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The older folks back home like to tell the story about the first motorcycle ever seen in Down East Maine. It wasn’t driven through town by some loud summer-complaint but by hometown boy Harold Hupper.
Harold had joined the army after graduating high school and when he came back home on leave for a visit he was astride a brand new shiny Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Most people in town had seen pictures of motorcycles in magazines and newspapers and in the movies, but most folks had never seen a real one up close. So when Walt came rumbling through town and parked his big, bad shiny, new bike in front of the store, it drew a crowd, in short order.
Lots of folks thought it was kind of funny that Walt, of all people, should be the first in town to get himself a motorcycle. Harrold wasn’t on what we might call today the “cutting edge” of anything, except maybe a buck saw. And older people remembered that Walt could barely ride a bicycle until he was almost old enough to shave.
After showing his Harley to the folks in front of the store, someone suggested to Harrold that he might ride his snappy new vehicle out to Wink Dalrymple’s place, to see how old Wink would react to such a loud contraption. Walt agreed it would be fun, so, after taking a few hair-raising turns around the square, he headed out to Wink’s place.
Wink Dalrimple and his wife Florence lived as far out in the country you could live and still get mail delivery and a country radio station. He came to town one a month, whether he wanted to or not, and most of the time he made it real plain to all that he didn’t like coming to town at all. But sometimes he just had to.
Harrold headed out to Route 9, the airline, and from there took a turn onto the tote road that lead to the Dalrimple place.
Wink was sitting on his front porch, smoking a pipe and looking through “The Saturday Evening Post” when Harrold came racing up the drive and into the clearing on his roaring, snorting, ear-splitting Harley.
Without hesitating, Wink, not one to panic, dashed into the house, took down his hunting rifle, came back out on the porch and blasted away at the strange contraption.
Well, the motorcycle went flying toward one side of Wink’s driveway and sailed into a patch of puckerbrush. Harrold went flying toward the opposite side of the driveway and into another patch of puckerbrush.
Wink’s wife, Florence, who heard all the commotion, came running to the door to watch the whole thing. When things quieted down a bit, Florence said: “Did you get that critter, Wink?
“Don’t know,” said Wink, but I think I got it to let go of poor Harrold.

John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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