Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BIKE - MEMORY PROJECT DAY 1

(noun)
a vehicle with two wheels in tandem, usually propelled by pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddle-like seat

My brother Mike is two years older than me, and my sister Pat is one year younger, all born in April--the month of my parents' wedding anniversary--which has absolutely nothing to do with my topic, however interesting that tidbit is.  When children are born that closely together, there tends to be a lot of lumping.  You know--lumped together for birthday parties, privileges, and sometimes even, punishments.  


One for all, all for one, and all that jazz.  Whether things were fair or not never really came into question.  




I am going to guess that I was around four years old when my brother got his first bike.  I have no idea where it came from, but I assume my parents purchased it and had to make some sacrifices to do so.  I assume that because when my brother, being a typical six-year-old, forgot to put the bike away one day and someone stole it, my father handed down a sentence that, to this day, I think was cruel and unusual.

He would never buy another bike.  If we wanted a bike, we would have to buy one for ourselves.  

And he meant it.  He always meant it.

Guilty by reason of sibling association. We were little children, maybe ages three, four, and six.  

Cruel and unusual.

What's even more cruel and unusual is that my brother has no recollection of this unfortunate incident.  I was scarred for life by it, and he does not even remember it--which is probably because he was always in trouble for something.  I do not lie.

So, a few years later when Mike received money for his First Communion, he bought a bike.  Two years later, after my First Communion, I was not allowed to buy a bike.  In the spirit of fairness, I had to wait until the next year when my sister made her First Communion so we could both buy our bikes at the same time. That's how that lumping thing worked for the middle child.  

So Pat and I bought matching bikes--snazzy ones.  They were a really cool pinky purple color similar to the one below. 
And as was customary in our Catholic neck of the woods, a Saint Christopher medal was attached to the bike to protect us from having accidents.  Apparently, there was no patron saint to protect from theft; so being a quick learner--from others' mistakes, I put my beloved bike in the garage every single night--without fail.

All posts from the 31 Words project can be found here.

35 comments:

Al P said...

TESTING before I post about the word-Bike! Hopefully I came through.

Candace Crabtree said...

Love this whole idea. I'm not sure I can keep up with 31 days, but I will try. :)

My bike memory is that of being scared to death to learn how to ride a 2-wheeler. My brothers were younger than me, both very athletic, and learned to ride when they were very young.

I can remember being 10, 11, and 12 years old, sitting on the 2-wheeled bike, trying to build up my courage, and then getting right back off again.

Finally, around 12 or 13 years, one of my parents friends helped me learn to ride. I loved riding bikes and remember wishing I had learned to ride earlier.

I don't usually consider myself a fearful person...so this stands out to me, I have no idea why I was so afraid of that bike!! :)

Audra said...

My first thought when I think of bike was a childhood accident I had - I flipped over the bike handlebars soon after learning how to ride without training wheels. I got to confident and raced up our rather mountain like driveway, only to flip forward after making a very sharp turn to come back down off of said mountain like driveway. I had a huge scab on my forehead, and it was so embarrassing being at school for several days after.

Anonymous said...

I was born to ride. I loved to ride my bike. Up and down our dirt road I'd go, darting amongst the potholes.

My childhood was in the throws of the Evil Knievel. If you were alive then, you know that I was compelled to pop wheelies and jump the bike as I zoomed back and forth, up and down that stretch of dirt road.

Right. The Stretch. My mom was a tad paranoid about us being away from home, even at the age of 10. We were only allowed to go from our driveway to the birch tree...less than 100 yards away. My siblings and I would beg for her to let us go further on this lonely dirt road, the land on both sides of which we owned. She would not relent.

It would be another 7 years before I was allowed to bike to town. Town? Oh, yes, that was 3 miles away, and is only a small village. But, the village proper is another story, for another day.

Mel said...

Sorry, It was Mel who wrote the story of Evil Knievel. My ID didn't pop up. I'll figure it out tomorrow.

