De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


Not-So-Easy Rider

The big status symbol when I was a kid was a bicycle. Roller skates were fine, but "big kids" had bikes. I can't even remember when I first started wanting one, but I didn't get one until the Christmas before I turned 12. My Dad took me over to Sears and bought me The Best Bike In The World. By then, I had learned to ride, I just didn't have one of my own to ride.

A couple of years later, he wanted to get my sister a bike, but the only thing he could come up with was a used three-speed, known as an "English racer". It was a nice enough bike, just not fit for a girl. So, what he proposed was that I give my bike to my sister and take the 3-speed.

No dice. He was definitely fighting an uphill battle, trying to get me to give up that bike. He told me in great detail all about how superior the 3-speed was compared to the one I already had. I still didn't budge. Finally, in exasperation, he asked why I wasn't willing to give up that bike.

"Because you bought it for me."

All these years later, I think I can appreciate my Dad's reaction to that. Somehow, though, he prevailed upon me to accept the deal, and the 3-speed was actually a pretty decent bike. But I never forgot the other one.

Unfortunately, my sister got into a disagreement with a fence over who had the right of way, and the bike was history. I never really got over that.

What I actually started to write about was the process of learning to ride.

Back in the early '70s, I heard a guy speak at Church, and he was comparing the process of finding one's path in life to the process of learning how to ride a bicycle. As I listened, it sounded like he had been spying on me. He talked about how people get on a bike and try to ride it, but they're so worried about avoiding the glass in the street, or the potholes, or the vehicle parked in the way, that they lose track of where they're headed.

So it was when my best friend let me use his bike to learn how to ride. We started out in the alley out back of my house. I got on while he and my older sister held onto the bike. They held on long enough for me to get rolling, then let go. Half-terrified, I tried to steer the bike down the alley, all the while trying to avoid a small pile of broken glass on the right side, a pothole in the middle, an overgrown hedge on the left side, and a panel truck farther down.

Well, I made it as far as the truck, which I sideswiped. Not bad for a first outing, but I had a long ways to go. (It was only about 100 yards total.) Obviously, I survived, but just barely.

The point of the man's talk, though, was that one should pick one's path -- a path not encumbered by hazards -- and then simply travel that path. Then you don't have to worry about the hazards.

Over time, I've pretty much learned to do that.


At 01:52, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I think we all choose our own path, but there are times when the Lord places obstacles in our way. WE have to learn to navigate around them to get where we are going. Good story.


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