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Bash, Crash and Road Rash

July 15, 2013

Times were simpler back in 1962. Kid’s spent their birthdays with their families. There were no annual birthday bashes at rented venues and no theme parties with dozens of children…not in our world.

My brothers and I got to have one big birthday party when we turned six. We could invite our friends from school and church. The party was held at our house, and we thought it was a pretty big deal.

1962 was my year. I was soooo excited!

The day of my party finally arrived. I stood at the door wearing my best dress, white lace-trimmed anklets and black patent leather shoes. I greeted my guests as they arrived and politely thanked them for coming.

First, we played a few games, then I opened my gifts, and finally, we sat at a long table in the living room and ate blue frosted angel food cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Finally, the party drew to a close and bid my friends good-bye, thanking them once again for coming.

Dad came home from work and he and mom told me that my birthday present was hidden in the yard. My brothers and I spilled out the door, followed by my parents.

I wandered around the yard, hearing my family chant ‘cold…cold, colder,‘ as I ventured in the wrong direction. Then, I was rewarded with ‘warm…warmer…HOT,‘ as I stepped in front of our 1960 Plymouth Savoy.

And there it was: the most beautiful two-wheeled bike I‘d ever seen…a brand new pink and white Schwinn with chrome fenders. Pink streamers were attached to the hand grips and I could just imagine them dancing in the breeze as I rode down the driveway.

I loved my new bike!

Spring turned to summer and I gained both skill and experience on my new bike. My brother and I took increasingly longer bike rides around the neighborhood. We rode down the road to the Co-op store on errands for mom, and then on to our cousin’s home a little further down.

One day, my brother, three years my senior, thought we should ride to the neighbors across the road and part way down the hill, even though mom specifically told us not to cross the highway. But we didn’t listen. The thrill of riding just a little beyond our limits tugged at our imaginations…

There wasn’t much traffic during the day, so we were sure we’d be fine. And Darrell said mom would never know if we kept our mouths shut…

We made it across the highway easily enough, and stood at the end of the Wilson’s driveway. It was pretty steep and looked really scary. I was afraid…I dismounted my bike and started walking it down the hill.

Darrell began to tease me…‘Sissy…chicken! He taunted while clucking at me. ‘Big girl with a big bike can’t ride down a little-bitty hill…CHICKEN. Chicken!‘

When that didn’t work, Darrell tried coaxing me. ‘You can do it,’ he said encouragingly. And finally, I caved to the pressure, his chants of ‘chicken’ ringing in my ears.

I wobbled from side to side and after a riding a few yards, my foot slipped off the peddle. I did a face plant on the steepest part of the driveway and skidded in the gravel…face first.

My new bike suffered a scratch in the front fender and the streamers got torn off on one handle bar.

I was a mess…my chin, cheeks, and forehead were scraped and bleeding. Gravel was embedded in what little skin I had left. I began to cry and the salt in my tears stung as it oozed into my wounds.

Darrell debated whether we should ask Mrs. Wilson for help or walk our bikes all the way back home. I was way beyond rational thought…I just wanted to go home. After a few minutes, he agreed…telling me to let him do all the talking once we got there.

When we arrived, Mom looked at me, then with hands firmly planted on her hips, and using her most authoritative tone, she demanded that Darrell explain. 

He donned his best, most angelic facial expression, extended his arms, palms up, and shrugged his shoulders, then said that I fell as we turned around on the shoulder of the road.

With a finger pointed directly at his chest, she ordered, ‘You wait here…I’m not finished with you,’ as she whisked me off to the bathroom and the first aid kit.

She hoisted me up on the counter next to the sink. Then, she shut the door and retrieved the tweezers, band-aids, and ointment.

She carefully plucked the gravel from my face, beginning with the larger bits, then gently blotted my wounds with a cool wash cloth. She talked softly throughout the procedure, and when I was calmer, she quietly asked for my version of the events.

I froze…sure she could see the guilt and fear in my eyes. ’Did you go to Wilson’s? Is that where you fell?’

I erupted in a whole new round of bawling, confirming her suspicions.

As punishment, Darrell’s bike was padlocked to the post in the garage for a few weeks. My parents took it a little easier on me…they accepted my road rash as part of my consequences for disobeying mom. I could still ride my bike, but I had to stay in the yard.

It wasn’t much fun riding all by myself, so I left my bike in the garage most of the time, parked next to Darrell’s.




From → Growing Pains

One Comment
  1. Greg Frosig permalink

    Another enjoyable blog story! I’ll have to show you my road rash scar next time I see you. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

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