Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The Best Christmas Gift Ever
There's not a soul who doesn't wonder why that ratty old bike is still in my possession unless it's my Dad who somehow has been notified out there in Hell that I've got it hanging ingloriously from the rafters over my little beauty of a car Carl gave me as a consolation prize for retiring. (Actually I doubt Dad's really in Hell. He probably just likes to visit some of his friends over there from time to time.)
I was seven years old, so that makes it sixty years ago, when I got it. It was that rotten, lousy winter when the snow on the ground met the snow on the roof. My parents had told me I couldn't have a big two-wheeler until my eighth birthday which wasn't until May so I expected nothing so glorious as that bike.
And there it was: My beautiful blue bike, serial number EO44481, sitting under the tree. I was astounded with joy.
The snow was way past the axle and yet I rode it around the block at 686 N. 8th East in Provo, Utah, 75,000 times that day. I loved that bike. I still love that bike.
I rode it until it looks like it does today, until I finally got my Driver's License. I even rode it after that. It had one speed, fat tires, could take three pounds off you in a half-hour ride and has more memories for me than anything else I have ever possessed. Except I was not the one that lost the handlebars. Carl did that I'll bet.
Dad kept it in his basement until I was middle-aged and I was too embarrassed to let him store it any longer. I've kept it ever since. I think he kept it because it was the best gift he ever gave anyone. It has to have been. He knew a good thing when he saw it whizzing around the block.
I think I'll insist that bike be buried with me. that's how much I love it. Right on top of the casket. Laid with gentle care, of course. No tossing for it.