In honor of Father’s Day, here is an early memory of my Dad. This is how I remember it, which of course, may or may not be as my Dad does.
My First Wheels
As my Dad proudly came around the house with my first set of wheels, my elation quickly turned to disappointment. I had hoped for a brand new bicycle, instead he pushed along an obviously well used CCM bike.
The color of the bike was the biggest disappointment. Dried blood reddish-brown was not an attractive color in my opinion. The seat was tattered and well-worn. Uncertain if it was part of his original plan, or if he sensed my disappointment, my Dad quickly said, “I will paint the bike and get a new seat for it. It will look like brand-new!” I had my doubts, but tried to appear excited as I did not want to hurt my Dad’s feelings.
Within the week my Dad had made good on his promise. He painted the bike a beautiful medium Wedgewood blue color, and installed a new white seat. Without consulting me, he had accessorized the bike with a metal wire basket on the front. Dad lowered the seat and handlebars as low as they could go, so I could begin my bike riding lessons up and down the sidewalk on our block. At first Dad helped steady the back of the bike holding on to the rear of the seat, but soon as I was off on my own, my Dad hollering instructions from behind me.
After hitting the neighbour’s concrete retaining wall a few times as I swerved back and forth, I learned to keep my hands steady on the handlebars and eyes focused straight ahead. A couple more days of picking myself up off the cement sidewalk to get band-aids on my already scabby knees and I was a pro!
Getting that bicycle was the beginning of independence and freedom for me! Living in a small town certainly had its advantages, as I was soon allowed to ride my bike all about town, including to the public library every Saturday. I had fears I would be subject to ridicule by the neighbour kids for having a basket on my bike, however once I realized how many Nancy Drew library books I could fit in the basket I did not care.