The Birthday Bike


The greatest gift I ever received from my parents, besides the stuffed German Shepherd dog when I was in kindergarten and the brand new white sissy bar bike with the banana seat, was the ten speed, second-hand blue bicycle I received for my birthday when I turned fourteen.

It never occurred to me to feel slighted for receiving a second-hand bike as a gift. Even though the one front brake didn't work, it was just what I wanted. Those big tires ate up the miles that separated me from my best friend on that long, lonely dirt road outside or Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

The fact that I had gear choices on the handle bars meant that I could traverse the miles quickly and be able to spend more time with Suzanne just hanging out or ridingher stubborn pony.

I was stoked. I didn't care if the bkhe paint was dinged, or that there was a cut on the seat cushion; not one bit. I retired that cute little 12" tired sissy bar bike into the basement garage in favor of my new 24" tire bike. Quite frankly I don't even remember what became of the old bike once I received my garage sale ten-speed.

Living in the rural parts of Pennsylvania nurtured resourcefulness in kids. We didn't have the tools of entertainment modern kids can't seem to live without these days. We read or drew pictures, played board games, made up our own games, used our imaginations and wandered in the woods and fields.

Phone calls were for adults and once and a while we received a five minute phone call from relatives on special occasions. My Dad counted every minute on the phone. Long distance calls were too expensive.

My new bicycle meant sweet freedom and socialization. There were no teens living close by, just farmers.

Suzanne was my nearest friend until Jodi moved in down the street. We became fast friends and rode bikes everywhere we could think of and I spent the night at her house frequently.

We played the Carpenters songs on the record player and Simon and Garfield. We swiped cigarette packs from her drunk Dad and hid them in the woods in a jar. Wed sneak away and smoke one them brushed our teeth and chewed gum afterward to hide the tell tale smell.

Sometimes bikes don't keep kids out of trouble, but they can sure take them places.

Jeff and I visited Jodi in Ocala during our honeymoon in August. We went to a fancy new horse stable to golf cart around It's been nearly 20 years since Jodi and me saw each other. The meeting brought it *all right back *. The next time must be much, much sooner.

Photo captured by Jeff on my Galaxy Note10 Plus in Ocala, Florida 8/2021

This is my five minute freewrite using prompt: blue bicycle hosted by @mariannewest.

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