“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.”

The sun is breaking through the clouds. Today will be spring.

This shoulder season is my least favorite time of year. Of late, I have been tired and bored. The cold and the rain have made exploring less inviting. Afternoon naps while away the time but make me no less lazy. A few errands force me out of the house, and even though I complain, I am grateful for the change. Today is one of those days.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have decks or porches or patios. We just had backyards, unfenced expanses of grass dotted with clothes lines close to each house. The little kids mostly stayed in those yards. My sisters sat on the back-steps right outside the door and played with their dolls. My mother could hear and see them, but she never really worried. They wouldn’t stray and the whole neighborhood kept an eye. We older kids would never be caught playing in the backyard during the daylight. We had the freedom of bikes. My mother would do her parental duty and ask where we were going. We seldom had an answer as we seldom had a destination. “Just around,” was our usual reply, and that was exactly where we went. We never had any money, not even the wealth of a dime or a quarter. Sometimes we made lunch, mostly a sandwich and some Oreos, and we’d stop somewhere to eat at no given time just when we got hungry. If something caught our eyes, we’d investigate. We’d stop, use the kickstand on our bikes and walk to see what was around. Sometimes we’d ride uptown, walk our bikes on the sidewalk and look at store windows. My favorite window was at the fish market. A tank took up most of the window and lobsters took up most of the tank. We’d stop at the Woolworth’s window and Kennedy’s Cheese and Butter Store where barrels sat out front and the window had chunks of cheese which was foreign to us. My mother never bought cheese in chunks. We’d usually end our uptown tour there and head down the street pass the fire station, the town hall, our school and church and the convent. By then it was late afternoon, and during this time of year it was getting cooler as the sun set. We’d get home, maneuver our bikes down the stairs into the cellar and go up stairs to watch a bit of TV until my mother had dinner ready. I remember lots of westerns and hot dogs, beans and brown bread.

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18 Comments on ““A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    The family is assembling. My son flew in from Orlando last night as we begin the preparation for The Prince to receive his first communion tomorrow afternoon.

    We will be heading over to St Lawrence in Utica to watch our main man receive the host for the first time. Father Jerry at St John Fisher Chapel is ready for the new communicant to be part of our future celebrations.

    The Prince is growing up.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Do the boys still wear white suits or is that from days of old?

      My aunt gave me a Cinderella watch for my First Communion. She had taught me how to tell time just for that present. I don’t remember any other gifts except that one. It was special.

      I hope the day is perfect for The Prince. It’s great the whole family will be there!

      The Prince has stopped being a little boy!

      • Hedley Says:

        I haven’t seen a white suit so I have to guess that was a thing of the past.

        A Cinderella watch is really cool – please tell me that you still have it

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        Oh how I wish I could say I still had it.

  2. olof1 Says:

    Much the same here but it’s only reasently that the fences are removed from the gardens. But everyone kept an eye on all children back in the days, even the alcoholics did and if they found us in a place thsy didn’t think were safe they sent us home directly and we listened because otherwise they would slap us 🙂

    But I can’t remember ever seeing water tanks with live lobsters, not even in restaurants. I guess there was a law against that or something. Now days they can’t even have aquariums in restaurants that plays music because the fish get stressed they say. If they would have an aquarium anyway they will be prosecuted with cruelty towards animals. To be hones I’ve never thought of that 🙂

    Sunny but cold here today, it would have been nice anyway if the wind hadn’t been so nasty.Not strong but bitterly cold. Only aropund 17F here this morning. So I already have a fire burning in the stove just in case it will be as cold tonight.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I’m sorry but the idea of the drunks and the slaps made me laugh. I would have listened too.

      Aquariums aren’t really cruel for certain fish. They have plenty of room, the water is always clean and they get fed every day. The supermarket still has live lobsters for sale. I always have the store cook them as I can’t deal with it. I love lobster but only already cooked.

      Warm enough to be outside with no sweatshirt, just a tee-shirt. Lovely day.

      Have a great evening!

      • olof1 Says:

        Sometimes theyt go a bit over the head when it comes to those laws. After all, the lobsters aren’t supposed tolive there for ever 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Christer,

        How do they keep lobsters for eating of they can’t use a tank?

  3. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hi Kat!

    There is a deli near me whose owner is a fish nut. He has a tank full of freshwater fish and another one of saltwater fish. It’s nice to come in, order a sandwich, and watch them. No music though. He does have the all-news channel on the TV. You’d think THAT would stress them out…

    Enjoy your weekend…

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      Did you find your watch?

      My dentist used to have a saltwater tank in the waiting room. I always thought that was a great idea to calm nerves. He moved and didn’t bring the tank. Now he has a load of magazines-not so relaxing.

      You also enjoy your weekend!

  4. flyboybob Says:

    When I was a kid in Dallas our backyard was fenced in with hedge rows. My father didn’t like wooden or chain link but wanted thick bushes. We had a concrete slab patio that my sister and I turned into a roller skating rink. However, like you my bike gave me the freedom to explore the area. I would never take a sandwich with me but I would never turn down Oreos. Did you ever collect soda bottles and turn them in to the grocery store for the return deposit? It was a way to supplement my allowance.

    • katry Says:

      bob,
      I always collected any bottles I found along the road and even in trash barrels. It was a great source of income.

      We lived in a complex of duplexes so the backyards were communal except for the clothes line area. A high hill separated us from the duplexes at the top of the hill. There was a parking lot for the cars which didn’t park by their houses but nobody used it but it was where we roller skater.

      The neighborhood has kids of every age so you could always find someone to play with, explore with and walk to school with. My sisters had plenty of playmates thriver own ages.

      Even b=now I save my bottles and cans. Last payout was $47.00

  5. flyboybob Says:

    I haven’t seen soda bottles with return deposits in years. Unfortunately, aluminum cans recycling prices have dropped so low that it’s not worth my time to take them to the recycling center to collect a few cents.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I wait until I have a lot of cans and then take them. 47.00 is worth the effort. The bottles here also have a 5 cent deposit.

  6. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Our backyards were all open to each other when I was a kid and the neighborhood is still fairly open. There are only four houses on the street that have total enclosure. They either have pools or back up to the church parking lot and roadways so it’s understandable.

    The kids still play in the street here just like we did when young though it’s a bit dicier for them because there’s more traffic now. We mostly stayed around the yard or played in the empty lot across the street. But we would go back and forth through the swamp to my cousin’s yard several times a day. The swamp was still my yard and when we crossed the brook it was my cousin’s yard. We weren’t actually out of the yard but we could be out of sight. It didn’t matter because somehow our parents always knew what we were doing. I think Mrs. Calore never slept and was truly the all-seeing eye of Parent. 🙂

    I’m late reading blogs because I spent yesterday paying bills and working outside. I hope your day was good.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Here most yards are fenced, many, like mine, because of dogs. One neighbor has a pool. The house next door is a rental and has no fence. Two new neighbors moved in: one put up a fence as she has 2 dogs and the other just replaced the whole fence.

      This street has 7 kids under 8 in two houses. They too play on the street, but it is a quiet one. The mother of 4 puts cones on the other street hoping to slow cars down. It is dangerous as that is a fast street, not really busy but it’s a straightaway and cars haul down it.

      It was a wonderful day yesterday!!

      Enjoy today!


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