Saturday, December 24, 2011


A mid 50's Firestone Bike

 I was down in the old barn, looking for a gas can the other day at my Mama's house. In the half light, something caught my eye in the far corner of the barn. Amongst the old collection of 15" and 19" wheels and rotted tires from my brothers 1954 pink and white Ford, and my cool "A" Model Ford, was a bike frame. I immediately knew what it was.

My brothers old Firestone bike frame, blue and white...and on the wall were the rims to MY old Firestone bike, minus the tires. I knew they were mine 'cause of the black pin stripe on the rims.  Seeing those bike parts brought back a Christmas memory.

Bob had leaned to ride a bike that summer; there was only one bike on the place, and that was mine. MY bike was old when God made dirt. but it didn't have the optional rock wheels. It was a Walco, from a chain store of the same name, that went out of business long before I was even born. Daddy and Perk "threw " a paint job on it, and presented it to me for Christmas when I was about 5 or 6.

I learned to ride on a gravel driveway...Daddy held me up till I got both feet on the pedals and gave me a push down the hill, hollering "PEDAL"! I did pretty well till I got to the part about STOP, and didn't. The bike did. I had my first of many physics lessons taught to me by my bicycles. This one was on "equal and opposite reactions". Mama wasn't happy about my tearing out her Lobelia bush before stopping. I wasn't real happy about the contusions. Daddy thought it a real good effort for the first time, and insisted that I try it again, and again, and again, 'till the landscaping was trash and I was black and blue all over. But I learned to ride. That's not what I came to tell you about.

The heated arguments about who was riding the bike, and my coming home and finding Bob gone on MY bike led  "them" to talking about getting Bob a bike.  I sorta' heard 'em talking about it around Thanksgiving. That was fine by me; it'll keep Bob off my bike.

On Christmas morning we got up early, as usual, and I walked in the living and there were two bikes, a blue and white girls bike, and black and cream boy's bike. I didn't know they were getting my sister a bike. Well, Daddy gets up and we have to wait for him to start the fire, and Mama has to put on the coffee, and it takes them FOREVER to get ready for Christmas present opening.

Finally, Daddy takes his place and, of course, Bob gets his bike, the blue and white GIRLS bike. The other one was mine. I have never been so surprised in my life! A brand new black and cream Firestone bike. Woo Wee we was in high cotton, now!

Why did Bob get a girls bike? "Santa" decided his legs were so short he couldn't reach the pedals on a regular 26" boy's bike. My sister took full advantage; if Bob couldn't sit on the seat and pedal, she would sit on the seat and he could pedal her ...and he did, like a dutiful Rickshaw driver, for a couple years. Sally only learned to ride a bike in college.

That bicycle was the best. I had it for years. I really don't know what ever happened to it, but I did find the two rims hanging on the wall of the old barn. those rims had about half a million miles on 'em, I'd say.

Thanks, Santa

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