Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 49

By | January 13, 2024

[January 13, 2024]  I wrecked out, scraping my knee into a bloody mess,  ripping apart my boot, and tearing up my plaid pants.  I was trying to take a turn too sharply and too fast on a sun-scorched day in Abilene, Texas.  The paved road surface was soft, gooey-like from the sun’s heat, and you could see the heatwaves shimmering off the surface.  I was inexperienced on my new motorcycle, and down I went, sliding along the graveled, gooey surface.  I never told my parents.

My brother and I saved money from our paper routes, and that cash was just enough to get ourselves small bikes.  We bought our first motorcycles, each a Honda street bike, a 125cc for me, for a great package deal that our Dad negotiated with the dealership salesman.  Motorcycling was popular in the 1960s, and we were just riding the trend.  It was early 1967, and we thought bikes were the coolest thing ever because they symbolized excitement and freedom.  And what young teenager doesn’t want that?

I traded my street bike for a 1964 Ford Mustang the following year.  What a great, cool car it was.  I also bought a 250cc yellow Yamaha dirt bike.  My interest in bikes was changing, and I loved to ride out of town into the hills nearby, south of town.  My friend David and I were bonded at the hip.  Every Saturday, we’d get lost, traveling many miles to find just the right place to ride up and down hills, across streams, weaving in and out through wooded areas, and meeting up with like-minded young boys to compete to see who could do the craziest tricks without getting seriously injured or, heaven forbid, killed.  One day, my friend David almost bought his Darwin Award when he decided to jump across a six-foot gap near the apex of a big hill.  He failed to get his speed up properly and crashed, sending him to the hospital with a broken femur, three broken fingers, an impressive number of stitches, a broken nose, and his dirt bike to the junkyard.  I was shocked by his injuries, and it scared me.

I liked to race uphill against any and all comers.  It was exciting.  It was an adventure.  I won many and lost many.  The high-pitched sound of the 2-cycle engines was sweet and entertaining as it echoed across the valley floor.  The hills we raced up were not gentle slopes but cut with deep ravines and covered with large, sharp rocks, and steep – so steep you wondered if the bike might come back, front wheel rolling back upon you.  The trick was to do any contortion of your body to make sure your bike didn’t land atop you.  I saw bikes land on their riders many times; the injuries ranged from a few burns to crushed ribs.  Fall off your bike, and at minimum, you were leaving skin and blood all about.  But we never failed to help the injured.  They were part of us.

There were no trophies or ribbons signifying the winners; there were no second places or cheaters, just winners who were held in high esteem.  We raced for bragging rights, nothing else.  At the end of the day, we would be dirty, dusty, sweaty, and tired.  On our way home, we high-fived each other.  Being there physically and racing on your own was a win.  Only a few could compete against us; those who did were part of our dirt bike racing brotherhood.

Then, in 1969, the movie “Easy Rider,” starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, stormed onto the stage.  The road drama was about these two men traveling across the American South and Southwest in hopped-up choppers.  The film became an icon, exploring the rise of young men breaking away from society’s restrictions and highlighting the freedom of traveling the road.  U.S. dirt bikers now wanted a chopper and feel the wind in their hair.  But that was not to happen to me.  There were other things in my future.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

33 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 49

  1. Dean S.

    Gen. Satterfield writes the best letters to his granddaughter. Loving these letters from a true American Patriot 🇺🇸

  2. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent job my friend. Bike riding was exciting. I never owned a motorcycle but my cuz John had several bikes grown up. It seems like every years from the age of 12 he got a new bike. He was very good. I had a pleasant to ride on his bikes. He won several race. The excitement riding on a bike was awesome. When on the road riding with him a song sums it up. “Born to be wild “.

  3. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

    Gen. Satterfield, you have once again given us an insight into you as a boy but also into the culture at the time of you growing up. I’m starting to see how that times helped make you who you are today and that made you successful in the Army.

  4. Mikka Solarno

    Gen. Satterfield, I’m enjoying these letter more and more. Like others who have professed that they would like to see them continue, I vote YES on that sentiment. Rarely do we ever get a chance to look into the early life of a successful senior military leader. With these letters, we can. I hope you continue them and also, if possible, I would like to also read more about your time as you matured into HS and college.

    1. Bernard

      Mikka, I can say I agree. It does look like he is doing exactly that. This dirt bike story was definitely when he was a teenager. Altho he doesn’t say it, he does have a motorcycle drivers license and most states require you to be at least 15. More of these teenager stories is something to look forward to.

