Blog Your Blessings: Sears and Roebuck
This week's blessing is Sears & Roebuck. Sears & Roebuck 25 or so years ago, when a hunter green "Free Spirit" touring bike advertised in its catalogue became a reality under my Christmas tree, a gift from my parents.
I never rode the thing. Instead, it hung in my parents' garage and endured the extremes of hot and cold by which Connecticut people measure time. Then it made its way to their garage on Topsail Island, North Carolina. Last week, I brought the bicycle pump so dad could breathe new life into those old though never used tires. That he did, and Adella spent her evenings coasting up and down the bike path along the North Shore Road.
That is, she rode the thing after several days of pure reluctance followed up with a clear and steady "no thanks" when I asked her if she wanted to give it ago. I don't know what changed her mind, exactly, though I know when it did: the evening after we got caught in a rip tide and found ourselves facing wall after all of relentless and powerful water. "Don't take my daughter," I thought as I watched the water overwhelm her little body and she swam for her life. I was able to push her in now and again and to swim her in, but she did the lion's share of the muscle work. She saved herself. She didn't panic. She found her feet a lifetime later.
Silently, we walked back to our towels so she could sit down and have some fresh water. "That scare you?" I asked. "Yeah." She kept walking. "Me, too," I said.
Later that night cycling on a bike that's got the gear shift in a weird place, brakes that are a little tight, and a seat that's a little high ain't nothing to putting your 70 lbs. up against the Atlantic and surviving.
Next day, she was anxious to get out in the water again. I couldn't move fast enough. "You look bored," I said as the waves whacked us in the knees over and over again. "I am. I want to go out there." She pointed so I'd understand. There is the place that rocks deep and sure before it comes to shore and breaks. I wanted to be there, too. "Let's go, kid."
On her bike ride on our last night in Topsail, she turned to me and grinned: "You want to learn how again?" Oh no. "Learn how what?" Yeah, mom. "To ride. You taught me to scull, I'll teach you to ride.
"You did what I told you to do in the water the other day?"
I do try her patience. "Yes, mom!"
So I got on the bike. And I didn't fall off.
What the Sears people make possible. Amen.