Posted tagged ‘bike riding’

“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!

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“I told myself that I was going to live the rest of my life as if it were Saturday.”

September 30, 2017

During the night, I grabbed the afghan as my house had gotten so cold. This morning it was 66˚. I admit I turned on the heat for a while until the house was warmer. Putting on a sweatshirt also helped. The sun was out when Gracie and I got the papers. Now the sky is cloudy, and rain is predicted for this afternoon and evening. I have nowhere I have to be today, and I’m glad.

Saturday has always been my favorite day. When I was a kid, I had the whole day to do what I wanted. Breakfast and favorite programs were first then I was out the door. Mostly I rode my bike so I could explore more. No part of town was out of riding reach. The best end of town was the zoo. It didn’t cost anything in those days. Sometimes we’d ride to the next town over and bike around Lake Quannapowitt. Other times we had no destination. We just rode around town and checked out our favorite places like the house of the newspaper and rag man which had a huge porch and an out-building, both filled with papers. We’d check out the town barn and the horses. On warm days, the firemen sat outside the station in front of the engine bays, and we’d stop to talk with them. They’d let us go check out the fire engines. We’d ride down the hilly driveway to the schoolyard then skid in the sand along the sides of the yard just for the fun of it. I don’t remember ever being bored, even in winter we found stuff to do.

When I was in Ghana, I’d go into town on a Saturday and roam the market hoping to find something unexpected. When I’d finished, I’d sit and have a cold Coke at the one place which had a fridge. It was the last store in a line of stores on the main street. It had a few tables and chairs outside. It was there an American guy stopped to talk to me. He wanted to know where the bare-breasted women were. I was angry and horrified. I told him so. He quickly left. I never ran into him again.

When I was working, I wanted one free day to do whatever I wanted. Saturday was the perfect choice, the historical choice. Once in a while I’d grocery shop on Saturday and once a month I’d dust and vacuum, but mostly Saturday was for fun.

Now I always say every day is Saturday.

 

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

September 10, 2017

Today is sunny but chilly. Though I have the doors and windows closed, the house still isn’t warm. Last night I woke up and grabbed for the afghan as nights are colder this time of year especially when the days are in the mid 60’s.  I’ve taken to wearing a sweatshirt when I bring Gracie to the backyard. She seems better this morning, and she ate her breakfast. I just hope she keeps it.

This is my favorite time of year here on the cape. The ocean which stayed cold so long in the spring stays warmer in the fall. The cranberry bogs are red with fruit. The trees hold their leaves a bit longer thank north of us and change color later in the season, mostly to red. Dogs are allowed back on the beaches. The weather is usually sunny and a sweatshirt is more than enough to keep me warm.

When I was a kid, I never planned ahead except for the times before my birthday, Halloween and Christmas. I just took each day as it came. I knew I had five days of school, and that was the constant. What we did after school depended on the weather and the time of year. In the fall we’d bike ride or we’d skate in the parking lot which never had a car. It was up the hill from where we lived. The lot was lined into spots, but people preferred to park in front of their houses. We’d skate mostly in the middle as there was sand next to the curb surrounding the lot, and a spill meant a cut, usually a bloody cut from the grit. We’d play crack the whip with all of us in a line holding hands as the front skater moved us in circles. I hated being at the end where the force was the greatest. Ends didn’t last long.

On our bikes, we loved the grit. We’d ride on the sand, hit our brakes and skid to make  an arc on sand. The key was to get your foot on the ground before the bike fell. It took some skill. I seldom fell.

“Venture out at dawn, when the world is bathed in golden-ruby light and is quiet and forgiving.”

May 12, 2017

Today is a damp, chilly day. It must have rained a bit overnight as the streets were wet. The Globe reported this morning that all parts of the state are no longer in drought -condition, not a surprise given the amount of rain we’ve had. A nor’easter is due on Sunday which will bring a deluge. The sun is only a periodic visitor.

In my memory drawers, May is always a warm month. I remember riding my bike to school. I remember wearing only a light jacket. I rode under trees filled with blossoms and on petals fallen to the sidewalk. My bike flew. Spring and a bike ride brought such joy.

I have been getting up far earlier than usual, earlier than my paper delivery. I bring Gracie to the backyard and wait for her on the deck. I take in the morning while I wait. The air smells fresh, sweet. The only sounds are birds’ songs. I am glad for my sweatshirt in the early morning chill.

Gracie gets a treat when we come inside. I get coffee. I watch the news and listen for the drop of the newspapers. First is the thud from my neighbor’s paper hitting the driveway and a few seconds later my papers are delivered. They never sit long outside. My morning always starts with the papers and coffee.

I toasted an English muffin this morning and shared it with Gracie. What she didn’t know was I had hidden two of her pills in the nooks and crannies of the muffin. She scarfed the pieces down in record time. Gracie loves anything with butter and so do I.

I saw a cardinal through my window. Its red feathers stood out against the bare branches of the oak tree right by the deck making him easy to see. I need to fill the feeders. I hate that the cardinal was disappointed.

I turned off my heat, but the house got so cold last night I turned the heat back on this morning. It is still cranking hot air. I’m comfortable and warm.

 

“On the Sixth Day, God created man, the sort of result you often get when you go in to work on a Saturday.”

