Just ask the person who rides a Harley.
At this moment I am sitting in a Harley Davidson dealership’s bar which is named Chunk’s Hawg Haven. Sitting on the bar are 4 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnut boxes in various stages of emptiness. It’s Sunday and I brought the doughnuts. My wife, who’s a fine art photographer, has agreed to shoot a portrait in the bar this afternoon of the bar’s owner, “Chunk” and his father “Lone” and Lone’s wife Rebecca who works at Merle Norman. My wife met Rebecca at the Merle Norman store and struck up a friendship thus leading to Rebecca asking my wife to shoot a portrait of her husband and step-son-in-law. It seems that Lone, at 80 years old, has multiple serious health problems and Rebecca wanted a portrait in his favorite get-away place while he still has his engaging spirit in tact.
The thump-thump-thump of the arriving Harley’s and subsequent loud greetings and ear-piercing music coming through some grizzly bear-sized speakers just adds to the fun and in order to write this as I sit at a distant corner table requires my purple 33 db earplugs to be tightly in place as my wife shoots away undisturbed by the incredible din.
We had gone by the bar on Saturday morning before it opened. There we met Chunk and his wife and my wife determined the lighting she would need for Sunday’s shoot. We enjoyed meeting Chunk who’s an affable fellow, very laid back compared to what one might think of a biker bar owner or maybe we just caught him in a contemplative mood.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny and rather chilly so as usual when I go visiting people, I dropped by Krispy Kreme to pick up some doughnuts for the bikers as “Chunk’s Hawg Haven” would be open for business while the photography session was taking place. I got 4 dozen glazed and assorted and 6 doughnut holes cups, about ten paper hats and some napkins. There was just one unfortunate circumstance which later became a load of laughs on me…this particular Sunday was just past Valentine’s day and the only boxes they were filling at Krispy Kreme were the leftover bright pink ones used during the Valentine’s Day promotions. Pink. Bikers. Beer. Doughnut Holes. Krispy Kreme paper hats. Somehow the combination didn’t hit me at first, not until we walked into Chunk’s Hawg Haven and put the little pink boxes, along with the little doughnut holes cups, and the cute little paper hats and napkins up on the bar for all to enjoy.
Even though all eyes were on me and the music seemed to volume down I still just assumed this reaction was like every other reaction we get when we deliver doughnuts to people…they look at you and their eyes get big and the smiles and laughter follow right along. However, the eyes looking at me at this moment weren’t very wide and the smiles looked downright sinister and nobody said a word at first. It was like in the old western movies when the good guy walks through the swinging doors into a bad guy saloon, everyone in the place turns with threatening looks, then the piano player stops playing and the bartender slinks down to safety behind the bar and there’s silence in the room…that’s how it suddenly felt to me and I realized that even though nearly everyone in the world seems to love Krispy Kreme doughnuts, customers in biker bars maybe don’t necessarily like to eat them out of bright pink boxes, I’m just guessing. Uh Oh.
Suddenly, as if on cue at a surprise party, the owner Chunk yells out a huge “AAUULL-RIGHT!!!” and the whole place explodes into laughter and high fives…and this very large biker with some pretty nice tattoos looks at me and yells, “Did we scare ya??!!!” Then more laughter.
It was a set-up that took place without a prior plan, just a bunch of Harley riders trying to get a rise out of a doughnut guy. It worked. Turns out nearly every biker in the bar was in some sort of business profession in real life enjoy dressing in their “colors” and riding their “Hawgs” when the sun was shining and hanging out with other Harley riders during their cruises or at a Bike Week someplace. This was definitely NOT a biker bar gang group. In fact Chunk and his beloved father, Lone, are both retired detectives after 30 years each with the very large local police department, so “Chunk’s Hawg Haven” might be one of the safest biker bars in the nation. How else could they be serving Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in little pink boxes?
– For you Prius drivers, “Hawg” or “Hog” is what Harley-Davidson riders often call their motorcycles.
– A “biker bar” is a bar where mostly motorcycle riders gather.
– “Colors” are club logos worn by recreational Harley riders. (Originally motorcycle gang members called their club logos “colors” but the name can also apply to the good guy/gal riders who hang out at “Chunk’s”).
– Chunk was nicknamed “Chunk” by his father, Lone, because Lone thought his little baby boy was fat and chunky.
– Lone got the name “Lone” from his father. Lone’s father served in WWI and his best friend was actually named “Lone.” That Lone was killed days after the war ended on an empty battlefield by an enemy soldier who didn’t know the war was over.
– My wife’s portraits of Lone and family are some of her best and warmest ever.
Lone told me an endless stream of hilarious stories after the photo shoot was over. He was really enjoying himself. If he had life-threatening illnesses he sure didn’t show it and his stories, however true, were among the most entertaining I’ve ever heard. As we left I asked Lone if he liked Krispy Kreme doughnuts and he said in a very high volume, “I may have retired being a cop, son, but no cops ever retire from loving Krispy Kreme doughnuts!” Then, that great big laugh.
Krispy Kreme doughnuts can open some pretty interesting doors. Even the kind that swing open.
PS – You can meet the nicest people on a Harley.