My Coldest Night - Ever by Doug Fincher

August 28, 2017 - In 1981 while I was living in Orange, Texas, I was invited to preach at the Hillcrest Baptist in my hometown of Center, Texas. On the Saturday evening preceding my Sunday appointment I went out to warm up the car (it was 24 degrees in Orange), and the car wouldn’t start! In a sudden semi-panic, I jumped into 2 pairs of pants, my Army long handles and put on my heavy overcoat. Then I crammed everything possible in the saddlebags of my Yamaha XS 1100 motorcycle and motored out to 96.

By the time I got to Buna, I knew I’d made a mistake. My warmest clothes, gloves and trusty bike fairing were no match for the freezing wind. I considered turning back, but after warming a while at the Dairy Queen, I continued on to Jasper. When I told a Jasper service station attendant I was going to Center, he said, “Son, Center’s 60 miles away” “You gonna freeze on that bike”. But since I was half to Mother’s, turning back was no longer an option.

I “throttled up” at San Augustine when I realized I had only 18 miles to go… but hadn’t counted on a surprise I’d get on Bland Lake hill. Center’s State Trooper Hal Wyatt spun off the shoulder behind me and pulled me over. After doing a double take of me, he said, “Doug, is that you?” “it’s 23 degrees in San Augustine… you were topping that hill at 85 miles an hour!” I promised to slow down and when I got to Mother’s house I could hardly talk and my hands and legs were completely numb. But a slow thaw at Mother’s heater, and a leg-warming with her electric blanket warmed me up for a great night’s sleep.

I learned the next day that fewer people were concerned about how cold I got than the ones who believed preachers should ever ride a bike… ever… in any weather. During the next two years, I made a few more appointments on it, but always in better weather and at shorter distances. I finally sold it when I took a pastorate in Louisiana.

I’ll never forget that cold trip to Center. I’ll also never forget my beautiful XS 1100 that got me there…

… and that never failed me.