Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My First Bike

The year was 1953.  Rural America.  First bicycle received for Christmas.  Blue and Yellow.   I was the happiest girl in the whole USA. 

Spring arrived.  Bike parked on front porch of our old stone house.  I didn't know how to ride it.  The rest of the family was too engulfed in farming to listen to my whines for help to learn.  Already at that age, a stubborn spirit was growing inside of me.  

One day something in me popped.  Our house was on the top of a decline, with the farm buildings below the house.  Stones and packed dirt made for a lawn.  Thoughts of not being loved, nobody caring about me swarmed through my tiny brain until I'd had it with my family.  If they didn't care enough about me, I'd manage on my very own. 

Like it was yesterday, I remember guiding the bike off the porch, finding 'the' spot, straightening the handlebars and wheels, confidently putting my butt up on the seat, my hands on the handlebars, putting my feet on the pedals and taking off with my long pony tail bouncing behind me.  Speed built to where I had to take my feet off the pedals, and I got so scared I froze.  No control.  At a good clip, me and my bike plowed right smack dab into the corn crib.

Funny how family members can respond to yelps and cries and screams of terror.  All three of them came flying from different directions to see if I was dead.  For their sake, I wish I had been.  I was skinned up and bleeding, but not bad enough for anyone to pick me up and carry me to the house.  But my beautiful Schwinn was no longer beautiful.  I'd busted out the reflector light, twisted the tires, the handlebars were screwed up, and lord knows what all.  The bike never was the same, because it was merely straightened out to where I could ride it and that was the end of it. 

From then on I turned into a fearless biker who could tackle any of the hills on the farm, could fly down our quarter-mile driveway at defying speeds, and come screeching into the yard with stones flying.  I had more accidents, some that were pretty scary.  But, none of them got the best of me.  Just goes to show the value of stubborn determination.  All these years there's been a little chip perched on my shoulder that I can't seem to brush off.  I still think one of the three could've taken a little time away from doing chores to devote to the preciously adorable, sweet, and loving little piece of sugar that lived with them.