his dad.
What a fine send-off. May we all have a similarly dignified one, and may our ship be ready to sail.