Mel

martinealison said...

Bonjour,

Il n'est parfois pas facile de faire partie d'une fratrie. Surtout en terme de punitions ! Surtout lorsqu'elles sont injustes !
Ce fut parfois le cas chez moi, je suis la cadette de 4 filles !
Je pense que chaque fois que vous faites du vélo vous pensez à cette punition.

❁ Gros bisous ❁

Emily Noe said...

Riding bikes and my childhood are synonymous. My friends and I spent many days on our bikes! Back then, video games were not important. Instead the outside was our playground. My bike always donned colorful streamers and a bright reflector. We rode a path down the street to the little market to buy treasures like candy and the ocassional coca cola. Sometimes, we would trade and ride our skateboards instead. Our bikes also took us on adventures! We explored new places and new things to tuck into our memories! Too bad electronics have taken over too much of today's kids. They have so many adventures that await them on their bikes!

Denise Voccola said...


Translation of martinealison:

hello ,

It is sometimes not easy to be part of a sibling . Especially in terms of punishment ! Especially when they are unfair !
It was sometimes the case with me, I am the youngest of 4 girls !
I think every time you cycle you think this punishment.

❁ ❁ big kisses

Lyle said...

The summer when I was eight years old, I broke my leg. I hobbled on crutches, lugging a ginormous plaster cast. For my painfully-shy childhood-self, the worst part of the whole experience was the well-meaning, inevitable question: "How did you break your leg?" And more often than not, a kindly adult would add, "Did you fall off your bike?" I would look downward in embarrassment and mumble the truth: "My parents are having a basement dug out under our house and I was poking around the pit and a rock fell on me." I felt ashamed because I could not ride a bike. My younger brother could ride a bike, and I was sure my youngest brother would take off any day. But not me. I just could not do it! And now, thanks to my dumb leg, the whole world knew! Oh, if only my thirty-eight-year-old self could have had a chat with my eight-year-old self. I would tell her not to worry about what people would think. I would speak grace-words and hope that she would be freed up from all her insecurities. But God can use every experience for His good and can turn a shy, awkward kid into someone who loves to meet people and now welcomes the chance to share details about my life, even how I broke my leg!

Lyle said...

Candace Crabtree, I am chuckling at the similarities of our late-blooming bike-riding skills! ;)

Mommy Mac said...

A big basket. Kittens climbing out. Pretending I was in a parade. Icicle streamers. 3. Sunshine yellow, electric royal blue, puce purple. The last one I owned my younger brother took apart to learn how it was made. I haven't had one since. Would love another one with a big banana seat. My Dad and Step-Mom take my boys to the Damascus bike trail every year as a tradition. I love that my boys are making their very own bike memories with their grandparents.

.mac :)

Jen said...

How funny that 'bike' would be the first word. It elicits one of my most distinct memories. I was 8 years old. I was allowed to ride my bike just far enough on the street that I could still see our house. On this particular day, I mastered riding with no hands and, separately, riding while standing up. 8-year-old logic told me that I could of course do both of these things at the same time. My dad was working in the yard at the time. So, I turned the corner around my house and decided to give it a try: standing up while not holding on (did I mention I was going full speed?). As you can imagine, it wasn't pretty. I crashed into the pavement. Blood was everywhere, specifically gushing down my left leg from my knee. I cried out to my dad, but he wouldn't come to me. He said I was fine. He told me to just get up. So, with blood and tears streaming, I went inside and found my mom. She bandaged me up. My knee was so bad I had to take bandaids and ointment to school with me for a while to change throughout the day. To this day, my knee scar is the worst one I have.

Karen Pashley said...

The first thought that popped in my mind when I saw the word, "bike", was an incident that happened when I was seven years old.

The oldest of four, I was accustomed to being in charge. In typical first-born fashion, I called the shots as to what my brood of siblings and I would do for fun. It usually involved some sort of game where I was the chief, they were the indians, or I was the customer, they were my waiters. You get the point.

