Let's go riding!

Monday was a wonderful day.

Everywhere I went, the sunshine seemed to buoy people's spirits.

While visiting Larry's Motorcycle Service I noticed a beautiful model motorcycle in the front of his display case.

It turns out it belonged to "Red" Chaney, the owner of the first motorcycle shop Larry worked in.

Larry and Red became close friends.

Stop by Larry's shop and ask about Red. Larry can show you photos of Red at his Indian Motorcycle shop on South Boulevard and the mailbox that still bears Red's name.

Crawfordsville and Montgomery County are filled with wonderful memories of independent shops and the people who ran them. There are still quite a few of those shops around. It's worth your time to get to know them.

Meanwhile, I think I'll put a new battery in my 125 cc "hog" scooter. Buzzing around town is a blast. I imagine a real motorcycle is even more fun.

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ONE OF the seldom discussed ways government has intruded into our lives is found in our volunteer fire departments.

There are several of these fine departments to be found in Montgomery County and each of them finds it more expensive to operate as time goes by.

New radios are required, turnout gear becomes more expensive; meanwhile, each member of the department sacrifices their time and energy to protect their neighbors.

Last summer, the Alamo Christian Church and the Yountsville Community Church pooled their resources to put on a Vacation Bible School program. At the closing service, several hundred dollars were donated to the Ripley Township Fire Department to help offset those expenses.

It can be argued that the increased government regulations are intended to make the fire department service safer for each firefighter. But it can also be argued that each new regulation is another attempt to babysit Americans on the premise that we can't take care of ourselves.

Each volunteer department is a source of great pride in their communities.

I once asked Dennis Weir about the volunteer departments when he was chief of the Crawfordsville Fire Department.

He said each one was very professional in the way they reacted to public safety issues, such as fire, road accidents, etc. He expressed great appreciation for the service each volunteer firefighter gave, noting there is no way full-time paid firefighters could respond to all the incidents throughout the county.

It would seem to me, as an outsider, that each firefighter is intelligent enough to do their best to live up to industry standards. I am confident each one is committed to do their best to take the necessary classes, that each department does its best to provide their people with the best equipment.

Radios -- that is another matter. As each county is forced to buy new radio equipment, that expense also becomes necessary for each volunteer department so they can communicate with dispatchers.

If it sounds strange that our churches would use Vacation Bible School donations to assist local fire departments, remember the great service firefighters give to their local communities. We could argue it is every bit as important as the service given by missionaries around the world.

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I SAW A sign on a church building this week. It read: "Gossip is like the flu -- don't spread it." I can't wait to share that with all my friends -- along with the other things I've heard about people this week!