Shortly after my shop was built in 1988 and we began having
regular Friday night Peckerhead “business meetings”, Paul Valentine
built our great “Peckerhead Table”. Come to think of it, Paul built
the shop too!
The table is unique…made of pressure treated wood, it is oversized
at 9 ft. long, 5 ft. wide, and HEAVY AS HELL. Since it sits on a
concrete slab that slopes downward in two directions at once, none
of the table’s six legs are the same length to keep the thing level!
Good job Paul…the table has never once tipped-over, and knocked-over
beers do not roll away, they just lie there puking their cold
contents into foamy puddles, adding to the both persona and patina.
We soon began a new Peckerhead tradition of both regulars and guests
“signing” the table. We used a Dremel tool with a round burr. The
inscriptions are as simple as initials and abbreviated date, to
crummy little pictures, to rude messages, to some artsy-fartsy
renderings. But alas, over the years as the effects of tree sap,
Aphid piss, Grackle Bombs, beer spills, Peckerhead elbows, and dog
toenail scratches have taken their toll; this fine tradition had
been all but forgotten. Few of the inscriptions were even visible.
But…in preparing for our upcoming retirement move, Jay McCury
pressure washed the table. This not only removed the layers of black
grunge, but it exposed many of the signatures that I thought had
been lost to the beers of time. I treated the old table to a 6-pack
of Thompson’s Water Seal, just to preserve what is left. But as we
have all learned, when we just add a bit of paint or polish to an
old beater bike, it soon becomes a full restoration.
And so it was that old illegible inscriptions were studied,
deciphered, and re-Dremeled. Long-lost-but-not-forgotten names began
to appear. Names like Gabe, Big Ern, Dante, Victor Toogood, Daryl
Bane, Wikkid Dan, Numb Nuts, Hehr John, Laid Back Lennie, Fabry,
Berwyn, Daffy Duck, Captain Commando, Scooter Jay and many others,
mainly from the early and mid-years of the Peckerheads. All those
and many more have now been re-burred and saved for posterity.
A number of the names are of members long gone to final Peckerhead
rewards at the Big Table in the Sky. For those, I took creative
license and carved a border around each of them and a respectful
“RIP” beneath their names. The borders and their names & dates then
highlighted by black enamel for succeeding generations of
Peckerheads to marvel at the legends of their wisdom, humor handsome
good looks, and motorcycling derring-do.
My sweet mother Joy’s initials are also there, her motorcycling
highlights include nearly T-boning a road-crossing cow on my Old
Man’s Indian Chief (she “clothes-lined” the cows tail!), and almost
throwing she & me off the road and into a ditch whilst I toted her
on my R100SS through the Cimarron Canyon in New Mexico. She said
when I leaned into the curves she was afraid we were “tumping over”
and violently leaned the other way to help me maintain my balance.
Thanks Joy! She being a proper church lady of the old school could
not for years bring herself to utter the word “Peckerhead”. She once
called me and asked if I was still having “that old…Woodpecker Club
on Friday Nights”! Then she came to town and, just to be sociable
came out to meet all the “Woodpeckers”. And she stayed until the
bitter end, having a finer time than any suds-sipper there. And she
signed the table. Then the next day did the artwork for the large
Peckerhead logo on the table. Until the end of her beautiful life,
she always made a point to inquire as to the health and happiness of
all her Brother & Sister Peckerheads…now that she *was* one it was
suddenly OK to *be* one!
My favorite crazy Uncle Billy Green’s name is there too. But his
inscription does not say RIP…it says “Gone Extinct”. When he was
near the end he never lost his sense of humor and described his
situation as “Soon to be defunct, irrelevant, outta here, you
know…Gone Extinct”. Fair enough Bill, fair enough.
For a while I did not know what would become of our old table when I
moved away to form the NW Texas Peckerheads Chapter. I just didn’t
have a place for the over-size table. On my last visit to
Timbercreek Canyon I was lamenting this to my brother Danny (also my
builder). Lo and behold, he changed the house plans to accommodate a
special concrete Peckerhead Deck for the table and future
meetings…so I’m taking the table. Even though it really belongs to
all of us.
You will have full visitation rights!
But, many of the present day P’Heads’ names are not there. Also some
of the longer-term members are not there. Some were probably there
at one time but were toe-nailed into oblivion by the oversize feet
of Malcolm Smith the Doberman. The same one who once nipped
Peckerhead Brohan right on the left butt-cheek and made him squeal!
What shall we do about those missing inscriptions? I am moving to
the Canyon May 17, 2007. The table will make its move in September when
the house is done.
So…I really hope everyone can find the time to drop by this coming
Friday, or any day this or next week and carve yourself a little
piece of immortality. If you don’t you will certainly be missed at
future Canyon meetings when I am making up all sorts of stupid shit
about each of you for the entertainment of those New-Age Peckerheads
who eagerly await tales of The Old-Age Peckerheads.
Thank you for all the great Fridays, Beers, Stogies, BS, Benchracing,
Spring Erection Parties, good times, and great friends through all
these past years.
You will not be forgotten…at least until it’s my turn to “Go
Geeze what’s next, GPS and ABS?