On this particular summer afternoon, the game was for me to put my 2-year old sister on the little red tricycle we often incorporated into our games, while I stood on the back and pushed her as fast as I could to try and outrun the boys, who ran laughing and squealing alongside us. What fun!

Little sis hung on for dear life as I zigged and zagged down the asphalt driveway. Then, disaster. I made a sharp turn and little sis, the trike, and I went skidding across the hot black surface. My sweet toddler sister wailed and screamed as blood poured from her chin. Mom and Dad ran to the scene, shouting, "What happened?"

Oh, the guilt that flooded my seven-year old heart. That feeling—of being responsible for something that caused another person pain. The experience left an impression that has remained with me for more than four decades. To this day, I cannot stand the thought that I have hurt someone, or irritated someone, or ticked off someone.

Without Jesus, my burden bearer, I don't know how I would get by. Because hurting others, even when it's unintentional, happens. And will continue to happen until He takes us to Paradise. Thank you, praise You, glory to You, precious Lord, for washing the tears from my eyes and the missteps from my earthly path. Thank you for taking my guilt and shame to the cross and rendering me free!

Kolein said...

Bike riding = freedom
Bike riding = flying
Bike riding = wide mouth laughing and getting a big bug stuck on my epiglottis in 5th grade
Bike riding = greasy bell bottoms
Bike riding = achy hiney, butt I don't care
Bike riding = anonymity
Bike riding = first tricycle accident, age 4, scar to prove it
Bike riding = memories of Grandma
Bike riding = knowing I could ride it before I even got on. Dad laughing as I rode down the driveway
Bike riding = banana seat with fringe waving in the wind
Bike riding = gift from my husband, it's TURQUOISE, ya'll!

XO

Kelly Lynam said...

I remember being about seven and riding down this large hill in front of my house and getting hit by a bee. That stung me. On my hand. That was outstretched. Dumb bee.

Kelly H. said...

New York City.
I was approximately 12 years old. My brother and I were sitting on the front stoop of the house of the friends we had come to visit. We watched with fascination as children rode their bikes up and down the street.
We lived in the country and rode ours through only grass and gravel.
My brother stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of one of these bikes. The bolt on the front popped open a hole in his thigh that seemed almost too large for him to cover with his little 8 year old hand. The chaos that followed is easy to imagine. My parents rushed him away to the ER, while I stayed behind with my 3 year old brother and we were taken to church that evening by a babysitter.
This baby sitter deemed it necessary to have me change out of my "play clothes" to return to the evening service, but my bag was in our Pontiac-turned-ambulance. Next, she deemed it somehow acceptable to dress me in a giant floral dress and her giant Dr. Scholl's sandals for church.
Brother's leg, my dignity: both scarred for life.

Sonya Tichenor said...

I only have two memories associated with my bike, and one of those is not really a memory but a clip of me riding one on home movies. So I know I had one. Purple, with a light. (Safety first.) Of course, no helmets in those days, so I imagine my hair floated behind me on the breeze.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a riding-bike-and-being-outside kind of girl. I'm more of a stay-inside-and-read-while-everyone-else-is-outside-riding-bikes kind of girl. So what I have is this: a movie of me riding my bike in the driveway, parking it, and showing off my muscles as I go in the house. To read presumably. I also remember meeting a friend and riding bikes with her. Once. Maybe twice. But that's pretty much it. I'm sure my parents thought they wasted their money on a bike for me just as I think we wasted money on my son's bike.

Candace Crabtree said...

Yes Lyle!!! I was the shy one, too. :) love these stories!!

Niki Carroll said...

