I hopped out of bed, brushing past my little sister, and as I rounded the corner I stopped dead in my tracks. There it was, standing tall and proud next to the Christmas tree with its bright red color and shiny spokes. Along with the gears, hand brakes and battery operated light, it was a magnificent bicycle, one I had only dreamed about.
My English racer and I made our public debut a couple of days later, and it was the envy of the neighborhood. I remember thinking, as I came gliding down the hill with the cold winter wind in my hair.
My bicycle got me out of the house and got me moving just as fast as I could go. Few things were as much fun as riding along on wheels - effortlessly swooping, dipping, and seeing the world slip by as you move on. And no matter how prepared I thought I was, the road is always hard, the bumps always wicked, and foolishness not advised.
Late one afternoon as the fading light was throwing long shadows across the road, I had a small audience of kids, bundled up in mittens and coats, that I was performing for.
I was reluctantly heeding the command in my head that told me not to let go of the handle bars, but in the next instant, with a gasp, I let go. With my arms outstretched and my head held high, I was soaring down the hill. I was astonished at my own bravery, but suddenly chills ran down my spine and sweat popped out on my forehead, as I noticed something up ahead in the road. I valiantly attempted to maneuver around it, but to no avail. No longer gravity bound, I remember spiraling up in the endless sky, and the next thing I knew, I was laying motionless in the road.
Numb, I wanted to scream for someone, but the words caught in my throat as I realized I was alive. And to my surprise my friends couldn't contain their new found respect for me.
As I tried to appear undaunted by the fact that my knees and elbows were almost torn off, I struggled to my feet. Believing myself to be immortal, I realized I had impressed my friends even more; not because I had stayed on the bike, but because I had fell off.
We had a few good years together after that memorable day. But as all good things... must come to an end that was the wa of my English racer. It was a pitiful sight before it finally took it's last breath, and after an emotional farewell, it was with fond memories that I laid to rest my bright red bicycle with the shiny spokes.
Why does a kid love a bike you might ask. It's liberation and independence, your first set of wheels. A bike gives you freedom to roam, without rules and without adults. What more could you ask for when you're 10 years old.
Did you know:
40 years ago this month the TV series “Star Trek” premiered on NBC.
32 years ago President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon.
And 12 years ago a USAir Boeing 737 crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Pittsburgh International Airport killing all 132 people on board.
Visit a nearby animal shelter or refuge soon. Watching the dogs and cats frolic will put a smile on anyone's face. Who knows? You might even go home with a new four-legged family member.
The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy just what you have.