Order Your Copy of "Along Spain Creek - Volume One"

My first book, Along Spain Creek - Volume One,
is now available for advanced purchase!
The book will be personalized with the sentiments
you request and my signature.
The retail price is $19.99 plus $1.01
to help defray shipping costs.
You can make a purchase by credit or debit card,
or PayPal by clicking on the Add to Cart button below.

Orders for this advance sale must be received by January 13th.

Complete the order form, to include the personalization
which you want to appear in the front of the book.

For additional copies of the book, click on Add to Cart
and complete the order form and personalization message
for each additional copy.

To view your order information, click on View Cart.
Please check your order for accuracy
of shipping information, and the correct spelling of
name(s) for personalization.

You then choose a way to pay: credit card, debit card,
or via a PayPal account.

For the PayPal option, click at the top of the order page.

For ordering via credit or debit card,
go to the bottom of the order page,
click on Don't have a PayPal account,
and fill in the information for your credit/debit card.

Your support is greatly appreciated!



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Friday, December 10, 2010

When I Learned to Ride A Bike

My folks bought me a bicycle even before I knew how to ride one.  It was 1953, and I was about 8 years old.  It was a beautiful bicycle - a theme bike.  I was such a fan of the television series "Hopalong Cassidy," starring William Boyd, that they bought me a "Hopalong Cassidy" bike.  It was a sleek black color, with white trim and accessories, and white sidewall tires.  There were white streamers hanging from the handlebars.   There were two leather holsters on the support bar, complete with operating cap pistols.

They rolled the bike to the end of Billy Curl's driveway, where a dirt road led into a corn field.  There was quite a bit of distance between the graveled drive and where the dirt trail ended at the field, and it was covered mostly with grass.

Putt, my stepfather, held the bicycle while I mounted the seat and placed my feet on the peddles for the first time.  He gave me a running push, followed by a quick shove and release.  The bike carried on for just a few feet before I lost my balance completely and crassed, my butt landing on the bike's rear tire sprocket bolt.  It hurt like hell!  And, the whole episode surprised and disappointed me, as well as the family members who had watched it.

I dusted myself off, lifted up the bike, and pushed it back to the starting point, a bit humiliated.  Three more times Putt and I tried the process, all three times ending in even worse crashes.  By this time, hot tears were welling in my eyes.  Family members were taunting me for my failures.  Disgusted with my inability to master such a simple task as riding a bicycle, they turned and walked away, back toward the house.  I was left alone, humiliated, bruised and battered.  But, I resolved to ride that damn bicycle even if it killed me!

By the time I got back to the starting point, there was no one left to watch me.  I steadied the bike, mounted, and gaining my balance pedalled for all I was worth.  I made it off the gravel, onto the dirt road, and all the way to the corn field.  It wasn't a picturesque ride as I wobbled and swayed side to side, and it took me a few seconds to learn how to use the bike's brakes without falling down, but I did it!

I was proud of myself!  I walked  the bike back to the starting point, put down the kickstand to hold it up, and went to fetch some witnesses for my next ride.

They came back outside reluctantly, sure they would see yet another castastrophe.  Instead, I got on the bike, set the sprocket to turning, and rode the bike to the end of the trail and back again, passing the spectators on my return trip, and continuing on to the gravel driveway until I reached the hardpacked asphalt of Sycamore Street.  I heard the cheering ringing in my ears, and the sound was oh, so very sweet!

That beautiful bike was my "set of wheels" for the next few years, until my long, skinny legs outgrew it.  By that time, I was a paperboy distributing the daily "Columbus Dispatch."  The bike passed on to my sister, Cheryl, a little bit worse for wear after being "ridden hard and put away wet" for a number of years.  Most of the white accessories were gone, the holsters had long before lost their luster (and cap pistols), the white streamers no longer dangled from the handlebars.  "Hoppy" was no longer to be seen on television, and I had moved on in the world - the proud owner of a brand, new, chrome-studded, shiny full-sized Schwinn, which I purchased with money saved from my paper route.  And therein lies a story for another time.