On a hot summer day when I was about 10 years old I was determined to ride my bike faster than the boys in the neighborhood. They made fun of me long enough. I got on my bicycle, said a prayer, and rode to the top of the hill. I was going to show those boys I could beat them. I also knew (in my imagination) that Olympic coaches were watching me. They would for sure be impressed with my great biking skills. I took off as fast as lightning! I had to take a turn and cross the finish line. I was in the lead with the fastest bike ever...until I hit the gravels. My lightning fast bike skills, along with the skin of my left leg went sliding through the gravels onto the pavement for about 30 ft. I lay there bleeding, embarrassed, but victorious because I beat those boys. My mom almost passed out looking at my wounds on the way to the hospital. Needless to say I did not get a hospital visit from any of those Olympic coaches. I will never forget that great bike ride.

patty said...

you are going to have an excellent collection of memories after this... loved your bike story...ours are similar... middle child left her bike out and it was stolen (no punishment), but we had three girls and someone was always yelling, "not fair!!"
xo

Lanette said...

Lanette King Breeden Day 1 - BIKE I remember learning to ride a bike the first time. My Dad told me to follow him UP our driveway, then get on and he would get me balanced and LET ME GO (downhill on a slight grade) because this would help me get started. That was the truth, it got me started but amazingly I did fine. I really thought I hit the big time when Mom and Dad got me a basket for the front of my bike. I felt like I was so important and I pretended that I delivered newspapers and threw them onto porches like city folks did. We always lived in the country, so all my bike rides involved riding in our yard, round and round in our basement (which had nothing in it), and on our carport with my brother. There are only the two of us and we had lots of fun growing up. I was always the cautious one and he was always the daredevil, so I have many memories of him on a bike in which many involve the ER.

kandi bailey said...

My bike was an escape from responsibility. I lived on a long dirt road that was full of dust, shells and potholes! It was a perfect road for a girl to ride with a gang of neighborhood boys! Sometimes it can be fun to be the only girl! My favorite neighbor was a boy I loved dearly. Most days after school I would bring him a dill pickle (my favorite) and ask him to ride bikes with me. He was several years older and raced bicycles in the area. He often obliged me and would race up and down the road with me. He tried for days to teach me how to slide my bike sideways and come to a stop. He would do it and I would try...only to slam into him and his beloved bike time after time. I remember so clearly the time I got it! When the cloud of dust settled from my skid we both let out a giant cheer! These are some of my fondest memories from my preteen years. He didn't mention to me until after we were married that he never even liked pickles! Lol

Lisa Balough said...

Canadian Tire. That’s where my first bicycle resided until I came for it. For those unfamiliar with the uniqueness that CT possesses, I will tell you that there is unlikely it’s exact equivalent south of our border. It’s an organized hodge-podge of auto parts, tires (of course), hardware/tools, and outdoor sports supplies. It’s similar to a no-frills Target without the clothing or food. You could buy assorted carburetors, various hammers, tents of all sizes, and any number of beautiful, wonderful bicycles. That’s where we went to get my Baby Blue. She was not baby blue but rather deep, sparkly blue, my signature color, and she was my baby! I loved that bike. It had the requisite, 1970’s banana seat and huge, arched handle bars. Nothing was cooler than fastening baseball cards to the spokes so they could make the brrr, brrr, brrr sound of a motorcycle. I rode Baby Blue all over Kincardine, Ontario and I was as free as a bird. All I had to do was be home by dinner time.
Now for the bloody part! My little brother, Luke, and I always had to wear our shoes out of doors. It was a rule which I regularly broke. I still can’t force myself to don shoes in warm weather or even want to do it. I mean, soft grass between my toes is just heavenly. I decided, in a rare moment of big sister kindness, to let little Lukie sit on Baby Blue while I took him on a tour of the neighborhood – both of us barefooted. My only rule was to keep his legs straight out to the sides so he wouldn’t get tangled in the spokes. He was about three years of age, old enough to understand, right? About 30 seconds into the tour we wobbled, he got scared, and jammed his feet into my back spokes, ripping the sensitive skin between his big toe and the next one. This trip to the ER for stitches was actually his second in his three years of life. Many more followed over the years and maybe the first incident will come up in another story. This time I was responsible though and I felt pretty badly about it.
I don’t know what ever became of Baby Blue but when I see a Canadian Tire I think of that time in my life when nothing was more exhilarating than the wind in my face and the feel of my muscles pumping the pedals with my bare, bare feet.

