By definition, one-percenters’ don’t trust established society. They have learned to only trust in the brotherhood that their motorcycle club brings to them. The club is family. The club meets all social needs and now, spiritual needs by establishing their own Chaplains.
Citizens are usually surprised that many one percenters are also CEO’s, Engineers, Managers and Owners of large companies. They make six-figure incomes; all legal pay checks.
At one DFW funeral, about 35 suited Texas Instrument executives attended. They knew that the departed Department Manager enjoyed motorcycling, but they never understood the scope of the lives he touched. This man, a clean and sober alcoholic for about 20 years had been responsible for the sobriety of many of the leather clad attendees.
As about 300 bikers crowded into the funeral home, they stood all along the walls, sat on the floor across the front and down the aisles. They also listened from another side room and spilled out onto the front lawn where they listened as best they could. The TI executives sat there slack-jawed (mouths opened) and eyes batting like a frog in a hail storm.
Most biker funerals start by calling out the names of the ‘GBNF’ (Gone But Not Forgotten) that have passed on before. Bikers are reminded that as long as they keep calling their names, they won’t be forgotten. Then people begin intermittently calling the names out loud, one at a time. Then words are spoken by biker Chaplains or family Ministers and then the floor is opened to allow people to stand and eulogize their lost friend on an impromptu basis. At this particular funeral with the TI executives in attendance, biker after biker stood to recount the close times they had experienced with their friend, some laughed at a good time and some sobbed at an eye-to-eye, toe-to-toe moment.
Finally, the suited executives began to stand to express their complete amazement at the far reaching scope of lives that their co-worker had changed; all from the saddle of his motorcycle. They had never seen this kind of enormous family bond. This kind of connection is closer than blood. You see, the sibling that your folks threw at you may not really be your brother; he may only be your sibling.
One percenter funerals are something to experience – quite an eye opener. When they go to the cemetery, they bring shovels, lower the casket and cover the grave themselves. This is an act of respect because as the saying goes, “No one throws dirt in our brother’s face.”
There was a period of time that some Dallas cemeteries were trying to discourage this practice as they wanted everything to be done by ‘trained employees’. When my husband buried his nephew just before I met him, it almost came to a fist fight with cemetery employees that were insisting non employees could not cover the grave. It was one of those conversations that went:
“Sir, you don’t understand. . . . .”
“No, you don’t understand – this is the way it’s gonna be!”
“But Sir, you don’t understand. . . . . “
“No, I said YOU don’t understand! No one throws dirt in my family’s face!”
Finally, the cemetery yielded and the bikers covered the nephew’s grave.
However the next biker funeral that biker attended of a friend, (same cemetery) as they walked from the funeral chapel out to the burial site, they noticed there was no pile of dirt. His wife asked, ”What are we going to do?”
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s gonna get interesting.” He responded and that was at 11:00AM. At 2:00PM, long after the services were over, everyone was still at the gravesite.
The hot Texas summer sun was causing the biker’s tempers to rise and since thirst began to be an issue, Crown Royal and beer began to appear. Within about 30 more minutes, men were revving their bikes and doing some tire burnouts. As huge, black clouds of tire smoke began to waft across the cemetery, the dump truck began to appear over the hill, heading toward the burial site to bring the dirt. After covering the grave, they all rode away without any farther exchange.
The next burial in this biker’s family was at the same cemetery. It was his blood sister’s funeral. She happened to be the matriarch of a national club as the wife of an officer who was the most tenured patch holder in the nation. Members came from Canada and northern states to attend her funeral. The load of dirt was there for them (whew) so there was no issue.
After going to biker funerals for so long (over 30 years) this biker and his wife attended the funeral of a young man (non biker) that had been killed in an accident at work. After the graveside service concluded, everyone began to walk away from the casket, get in their cars and drive off.
Standing there for another moment or two, the biker’s wife said “This feels really weird. I feel like we’re all deserting him.”
He concurred as they continued to stand beside the lonely casket. Finally, after everyone else had gone, they were the last to walk away. They left the young man in the casket alone for strangers to lower him in the grave and cover him. Looking back over their shoulders one last time, the deserted casket stood quietly abandoned; they felt sad for him.
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