When I was a little kid, my future brother-in-law Denny endeared himself to me in many ways.
We played a lot of ping-pong, golf, baseball, cribbage and backgammon; he gave me an empty keg (which I still have) from the house he rented across the street from our house; and as icing on the cake, he used to take me for rides in his red Alfa Romeo convertible.
Denny, 15 years my senior, liked to drive fast and, if memory serves, had the tickets to prove it. A little thing like a bushel of traffic citations, however, did not keep him from tapping into the Alfa’s potential. I remember telling him once — and don’t get me wrong, I thought the ride was fantastic — that he was going so fast I thought the banana I was eating was going to jump out of its peel.
While I immensely enjoyed tooling around with Denny, in the 40 years since I think I have been in exactly one convertible, if you can call it that; my American Legion baseball teammate Kerry Merritt had a GMC Sierra that, with seemingly some degree of difficulty, the top could be removed from.
In the late 1970s, nobody was nearly so paranoid about everything as they are now, meaning Kerry was allowed to drive his truck to away games at exotic locales like Gresham, Centennial, Franklin, West Linn, Reynolds, Clackamas and Sam Barlow high schools, and even (gasp!) take other players with him.
Anyway, as near as I can tell, the vehicle owned by the hard-throwing and occasionally wild Kerry — he once broke the jaw of Hood River’s first batter of the game, and in another incident, I ended up with seam marks on my forehead when one of his practice pitches eluded my glove and skulled me — is the last roofless one I’ve been in.
And I’ve really no desire to change that.
I’ve thought about that many times, including Tuesday morning on my way to work when I passed a Geo convertible in downtown Albany.
I guess my overall feeling is, at this point what could a convertible give me that a motorcycle can’t, and even better? Sure, some of them look really cool, and there’s that whole wind thing, but again, there’s not many windier experiences than being on a motorbike, and riding is simply much more fun than driving.
If you hunger for a convertible, hey, go for it. It’s a free country.
Myself, as long as it’s in my power, I see myself owning only motorcycles and pickups — although, if I ever stumbled onto a fantastic deal on a Jeep Wrangler, I’d at least consider it.