Heather Sparks said...

As the firstborn of a large family I was entrusted with a larger share of responsibility quite frequently. At the time we lived in a very small town in NE Pennsylvania. It was one of my chores to ride the 4 or 5 blocks into town to pick up the mail each day from the post office. Mom would often ask me to pick up an item or two from the small town grocery that was across the street from the post office. I had an average 80 ' s girl bike with the banana seat and big handlebars. It was perfectly functional for that 5 block ride. I loved the ride to town because it was all downhill. Pedaling back was rather challenging as I carted the mail in a backpack and groceries on the handlebars uphill. I dreamed, hinted, and all but begged for the ultimate "cool ride". I wanted a ten - speed with those thin tires and curly handlbars. When my mom found one at a garage sale I was on cloud nine. She was silver with pink stripes on the bars and although she probably didn't make that particular chore actually easier, I felt like the coolest kid ever. :)

Serving Solo said...

Very few of my childhood memories do not have a bike in them. With my dad being a pastor, we moved several times. And each place we lived I kind of remember more as bike trails instead of houses. My favorite bike trail was when we lived in upstate New York. You could say this was my bicycle prime. I was 11-13. We had two small town blocks we could ride, not allowed to fully complete the blocks because the one side was the main road. During this time, we had the most friends we've ever had and they too rode bikes. We probably looked like a little gang, covering the block side-by-side. The one thing that stands out to me now, thinking back over that time, is how young I remember being. The 11-13 year olds I know today are way "older" than I felt at that time. It is sad to me to think kids today are growing up too fast because of technology. Perhaps the bike is what kept my childhood going as long as it did.

Mary Katherine said...

Riding a bike in Taylors Valley where I grew up was the only way for me to get around. I rode my bike daily and got into a lot of trouble doing so! My knee has a scar from running from a bat who got tangled up in my hair!
It was really close to dark, and I was headed home from my neighbors house (one of the only girls in the valley) and I had my fairly new bike with a headlight on it. The light drew the bat towards it but my long hair was in the way. It got hung and I wrecked and started trying to beat the bat out of my hair, leaving my bike laying beside the road. By the time I got home, blood was running down my leg and Mom got the rocks out of my knee and cleaned me up. I didn't like to ride after or close to dark after that! The other incident that comes to mind is when I kicked the bicycle my sister was riding beside me (she was the annoying little sister who followed me everywhere)and she wrecked. That yielded a trip to the emergency room where the doctor told us she had a fractured skull! I remember the car ride and being terrified of what I had done to her.

MsHouse121 said...

I'm sure everyone remembers the movie “The Christmas Story” and their famous saying…”You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” Well my daddy kinda told me the same thing, when I was in the 7th grade and I wanted a new 10 Speed bike with the curved handle bars because you could only stop a 10 speed bike with hand breaks and not your feet. I begged and pleaded with my daddy and he always said “NO” until he finally said yes,but if I wanted one then I had to buy it myself. A neighbor was getting ready to have a garage sale and there it was…a 10 speed bike. It cost $20. I asked my daddy to get it for me and still the same response NO…you can use your own money. So off to my piggy bank I went, but I still didn’t have enough. I was able to get a loan from my grandmother to cover the rest. Off I go to buy my new bike. I was so proud and happy to have my dream bike. I was off to prove to my daddy I could ride this bike so off to practicing I go. As I ride circles around my house my daddy came home and parked his truck in the driveway. When I come around the house to go beside dad’s truck I was going to fast, I press on my pedals to stop but they only go backwards in a circle. I gain speed as I try to stop and it was either run into the rose bush to the right or hit daddy’s truck on the left. I try to squeeze between the two but I struck the side of my face on the side mirror scraping the entire left side of my face up. I gathered myself up, snuck into the back door to the bathroom to clean myself up with out daddy knowing. I go back outside to practice riding my new bike some more. It was starting to get dark as I head off to my neighbors riding my bike. I speed through their front yard and next thing I know my bike is going forward and I am flying backwards through the air where I land in a thud on the ground knocking the breath out of me. I lay there stunned looking up at the clothesline that was put up for the garage sale. It had caught me right across the neck, leaving a whelp mark looking like a noose. I finally pick myself up, retrieve my new bike and make my way back home to face daddy. I walk into the house looking like I had just been hit by a Mack truck with my curly hair a mess, grass stains on my clothes, half of my face scrapped off, looking like the Villain,two face, from batman, a cut noose whelp across my neck, and skinned up elbows. As I go in to kiss My daddy good night, he just looks up from his newspaper, takes a sip of his coffee and says, “You'll never learn will ya kid!

