” The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”

My house was chilly this morning as I had left windows opened all night. It’s a beautiful day, sunny and warmer than my house. While the coffee was brewing, I stood outside a while overseeing my vast estate. Gracie has dug a few more holes. She unearthed a huge Schlitz can. That one amazes me as I don’t drink beer, and I don’t know anyone who drinks Schlitz. I guess Gracie found herself a treasure.

I had a delightful Mother’s Day. My friend Tony invited his wife and me to dinner. The table was set so beautifully and beside each plate was a box of chocolates. We started with shrimp cocktail. The entrée was pork, mashed potatoes and salad. I love mashed potatoes, and his were scrumptious. Dessert was a lime chiffon pie made by Tony. The cosmos were delicious. After dinner we played Phase 10 and Sorry. Clare won Phase 10, and I won both games of Sorry. The crowd went wild!

Today feels like a workday Monday. I was tired when I woke up, and I had to drag myself downstairs. I actually could go back to bed for a nap. I wish I were one of my cats as both of them are now having their morning naps. Gracie too is asleep but in her crate.

I remember learning to ride my bike without using my hands. I’d stick my arms out for balance, and I could ride for a long time without needing to use the handlebars as long as it was a straightway. Turning corners was far more difficult. I had to learn to lean my body to get the bike to turn left or right, but I was never really great at it. Usually I had to grab the handlebars quickly or fall over. In my mind’s eye, though, I can still see myself, proud as anything, riding without touching the handlebars. I wanted everyone to notice. If I had known the word smug back then, it would have perfectly described me.

My brother played farm team little league baseball. Those teams didn’t get uniforms but got t-shirts and hats. They played at school fields, not the little league park. My brother’s team played at the East School. I used to go his practices because his coach would let me play. I played first base or third as I was quick with the glove and could throw from third to first. I could also hit. I remember hitting a double and sliding into second. It was a thrill for me, the sliding. I felt like a big leaguer. I think it is the only time I ever slid into a base, even when I played softball.

My pants were filthy after that slide, but I thought them worthy of being framed, but they weren’t. My mother threw them into the mashing machine and all evidence of my triumph disappeared in the soapy water.

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10 Comments on “” The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I could never ride a bike without the hanging on to the handlebars. I can ride a horse without hanging on to the reins. Balance is balance so I don’t understand why I can get a large, living, breathing animal with its own thoughts on the matter to go where I want but I can’t get a stupid inanimate object to do the same thing. 🙂
    Your Mother’s Day meal sounds delicious. I love love love mashed potatoes and wonder why more restaurants don’t offer them. I’ve often thought a restaurant could do well if it had a mashed potato menu.
    My brother played Little League baseball right through high school. After that he played on pick-up leagues and semi-pro while he was going to college and working. I remember playing catch with him in the side yard one time and telling him to throw the ball as hard as he normally did. I caught it almost in the pocket of my catcher’s glove. The resounding THWACK echoed through the neighborhood. When I took the glove off there was a huge red spot at the base of my index finger. Shortly afterward I had a beautiful purple bruise all across the palm of my hand. But, I caught that ball and that was all that counted.
    The heat went on in my house early this morning which surprised me as it was set quite low. Good thing I decided not to sleep with the windows open.
    It’s sunny and sort of warm here. I’m studiously avoiding going downstairs to move the laundry into the dryer.
    Enjoy the rest of your day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I can’t even ride a horse let alone ride one without reins. The bicycle was easy!

      The meal was delicious. I could just eat mashed potatoes for dinner. It’s true that few restaurants offer them. Perhaps they thing them too simple.

      I agree. I’d think the same thing: catching the ball was the thing. The pain would go away, but you still had the pride from that catch.

      My house was 63˚ when I woke up-too cold. My heat was at 62˚, but I turned it on just to warm up the house. It still feels a bit chilly as I have turned off the heat.

      I have clothes sitting in the dryer since Saturday. I could do some errands today, but I have a meeting tomorrow so I figure I’ll do everything in one day.

      Have a wonderful afternoon!

  2. Birgit Says:

    I’m so sorry that Gracie ruined your Schlitz beer tree that someone had planted as a surprise for you. Maybe Christer has an idea how to revive the beer plant? Gracie probably prefers dog biscuit trees.

    • katry Says:

      I wonder how long it would have taken to grow? Gracie wouldn’t care as long as it was food!

  3. olof1 Says:

    Mothers never understand triumphs like that 🙂

    I never really liked biking with no hands on the handlers, I could but usually never did. But I do remember the first time I did it, I felt as if I was the toughest kid in the world 🙂

    It feels a bit like autumn today, chilly and windy and every now and again the rain falls. Still, it’s kind of nice 🙂

    have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      That’s exactly the feeling!

      It is really windy here today as well. My house still feels chilly, and I put on some socks. The sun, though, is making an effort!!

      Have a great evening!

  4. Bob Says:

    I could ride my bike without my hands on the handlebars. I could even give other kids rides on the handlebars. I wonder how any of us survived childhood. We didn’t wear helmets when we rode bikes or skated, there were no seat belts, much less shoulder harnesses or air bags in cars, we played baseball without helmets and play ground equipment was located directly above hard dirt.

    Until I was in the second or third grade my mother made sure that we didn’t get over heated playing in the summer so we wouldn’t catch polio. In April of 1954 everyone in school was given the Salk vaccine and polio was no longer the great fear. I broke my arm falling of a jungle jim in the school yard later that spring and my left arm was in a cast for the next ten weeks. I became somewhat ambidextrous because I am left handed. So much for bike riding or swimming.

    Today the sky was clear and very blue with a southerly breeze and temperatures approaching ninety degrees. Rain is forecast for Wednesday but otherwise summer is arriving on schedule.

    • katry Says:

      Sometimes I rode kids on the handlebars but mostly they’d sit on the seat while I stood up and pedaled. I don’t even think they had helmets in those days to buy. Cars went far slower back then which helped lower the accident rate.

      I think my mother knew one way you caught polio was from someone else not from overheating so she never kept an eye us us for that. We were allowed to get sweaty and grubby playing. I remember getting polio vaccine. I also got it when I was in the Peace Corps.

      That is the worst time to break your arm: too bad it din’t happen during school!

      It was a sunny, nice day today, in the mid-60’s. Summer is a way off yet.

      • Bob Says:

        I don’t know about cars going slower in the 1950s. The speed limit on the new Interstate highways was 70 mph and 65 on state highways. There were lots of two way highways were you had to go into the oncoming traffic lane to pass a truck. Cars today are much safer with crushable zones, anti-lock brakes and air bags.

        My mother probably knew where polio came from but she wouldn’t take any chances that getting over heated might mean something that she was unaware. She always did weird things to ward off evil spirits which she got from my grandmother. They didn’t take any chances in those days because the medical profession was much more primitive than today.

      • katry Says:

        Cars around where I lived always seemed to travel slower on local roads, and there were far less cars on the road then. No family I knew had two cars.

        Many mothers had ideas passed down back then. They all believed in keeping us out of the water after eating which we know has no basis, but every mother believed it true. Your grandmother passed on what she was taught.

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