I've been thinking about this post for a little while, and I think I'll tell this story across a few posts.
My father was a very cool guy. Not perfect -- who the heck is? -- but cool. When he died (and this is getting a little ahead of the story), the funeral home was packed, as was the service itself. I've never seen that many people at a funeral, but then I've known few that were as liked as he was.
One of the brightest guys I've known, although thanks to World War II, he never went to college. Frankly, he probably wouldn't have gone anyway....he was a guy for figuring things out for himself. He was brilliant mechanically -- take a car apart blindfolded, so forth (one of the (many) reasons I probably disappointed him -- I can barely change a wiper blade, and only do so when I absolutely can't see through the smeary glass at all ); but he was more than that. He loved to learn, loved to prowl museums or read about things that interested him.
At the age of 63, when most people of any generation (much less the raised-during-the-depression generation) have shut down the learning center in their brains, my dad decided to teach himself computer programming. Not simply using a word processor or handling a mouse -- designing and writing computer programs. And so, being the guy he was, he did. He wrote programs in BASIC, and they may not have been exactly "Vista", but they were functional and they worked. And he taught himself.
He bought himself his first motorcycle at the age of 60 or so, and of course quickly became a beloved member of a motorcycle touring group. He called them his "gang", but they really did become his friends, and he went on rallies with them. What he did, whatever he did, he did with passion and full-out joy.
Which is why he didn't simply ride his bike to the store or on a 15 mile jaunt through the parkway...he toured the country. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky....which is where he crashed his bike in 1996......