Posted tagged ‘bike’

“Winter slithers, autumn strolls, summer swims, spring skips.”

November 7, 2017

The sun is hiding. It was here earlier but it’s gone now. Today is chillier than it has been, but not chilly enough for the heat to be triggered. The clouds are white, and there is barely a breeze, but I’ll take the clouds rather than the usual cold of November.

When I was a kid, I rode my bike all year. Only the snow stopped me. The roads were seldom plowed all the way down to street so it was too slippery for bike wheels. It was sort of the same when I was walking to and from school. The sidewalks were shoveled by the people who lived beside them, not the town, so we’d hit parts which had never seen a shovel. Rather than get all snowy and wet, we’d move to the road and walk in the ruts. Sometimes we’d have to walk toe to heel because the ruts were so narrow. Sometimes we’d fall into the snow. We always laughed.

I really didn’t mind school all that much in the winter, but I really minded it in late spring and fall when the days were still warm and bright. All I could think of was I should be outside playing or riding my bike; instead, the best weather was being wasted, and a taste of the day at recess only made it worse. All I could do each school day was watch through my classroom windows as warm days withered away. We played when we got home from school but darkness came early, and the street lights were on by four. My mother didn’t care what time it was. She went with the street light curfew.

My town had so many trees bordering the streets and sidewalks that fallen leaves were everywhere. The ones on lawns were cleared and burned, but the rest sat in gutters or around tree trunks. Yellow and orange are the colors of fall to me.

Sometimes I still think of all the other seasons in colors. Spring is green, all different, varied greens. Summer is all colors especially reds and yellows, pinks and purples as the gardens come to life. Winter is white when it snows, and red and green at Christmas, but the rest of winter is mostly brown and grey. We’re almost there now.

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”

October 19, 2017

I admit it. I am addicted to YouTube’s black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s. No more MSNBC for me. Give me flying saucers, creatures from other worlds, space ships, really bad special effects and even a Nazi scientist. He was in The Yesterday Machine and unsurprisingly, wanted to save Hitler. The opening scene in that movie is a majorette twirling a baton, and that’s a highlight. I’m got to break this addiction. Library here I come.

Today is beautiful, the first in a string of beautiful days. It will be in the high 60’s, even reaching 70 by next week. Despite that near week of rain and clouds, this fall has been a delight.

When I was a kid, I had all the kid things every other kid had. I had a bike, roller skates, ice skates and a sled, something for every season. My bike was my favorite. It took me all over town and even far out of town. Unless there was snow, I could ride. My first bike was blue. It had a wire basket in the front and a bell on the handle bars. I loved that bike.

I remember a tingling on the soles of my feet when I roller-skated. I remember the sound of the skates. They were the loudest on the street and the quietest on the tar parking lot near my house. I carried the key on a rope around my neck. I’d sit on the curb to reattach the skate to my shoe. The skates were heavy.

Like every other girl, I had white ice skates. We all carried our skates tied together on our shoulders, one skate in the front, the other in the back. The trick to skating was always to make sure the laces were tight or I’d have to stop to retie them. My best skill was skating backwards.

When I was in Ghana, kids played with hoops and sticks. They’d use the sticks to roll the hoops. The first time I saw the kids playing, I remembered seeing the same game in old pictures. I never saw bought toys there. I saw cars and planes made from tin cans. Ghanaian kids are ingenious. I did see bicycles, lots of bicycles, but mostly adults rode the bikes as they were dear, expensive. I would borrow a bike to go market. It was an easy ride downhill from my school compound, but going home uphill was, at first, difficult. I had to walk part of the way pushing the bike loaded down as I was with vegetables, fruit and even a chicken from the market, but soon enough I could ride all the way home.

I have a bike but haven’t ridden it in a long while. It has gears. It doesn’t have a basket or a bell. It’s a good bike, but I’m still partial to back pedal brakes and no gears. They were more than enough to whisk me away!

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

May 20, 2013

Last night it rained, not a furious rain falling in sheets but a steady drop by drop rain. I had my bedroom window opened, and I fell asleep to the sound of the drops. This morning when I woke up, the day was cloudy and damp. Since then the sun has taken over the sky and brightened the day. It’s a pretty morning.

The window view from here in the den is one of my favorites. The branches of the tall oak tree fill the window, and I get to watch the tree change every season. The leaves now are young and a bright green. Hanging off a couple of the branches are bird feeders, and I get to watch the birds zoom in and out or stay for a while at the suet feeder. The winter view through that window is bleak. I can see only bare branches and dead leaves fluttering in the wind. When the first buds appear, it’s time for a celebration as I know the tree will soon be full and beautiful. It’s almost there now.

Sometimes I ponder my life and every time I do, I realize how lucky I have been. First of all I had great parents though I didn’t always appreciate them, especially when I got sent to my room or yelled at or had a slipper thrown at me by my mother who had absolutely no aim. She never once got any of us. We always ducked if it came close. I got to wander my town and go to the zoo or the swamp or play in the woods. I had a bike which took me even as far as East Boston to see my grandparents which scared the bejesus out of my mother as we had to travel on Route 1A, a busy highway which didn’t always have sidewalks. That bike was one of my childhood joys. My parents took us to museums which developed in us all a love of museums. They let us dream our dreams. I went to college and had no debt when I graduated because my father thought it was is responsibility to pay for school. My parents once told me they never thought any of their kids would go to college as no one in our whole family had ever gone. They were thrilled one of us did and so was I as I had chosen well. I loved Merrimack. The Peace Corps was the defining moment in my life which gave me a love of teaching, two years living in Africa of all places and friends for life. 

I have traveled many places in the world and have filled my memory drawers with those adventures, those vistas, the bumpy roads and crowded busses, the tastes of unknown foods and the joy of seeing all those pictures from my geography books come to life. Every year I went somewhere foreign, somewhere to satisfy my wanderlust. I got to retire early and since then have been to Africa three times: once to Morocco and twice to Ghana. My retirement has been so much fun: greeting the sun on the first of spring, sloth days, game nights with my friends, sitting on the deck doing absolutely nothing, movie nights and on and on and on.

Every now and then, like today, I give thanks for the life I have been privileged to lead. I don’t ever want to forget that.