  5. Lynn Pitts

    Letters to My Granddaughter, No 49. Best one yet. Thanks Gen. Satterfield, keep them coming our way. I’ve said it before, but please don’t end this series anytime soon.

  6. Yusaf from Texas

    This letter to “My Granddaughter” is exactly why I read this blog.

  7. Yiddy of Macedonia

    Oh, Gen. Satterfield, you have done it once again and given us something more to know about you and the character you are clearly developing in yourself and it shows that you are willing to help others in need. Your friend Davis was lucky to have you as a friend but a little too chancy in his choices of behavior. I’m happy you shared this with us.

      1. American Girl

        Not crazy but down to earth smart. Gen. Satterfield is an American Patriot and what we are seeing is the development of that person here. 🇺🇸

  8. JT Patterson

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield, for this wonderful and beautiful series of letters. I look forward to them each and every day. It is not just fun reading them, but it is like a great television series where a new episode comes out each week and you have the anticipation to read them.

  9. Gilley the Brother

    Gen. Satterfield has once again given us a small story in his boyhood and one that shows he is unafraid to do those behaviors that make you stronger and more resilient. He is learning about these characteristics (and he has written about them too), and that leads to better decisions. Even better considering what he is doing is dangerous. And when injured, he steps up to take responsibility with his friend David.

      1. Cow Blue

        Jasmine, that is one of the main points of Gen. Satterfield writing these letters. He has, in the past, written about how the ‘men’ today are just really adolescents and not fully matured. In his day, when you were 17 you were a full grown adult with adult skills and responsibilities. He hammers home that point again and again and is why, at least one reason, he writes these letters to his granddaughter. I’m loving each one. I’m waiting for the announcement on what he will be doing with these letters once the series is complete. A book? I can’t wait.

      2. Patriot Wife

        Exactly, Jasmine. This is what general Satterfield is all about, how to live a good life as a man. Nothing like hearing this from a real man who is also an American Patriot.

    1. osmodsann

      YEP!, loving all the letters. Gen. Satterfield has inspired me to write letters for my future grandchildren. When they read them, I hope they have an interest in them and can then better understand me.

  10. Autistic Techie

    The film, “Easy Rider”, great film about the bad part of our society. It was the bike culture that it effected most and the chopped chopper that came out of that, that made so many decide to take up much of that lifestyle. Folks today don’t know much about it.

  11. Bernie

    This would scare me too:
    “One day, my friend David almost bought his Darwin Award when he decided to jump across a six-foot gap near the apex of a big hill. He failed to get his speed up properly and crashed, sending him to the hospital with a broken femur, three broken fingers, an impressive number of stitches, a broken nose, and his dirt bike to the junkyard. I was shocked by his injuries, and it scared me.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield, and his friend David who was his riding companion and best friend and now his friend is seriously injured. I would have liked to know how they got rescue people there to help his friend.

      1. Unwoke Dude

        He He He…… he. Yep, more excitement, or more accurately, more adventure.

  12. Julia

    General Satterfield’s letters are wonderful. I laugh, cry, and throw my hands up to say ‘hallelujah’ whenever he does something wonderful to help others.
    Please, sir, keep writiing these letters. I know they are for your granddaughter, but I love reading them too, like so many others.

    1. Jonnie the Bart

      Julia, nailed it. And the next letter is number 50. Wow, so many.

      1. Idiot Savant

        We all appreciate the letters that Gen. Satterfield is writing for his granddaughter, but let us not forget why he is doing this. He spelled it out in the earlier letters. He had many relatives and had no idea their struggles or what made them who they are. He is filling in the gaps with these letters and, of course, the letters are not just for his granddaughter but for all of us and all his kids and grandkids, as well. Gen. Satterfield, thank you!!

  13. H. M. Longstreet

    Loved it ❤ your letter to your granddaughter, Gen. Satterfield ❤

  14. Jeff Blackwater

    Two letters for his granddaughter in two days. Nicely done, Gen. Satterfield. Thank you so much for you sharing your thoughts on growing up and how that affected you today.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Right, I would like to see more ‘connect the dots’ in these letters, but maybe that is not where he should be doing it. Maybe an appendix to each letter after they are published in a book. Just some thoughts on my side.
      On another note, I had a neighbor get “Our Longest Year in Iraq”. Good for him.


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