May 6, 2017

The rain started late yesterday morning.  It was torrential at times including when I was driving to the vets. I could barely see the road. Luckily, though, it stopped just as I got to the parking lot. Gracie and I hurried inside. She is not a fan of heavy rain. It is still raining.

Gracie has been incontinent at night. She has been drinking bowls and bowls of water. Yesterday she managed to be sick twice, on my only rugs. I called the vets so we went in for an afternoon appointment. The vet eliminated an infection and figured it was old age. She gave Gracie pills for the incontinence and a few pills for her occasional dizziness. Last night for the first time in a couple of weeks Gracie made it through the night though she hadn’t had any pills yet. Isn’t that the way! I remember my toothaches always went away when my mother made an appointment at the dentist.

Saturday has always been my favorite day of the week. When I was a kid, it meant Saturday morning TV. It was eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast while sitting on the rug in front of the TV set probably going blind from sitting so close. In winter it was the matinee. In the warmer weather, it was the day to ride my bike all over town.

In my whole life, I never worked on a Saturday. I never did homework, and I never corrected papers when I was teaching. All the weekend chores were saved for Sunday. Saturday was for me.

All my days are Saturdays now. Chores get done whenever. I am horrible at getting my laundry washed and put away upstairs. The other day I did finally wash all the clothes, but some of it is sitting on a chair in the living room waiting to be hauled upstairs and the rest of it is still in the dryer wrinkling by the minute. I can’t imagine how my mother managed to do a wash just about every day on a machine with a giant tub and a wringer and then she had to hang it out to dry. Mothers were superhumans.

Today I have nothing needing to be done though I might just bring the laundry upstairs. I’m not going to get dressed. I’m staying in comfy clothes. A nap is a possibility. It’s Saturday.

“I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!”

January 10, 2017

Last night was bitterly cold. It was 7˚. Everything which had melted froze again. My front step was so icy I was afraid to walk on it. I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn’t. I got in and out of the house without incident. Gracie slides on the last couple of deck steps. They have been de-iced several times as have the front steps. Today is currently 36˚, the predicted low. The high temperature will be 40˚. Tomorrow could hit 50˚. My whole world will melt.

My outside Christmas lights are still connected and glow every night. They are beautiful under the layer of snow. The star on the fence is my favorite. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds, a bright star always shines. When I went out last night early in the evening, I saw many houses still had their nights lit. They looked beautiful.

We have added over 20 minutes of light since the Winter Solstice. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th; the rest of the team reports February 16th. Despite snow and cold, the signs are evident. We will have a spring!!

When I was a kid, I never really took notice of the seasons as much as the events of each season. This stretch from New Year’s Day to February vacation seemed to take forever. Nothing happened. It was as close to a rut as any kid gets. If we wanted to play outside after school, we’d have maybe an hour, maybe less, before it got dark. Putting on layers, boots, hats and mittens seemed far too much work for such a short time. If there was no snow, I’d haul my bike out of the cellar then put it back when I had to go inside the house. That was a lot of work for a short time as it took some wrangling to get the bike out of the cellar because of the concrete wall right across from the cellar door. I had to put the bike on end to get it out of the cellar. In summer I’d leave the bike in the yard, but in winter it went back inside.

My mother used to have to reach up into the arms of our winter coats to pull down our shirtsleeves by the cuffs. She was thrilled when we finally learned to hold on to our cuffs when she’d put on our coats. I was watching TV the other day, and I saw a character hold on to his cuffs when he put on his topcoat. I had to chuckle. His mother must have been thrilled.

It is sad. Tonight President Obama is making his farewell address. I will miss him.

“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

May 10, 2016

Today is a gift. I’m thinking Mother Nature has decided to stop teasing us with winter and has embraced spring. Not a branch moves in the stillness of the morning. The sun is bright and is framed by a blue sky. The birds are singing, and I hear several different songs. My feeders are getting a lot of traffic. It is in the mid 50’s but will get warmer as the day grows older. Tonight will be in the mid 40’s. It is a Cape Cod spring day.

This is the time of year when I’d ride my bike to school. I remember speeding down the hills and feeling chilly from the wind. My jacket would fill with air. The ride was short, probably about ten minutes, all downhill going and uphill returning. It should have been the opposite.

The bike rack was old and wooden. It was under branches from the tree in a yard next to the school fence. It was painted a dark green and had layers of paint. You could see them all when the paint chipped. I never had a lock for my bike. I don’t think anyone did. The bikes weren’t fancy. They had the back pedal brakes. Most had wire baskets. The best part of riding my bike was getting home fast and having more time to play in the afternoon.

The streets all had sand from winter when the sand trucks would come by and spew their sand on the snow to give cars better traction, but this time of year it was the street cleaning trucks which would come by. They had brushes low to the ground and would sweep the sand to the  curbside. A couple of times I skidded in the sand. Sometimes we did what came to be called wheelies. Our bikes would leave circular skid marks. Braking at the right time and place was the key.

The day hasn’t started well. I had an early morning meeting and nearly fell out of bed when the alarm went off. On the way to the bathroom I stepped in cat throw up. I have to go out but not for anything fun. I have to some x-rays done of my back. I’ve decided I deserve a good lunch, my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie for dessert. I definitely earned it this morning.