From the lodge……Hello again, this one is pretty weird. At least I have warned you.
I was late getting to bed Tuesday morning; it was about 1:30 a.m. June 21st. I had a bit of trouble going to sleep but finally drifted off. Somewhere in dreamland I was sitting on a bench waiting for a bus to come – this is not unusual for me since I never learned to drive but I was a whiz on riding buses everywhere. As I sat waiting I was conscious of someone taking a seat beside me but I was in my own little world until a voice said, “I am your genie and I want you to tell me the one thing you can’t do anymore that you really wish you could.”
As I turned to look at my bench friend, I was aware I could not see a person; it was as if I was looking through a flowing white dress with no actual body in it. Now don’t you think that would have been enough to space you out? It did not seem strange as I responded just like it was normal to have an apparition sitting next to you and talking to you. She said “I have to leave but I will be right back to get your answer” and with a strong swirl of wind she was gone. Almost in the next breath she was back and wanting my answer.
Still acting as if this was not an unusual occurrence, I proceeded to tell her that the one thing I missed the most was riding my bicycle and I often wished I could get my Sears Special out of the coal shed and ride forever. My bicycle was blue with balloon tires and I named her Blue Streak.
Blue Streak and I became one and the same; God I loved that bike. I loved to ride as fast as the wind and as reckless as a silly ass. I once raced a taxi cab and lost but had the scar from that episode until many years later, when it, too, faded away. But back then the pure joy of Blue Streak and me against the world made even the stupid things exciting.
I had a wonderful biking partner, my uncle Raymond, who was an avid biker until he was far into his seventies. We had so many bike expeditions to all parts of the city and sometimes beyond. Every trip was a history lesson for me. We made all the parks and he taught me the names of all the trees. We made the areas by the river after the ’37 flood so I could learn about soil erosion and see the bodies of the dead fish that washed ashore and never made it back when the river returned to its banks. We biked down dirt roads to the river’s edge where river people would abandon their homes and fishing shacks when the Ohio flexed her muscles and drove them away, only to return as quick as the Ohio decided to continue her trip to the Mississippi. River people are a determined lot. They don’t give in to adversity easily and they don’t cotton too well to strangers who come gawking down their dirt roads. They don’t suffer fools either, as when the silly girl on the blue bike asked an old dust covered gentleman “Why are all those fish dead?” to which he replied “Oh, they just overstayed their welcome…” at which time, Uncle Raymond thought we had also.
Many times we would take shortcuts through alleyways and Uncle Raymond would see a toaster or radio or something that had been discarded in the garbage. He would stop and pick it up, put it in his bike basket or mine and when we arrived back home, we would go to his workshop in his basement and he would proceed to show me how to take the appliance apart, fix it, and put it back together again.
I hope you can understand why my Uncle Raymond was my mentor, my friend and my substitute father since I never knew my real father. I saw him only a few times in my life and one of those times was when he passed away. It was Uncle Raymond who went with me and taught me another lesson. He said just because he did not respect you does not give you the right to disrespect him; he was your father. As we were leaving the funeral home I asked him why he didn’t go up and see him, to which he replied “He was a no good skunk, honey.”
I’ll leave it at that, as we got on our bikes and rode away, Uncle Raymond and his very old bicycle and me on my beloved Blue Streak. I was back in my element, the world was ahead of me and I was aching for it to come. I just knew it held all kinds of wonderful challenges and I was ready. Little did I know the world ahead for me would be so full of magic and excitement.
I never saw my bench partner again but I would have loved to have thanked her for allowing me those precious moments on my $39.00 Blue Streak from Sears.
Just as a thought, The morning this all happened in my dream, was the 70th anniversary of my mothers death! Do you suppose??
Till later,the Raving Pundit says Be Happy!