The Bicycle Incident
Dad. The man, the myth, the legend.
I think we all remember our very first bicycle, probably because it’s usually given to us on a special occasion. I got mine on Christmas. I never expected it, a total surprise. I was eleven years old and up until then I had been riding everyone else’s bikes, all my friends had them.
I always received one gift under the tree each year. My family wasn't very well off. As a side job my father made wooden toys in the basement of the rooming house we lived in and sold them to other families who weren't well off. I felt sorry for their children. My usual Christmas gift each year was one of his wooden projects. My friends would always tease me about my lame toys.
I was given a wagon one year that my father made out of wood with his own hands. The wheels weren't quite round but they worked real well in the snow so I used it as a sled. It gave my friends a good laugh.
My father spent a lot of his spare time behind large buildings in search of….anything. He was rummaging behind an old Safeway Super Market a few days before Christmas when he came upon one of the markets older delivery bikes. It wasn't in very good shape but he saw potential and knew he could fix it. He went in the market to inquire about the bike and see if he could buy it. He made the deal and brought the bike home.
The basket in front of the bike was big enough to hold two grown adults comfortably. The bike weighed almost as much as a small car. It had huge tires and a kick stand shaped like a triangle that flipped down from the rear fender. Truly a unique bike my father thought. He fixed the broken chain and flat tire and added some paint to the rusty spots on the fenders.
On Christmas morning there it sat next to our Christmas tree. It was the biggest bicycle I had ever seen. I bet none of your friends have anything like that, my father boasted, and you’ll only need to work at the super market three weekends to pay it off. I should have seen that coming.
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©2012 Lee Zett