Bonita said...

I remember when my cousins decided that I needed to learn to ride a bigger bike than my banana seat bike. They took me to the top of a nearby street which went straight downhill. I couldn't even reach the pedals, but they told me to get on and next thing I knew they shoved me off and I went flying down the hill straight into a chain link fence at the bottom of the street. And this was in the days before helmets! Thank God no cars were coming and thankfully I didn't fall off and mangle myself. I did however land hard on the bar between the handle bars and the seat and felt like I'd cracked my pubic bone in two. My cousins were a tough bunch and I have lots of painful memories with them!

Liza Rutherford said...

The bike memory that comes to mind is a middle school memory. I went on a youth trip with our church to ride bikes. Maybe it was Cades Cove or the Creeper Trail, I can't recall the location, but it was over 10 miles. After we returned from the trip, I spent the night at a friend's house with several other girls. The next day, my legs were so sore I could barely walk, and we had basketball practice scheduled for that evening! All the girls were showering and getting ready as I complained about my legs hurting. One asked if I had ever used Icy Hot, as she rubbed the minty lotion on her legs. I had not had the privilege. She recommended that I take the bottle with me to the shower and slather it all over my sore spots and then shower with the hottest water possible. I was very gullible. I cannot accurately describe the burning that occurred in that shower. As one can imagine, the water caused the balm to travel places Icy Hot should never travel. My friends got a good laugh, and I refuse to use Icy Hot to this day. Surprisingly, I'm still close friends with those lovely ladies 25 years later! I'm also pretty sure they would still play this trick on me today, if they could. :)

Kimberly Hoyt said...

I was older than average when I learned to ride a bike (8) because my mom refused to teach me, and dad wasn't in the picture. Neighborhood kids took pity and taught me.

My first bike was a beauty! Butterfly handlebars and a banana seat! I have no recollection what color it might have been, but I do remember spending some of my allowance to buy those streamer things you attach to the handlebars.

I haven't ridden in years. My last bike was wrecked by one of the kids in our care (we were group home houseparents for mentally and emotionally impaired teens at the time). I decided there was no sense in replacing something that was likely to be destroyed (that job was tough on stuff! ha!).

We've thought about getting bikes again, but they're just not in the budget for now. Bikes are so much more expensive here than in the U.S. Makes me sad that we didn't think to bring bikes with us when we moved!

Create in Me said...

