Saturday, April 05, 2008

Go For a Ride

I sat with my mom this evening to give my older sister a break. My younger sister came by before dark and brought her step grandson by to see mother. I think that makes him my great step nephew? Anyhow, he's about six and he asked me to go outside to watch him ride the bicycle. I was tired of watching the Braves spank the Mets so I walked outside and sat on the retaining wall next to my sister's driveway. The sky was gray as chimney smoke but the drizzling rain and mist had all but stopped.
Jacob got the pedals aligned just right and pushed off and started riding in circles around the driveway - a big smile on his face as the wind blew across his face. Watching him put a smile on my face because I could almost feel the sense of freedom he felt. After learning to walk, you're pretty much land locked until you learn to ride a bicycle.
I learned to ride on my sister's bike. Fortunately it was a girls bike. When I was learning to ride, they didn't make little bicycles, so any miscues were brutal on young boys. Anyhow, my older sister was very patient. She would hold the bike up and let me get situated on the seat and then she began to push until I found my balance. I wrecked a few times, but I got the hang of it fairly quick. I must have put a million miles on her bicycle riding up and down the driveway of the house where we lived on #10 Hill.
A few years later when I was about ten, I got a Huffy bicycle for Christmas. It was fire engine red with a compartment that fit inside the bars. It looked like a really thin gas tank. That bicycle gave me my first taste of freedom.
My friends and I always roamed all around where we live there is Sloss Hollow, but the bicycle gave us range. We could go fishing down at the backwater which is a huge natural lake that formed off the Warrior River. We could go up to fire-tower hill (we called it fire-tire hill). We could ride up to the highway and watch all the cars and trucks on their way from Memphis to Birmingham.
I learned to ride the bike without my hands on the handlebars....just gliding along with the wind in my face. I guess what made it so special was that when I rode that bike, I was in the "now". I wasn't worried about what might happen or what had happened, I was there cruising down the road on my bike.
I promised myself on my way home tonight, that I would go to the barn tomorrow, fetch my bicycle, and air up those tires and go for a ride.

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