Posted tagged ‘bicycle’

“Roller-skating and ice-skating are two different things – I found that out the hard way.”

March 19, 2016

The day is beautiful with lots of sun and a clear, deep blue sky. The only problem is the cold. It isn’t take your breath away cold, for which I am thankful, but it is wear a jacket or a vest cold. The prediction is for snow starting tomorrow night and continuing into Monday. We could get up to 8 inches, but the forecast is still filled with maybes. Sadly the snow isn’t a maybe but the amount is.

Even when I was young, I don’t think I’d have welcomed snow this time of year. It’s bicycle time. Sled time is over. I’d have already put my sled in the cellar and brought out my bike.

I was a pretty good roller skater on the sidewalks near my house. My skates were the key kind which attached to my shoes, always shoes, never sneakers. I’d sit on the front steps,  loosen the sliders on the under part of the skates then put my feet in and move the slider up and down until the skates perfectly fit my feet. I’d then tighten the slider bolts. The next part needed my key which I always kept on a string around my neck when I skated. The string was a necessity because losing the key was about the worst thing to happen. That key loosened or tightened the clamps at the top of my skates, the clamps which held on to my shoes. Once the clamps were as tight as I could get them the last thing to do was to buckle the leather strap which went across my foot.

I loved how strange the bottoms of my feet felt as I skated. It was like a tingling sensation. Coupled with that was the great sound of skates rolling across the sidewalks. It was almost like the sound of a revving motor.

The skates never really glided and didn’t do well dealing with big bumps or cracks in the sidewalks. I didn’t care; however, I did sometimes fall after encountering a crack and often skinned my knees. Blood trails went down my legs. They were like badges of honor because I’d get right back up and skate again, blood or no blood.

We went to the skating rink occasionally and rented shoe skates. The rink was in Medford, the next town over, and was called The Bal-A-Roue. It looked a bit like a hockey rink. The skating part was oval and surrounded by a railing. The surface, though, was wooden. An organ played the music so easy even now to recognize as skating music. I love going there.

When I’d get home, my skirt or my pants were usually dirty from the number of times I fell on that wooden floor. I admit the railing and I were great friends.

“Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?”

January 3, 2016

Today is sunny and in the high 40’s. I have no complaints about this winter’s weather, at least not yet. We’ll see what January and February bring. A New Englander is an eternal skeptic about the weather.

When I went out for the papers, I found one of my decorative vases broken into several pieces all over the middle of the road. It had been taken from my front garden and smashed. I picked up the pieces, and in typical fashion managed to cut myself three times.

Every kid had a sled and a bicycle. Some of us also had roller and ice skates. These were all every kid needed, the rest was just icing. If stuck in the house, games kept us sane. We got a new one every Christmas so we had lots of choices. I still don’t like Monopoly. It took too long and was boring. My favorite from back then which we still play today is Sorry. I have even introduced it to my friends who are now fans in a Sorry kind of way. It’s a game you love because it can change in a heartbeat, and it’s a game you hate for the same reason. My sisters used to cry when I’d send one of their pieces back to start. My friends curse. It’s a grown-up game of Sorry.

When I was young, I had scrapbooks filled mostly with newspaper articles. I remember one book was all about the new Pope, Pope John XXIII. That was a huge thing in my life, the death of one Pope and the election of another. I sat in front of the TV watching the smoke and hoping for white.  That was the last Pope inspired scrapbook I ever made. I had one filled with articles from the paper which mentioned my name, no matter how slight the mention.  The drill team scrap book had programs, local articles, pictures and articles from the Globe when we won big.

I still have a couple of those scrapbooks. The tape no longer holds the pictures to the page. Where the tape was is discolored in the shape of the tape mostly in the corners. Every now and then I pull one out of the eaves and carefully turn the pages. At the playground one summer, I was the checkers and the horseshoe champion for my age group. I do have hidden talents.

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

April 7, 2014

It must be spring. I can hear blowers cleaning yards, and I saw my landscaper with his green spreader fertilizing a neighbor’s lawn. Good luck to him with mine. It is covered with small branches felled by that last storm with all the wind. My backyard too has fallen branches but large ones from the pine trees.

Color is returning to the world. The male goldfinches have their bright yellow chests and are beautiful against the backdrop of the brown, bare branches. In my garden are yellows and purples and stark whites. I am back to my stop and look at the garden routine when I get the papers. I don’t want to miss a single new spring flower.

Yesterday I treated myself to my favorite sandwich: an avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese and spicy mayo panini. I also bought a whoopie pie. They were my reward for doing errands.

For me, this is a full week. I have something on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. It always seems to work that way. I have weeks with nothing scheduled then my dance card fills. I actually resent my time being taken. I moan and groan at having to set an alarm, get up early and be out at some ungodly hour. I’m talking nine here. Everything is relative.

My first bike was clunky. All of them were back then. The brakes were back pedal, and there were no gears. The chain sometimes fell off, but we were all skilled at getting it back on the silver cogs. It was one of the first bike maintenance things we learned out of necessity. Once in a while, my pant leg got caught in the chain, and it would all be greasy and sometimes torn before I could free it. I had a wire basket on the front and a bell on the handlebars. When I’d hit a big bump, the stuff in the basket would bounce and sometimes even fall out. We’d attach playing cards or baseball cards to the spokes with clothespins, the snap kind, and we weren’t riding bikes anymore. We were riding motorcycles.