It was my 13th birthday and I was coming out of my skin in delight. I have no idea if I got any other gifts that day , all I remember was my 10 speed, light green Ryley bike and my Adidas sweat pants set, you know the kind: blue polyester, with the three stripes going down the sides of the pant legs and arms. Mine were special though, the stripes were RED! It just doesn’t get better than that. The only problem was: I had the Chicken Pox. Talk about a kill joy. I remember in desperation putting on my cooler that the coolest sweat pants on and riding around inside my house, starting at the garage door, going down the short hallway and making a circle eight in the no-man’s-land in between the living room and dining room, then back to the garage. I must have made this circuit dozens of times. I can hear the tires squeaking on the hardwood floor.
However, the funniest part of this story and unfortunately the ironic as well, is that as soon as I had a clean bill of health and felt up to a real ride on my bike down the coast with my friend Karina, with whom I had planned out our rout for what seems like months, the tragic happened. Halfway down to what was our final coastline destination a bee attacked me! At least it felt like an attack. I had just spun my head around to yell something to Karina, who was cruising at a safe distance behind me, when I hear a bee all tangled up in my hair. I panicked and I began flailing my head to rid it free. Next thing I know, as my hands were catching up with the movement and rhythm of my head, I fiercely hit the curb. I flew off my bike, hitting the ground with my hands and… my knee; my brand new Adidas sweat pants now displaying a 2 inch whole over my right knee. My friend thought I was crazy, shaking my head like a mad woman and falling straight onto the curb like a possessed drunk. My front wheel was bent, my knee was bleeding, and my ego was crushed.
My bike soon got fixed and my Adidas patched up. Although we had a rough start, my bike and I became great companions. That day was followed by hundreds of memorable rides up and down the coastline with no more mishaps. Well except for that one time I was followed by a disgusting taxi driver for miles, but no one wants to remember a story like that…

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Day 1:Bike
I find it simply amazing how one tiny little word can conjure an immediate flood of vivid memories…and the feelings attached to them! Bike is one of those words for me.
I will not even attempt to write down everything, because, quite frankly, there was quite a bit of negative history dredged up as I began to ponder this word. I will, instead, share a particularly strong memory I instantly associated with this first days’ assignment.
I was eight years old and had been bedridden for several days recuperating from a tonsillectomy that had gone wrong. At some point during my recovery one of our dogs had given birth. My mother’s way of announcing this event (several days after said event!) was to simply bring three of the puppies and put them on my chest. My brother and I had no idea the dog was even pregnant! To this day, I have no idea where they could have possibly been hidden from us! Anything to do with reproduction or sexuality of any sort was an absolute taboo in our house. When my brother had asked why the dog was getting “funny bumps” on her tummy (she was beginning to produce milk) he was instantly hushed and told the dog was just getting fat. The whole discussion of milk glands, why they were there, and how they possibly got there, would have mortified my mother! She would’ve had a stroke if we had witnessed (gasp!) the actual birth! When we asked what they ate, we were told the mother takes care of that and not to worry about things children shouldn’t talk about! (Not one time did we ever see the pups nurse.) It was perfectly “normal” that we assumed babies just magically appeared and mama-dog somehow shared her kibble with toothless pups!
Anyway, these little visits went on for several days until finally my mother decided I had been sick long enough and told me to get dressed and go ride my bike. The “fresh air will do you good”. So, I got out of bed, dressed, and went immediately to the bathroom to vomit. I was very weak and shaky, but did not dare question the logic of fresh air “curing” me, or the fact that she had decided my healing time was over! I retrieved my bike and, as I was walking it down to the cul-de-sac (our driveway was insanely steep) I realized the puppies probably needed some fresh air as well. What better way to finally coax those little eyes the rest of the way open than to give them the great outdoors to look at, right? Made complete sense to me! I would be their “best friend for life” for giving them rides in my big, white, flowered (I absolutely detested those plastic flowers!) basket that was attached to my handlebars. Perfectly safe. Every puppy loves a bike ride.

