Down East 2013 ©
Well, summer’s in full swing here in Mahoosuc Mills. You can tell by the number of out of state plates on the cars, passengers lookin’ all around. The American Flags are lined up along Main Street ready for our July 4th celebration.
And every weekend there are yard sales galore! Me and my niece Caitlin were out doin’ the rounds a couple of Saturdays back. We’re at Sandy LaBranche’s, and I’d just spied a set of frog prince and princess salt and pepper shakers, when I hear Caitlin callin’ me from the other side of the driveway.
“Aunt Ida, come check this out!”
So with the salt and pepper shakers in hand, I wander over. “What do you want to show me? And it can’t be that bicycle.”
“Oh, come on. You’re always tellin’ me how you’re trying to be more active. Zumba classes have stopped for the summer. The universe put this Columbia here just for you.”
“Caitlin, I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a kid. I could fall and break a hip!”
“Now what is it you’re always saying? ‘Tryin’ new things keeps you young?’”
“You interested in the bike, Ida?” It was Sandy, comin’ over to work the sale.
“Oh, I don’t know, Sandy. It’s been awhile….”
“Listen, Doug and I just got new ones, so I don’t need this anymore. It’s in great shape, too. You and I are about the same size. Twenty bucks and it’s yours.”
I tried the bell on the handlebars. “Will you throw in the salt and pepper shakers?”
On the way home, we stop to Pop’s Bike Shop so I can get a helmet and some padded underwear (I drew the line at bike shorts). Oh, and them little bike gloves, which are kind of cute. They’re red, so they match my helmet. All told, my twenty dollar bike is toppin’ out at close to a hundred bucks, what with all the accessories. So now I kind of feel obligated to ride it.
You know that sayin’, “It’s just like ridin’ a bike?” Well, it turns out, that’s not quite true. Took me awhile to get the hang of it again. What’s up with that? I’m thinkin’? I rode over to Pops, and he adjusted the seat for me.
“Your center of gravity has shifted since I were a kid, Ida.”
“Pops, you don’t know the half of it!”
“You should be fine now. This is a nice little bike.”
I’m nothin’ if not stubborn. So I stuck with it, and I’m proud to say I’ve progressed to the point where I can at least ride around the neighborhood. Can’t stand up and pedal, though. That’s an advanced maneuver!
So’s makin’ them fancy hand signals. I can’t really take my hands off the handle bars. (Thank goodness I can reach the bike bell with my thumb, though. Give pedestrians fair warnin’.) I try to communicate with drivers telepathically, noddin’ my head and dartin’ my eyes in the direction I’m turnin’.
Despite the learnin’ curve, I’m really likin’ my bike. The other day I’m out ridin, the sun’s shinin’. I pass Pearl Plaisted’s garden, and boy, it smells great. And you know what? I kind of feel like a kid again.
Then, whoosh! This young gal just whizzes by me, all bent over, with those drop handlebars and dudded out in full bikin’ gear with the brand names all over.
I’m thinking, Well, maybe the reason she’s goin’ so fast is ‘cause she’s got sponsorship. Maybe I should get me some sponsorship. How about Depends? This bike underwear makes me feel like I have diapers on, so that’s not much a of stretch!
Well, that got me to giggling so hard, I almost fell off my bike! Concentrate, Ida, concentrate!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!