Janice Bethune, the most senior member of our group of five Birds of a Feather Quilting Bee, was driving along the main street in the town of Somewhere, heading towards Jean MacIver’s house for the Tuesday morning quilting session. As she stopped for a red light, she glanced about at the various shops now lining this revamped section of the road. Cafes and boutiques, a hi-tech store which had replaced a Woolworth’s store, the stationery shop, even the old hardware store (which once sold nails in barrels) were gone forever. Certainly these new shops had revitalized the town, but Janice wondered if what they offered was really useful. On the other hand, maybe these new enterprises presented a different need more suited to peoples’ lifestyles today. As she pondered this, her gaze suddenly focused on a familiar figure. Fredericka (Freddie) Hollis—the youngest member of the quilting group was just climbing onto the passenger seat of a large, parked motorcycle and she wasn’t alone. R.C.M.P. corporal, Barney Schwartz (recently retired) straddled the driver’s seat; however, it wasn’t only the motorbike which startled her, it was Freddie’s attire. She was dressed in a pair of lavender-coloured, slightly snug (Janice thought) leather pants and matching jacket. Just then, a horn honked impatiently forcing Janice to drive hurriedly through the intersection. What on earth was Freddie up to now?
As Janice pulled up in front of Jean’s place, the front door opened and Jean appeared.
“Hi Janice, have you seen Freddie? She said she was coming and that she has a double surprise for us.”
“Well, I think I’ve already seen one surprise and I suspect the second is on its way,” Janice remarked dryly as she entered Jean’s living room.
“What surprise?” asked Carole Fortescue as Janice took a seat beside her on the couch.
Janice smiled mysteriously. “Much as I’d like to tell you, I think I’d better leave it to Freddie.”
Just then, the doorbell chimed.
“I suspect that’s Freddie now,” Jean said as she went to answer the door.
As the door was opened, sudden exclamations of surprise were heard.
“Wow! Look at you, Freddie and is that your motorcycle?”
Motorcycle? Carole and Loretta rushed to the door to have a look.
“No, that’s not mine, it’s Barney’s,” Freddie replied gesturing to where Barney was standing alongside the oak tree on Jean’s front lawn.
“Hi Barney!” The women chorused.
Barney laughed as he waved casually. “I’ll pick you up at noon, Freddie,” he said as he walked back to his bike.
Everyone watched as he climbed back onto his motorcycle. Once settled with helmet on, Barney started the engine, pulled down his visor and, after checking for any on-coming traffic, eased slowly away from the curb.
“That’s amazing!” Loretta exclaimed. “There’s hardly any sound. It’s more like a purr.”
“I know," Freddie replied. “It’s a 2015 Honda Gold Wing touring bike. It has comfort features such as a heated rider seat, a passenger seat with headrest and a foot warmer.
“Are you going to learn to drive it?” asked Loretta.