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Bike pt.2
My mother was (partially) right. I can remember how wonderful the sun felt on my face after being in my dark room for what seemed like an eternity. I rode around and around our little cul-de-sac tilting my head back, just letting the sun shine on me, talking to those five puppies. I did have to stop a couple times to ward off more bouts of nausea. And, wow, can newborn pups make lots of noise! I was constantly trying to sooth the terrified little blind bundles of fur. Mostly because I was afraid my mom would hear them and make me bring them back to the house. I was only allowed to handle them a few minutes a day, and that few minutes had been used up when she brought them to me after breakfast.
Then, the inevitable happened. The squirming, squealing ball of five little pups suddenly turned to four as the runt of the litter (go figure) managed to catapult herself up and over the front of that gaudy basket! I can still see it all happening in a torturing and terrifying slow-motion. I was aware of her trajectory even before my eight-year-old brain could react. In my haste to stop her fall, I forgot to stop my pedals. The first wheel was running over the tiny speed-bump before my feet reacted to the scene. I was very aware of the fact that my brakes were engaged as I was rolling over that baby with my back wheel. Her screams and squeals were horrible. I had run over her (exact) middle, as the visible tire marks would testify, and in doing so, had caused her to literally squirt a foot long stream of mustard goo from her tiny intestines. The sight of that, I think, horrified me even more than the racket she was making. I remember being flooded with absolute terror, guilt, sadness, and anger, all at the same time! Anger, because, well, the silly thing should have known better than to “jump” off a moving bicycle! Sadness, because I was certain I had just committed a murder…and murderers go straight to hell! Guilt was stirring everything up because that’s the biggest thing you should feel if you are a “good child” and have disobeyed your mother. The terror, which was by far, the strongest emotion of the moment, was in expectation of my mother’s reaction, because, at this point, I was willing to concede that I was pretty clueless as to what to do next…
I jumped off the bike before it was even completely stopped and instinctively engaged the kick-stand. (Not using that infernal device was instant grounds for confiscation of my vehicle, so, luckily, in my haste, I had not forgotten to kick it down.) I scooped up the puppy as gently as I could and ran up the driveway to the house. I figure it was either my fever or my panic, but how in the world did my house get so far from the road while I’ve been riding? Sheesh!

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Bike pt.3
She met us at the door. She had heard the pup even before she heard my feet on the gravel. All I could do was hand it to her. I was blubbering so much at this point I started to hyperventilate. She couldn’t understand a word I was saying, but a glance down to the bottom of the hill pretty much told the story. She took the now whimpering puppy to her mama and walked down to the scene of the crime with me. The other four pups had settled down some (because they were no longer unwilling passengers on the tilt-a-whirl, I’m sure) and were quietly resting in the bottom of their wicker prison. (I was later horrified to think what could have occurred if I hadn’t used that blasted kickstand!)
At this point, I was convinced I had just secured my spot in the afterlife. She only said one thing to me:” What were you thinking?” The look on her face was enough. My little brain concluded that I was evil and could never be forgiven. In the end, that little skydiver survived. She grew to be strong and healthy and had no repercussions from our little adventure. I was not allowed to play with those puppies for a long time. My mom made a point to bring those puppies in to the living room, daily. I was now sequestered there with the as yet uncured infection from the tonsillectomy…so she didn’t have to run down the hall all the time. My brother was instructed to play with them, whether he wanted or not, to show me what I could be enjoying if I were an obedient child.
Other than this rather odd story, I have many wonderful, happy memories associated with the various bikes I had the pleasure of owning. The feelings of joy, freedom, accomplishment, and independence were always there. That garish white basket that could carry a whole days’ supplies…even a load of distraught puppies! That white banana seat with the tall flag flying from the back that would whip you in the head if you rode under something too short. (Ouch!) I can see (and feel!) those rainbow streamers flowing from the handlebars…which were obviously enhanced by the pompoms I added. I can still hear the sound of those playing cards clacking in the spokes…we were not allowed to use them for any other purpose because they were a tool of the enemy, don’tcha know?....but that’s a story for another time. (wink)

Becca Hill said...

Mine was purple with a banana seat & streamers off of the handlebars. My dad & brother worked hard to help me ride it. I remember loving it but also being afraid to fall. When I finally mastered the skill, I rode it all over the neighborhood. As I think back, I would be terrified to let my kids loose to ride all afternoon to who knows where! We were so lucky to have such a free & uninhibited childhood!