Friday, December 9, 2011

The Bicycle

When I first moved to Bryant, Arkansas, I had to switch family doctors.  After several recommendations, I picked a friendly, knowledgeable doctor whose wife was our children’s pediatrician.  After the first visit, we realized that the doctor lived on the same street as my parents.  In fact they were only two houses down. 
When the doctor realized who my father was, he kept wanting to discuss my dad.  More specifically, he wanted to talk about my dad’s physical fitness regime.  For several visits, the discussion would go something like this:
“Saw your dad riding his bicycle yesterday.” 
“Oh,  good.”
“Yep, he rides his bike every day, rain or shine.”
“He sure does.”
“I mean, he is always on his bicycle.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” 
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Silence.  I mean, there comes a point when talking to your doctor about your dad’s bicycle riding seems a little strange.
Until you see the bicycle.  Pictures will be coming, I promise. I’m not sure words will do this justice, but I’m going to try.
It starts out innocently enough.  A sturdy ten-speed bike.   Imagine a boom box duct taped to the front of the handlebars.  I’m not talking MP3 player or walkman, but an honest to goodness radio strapped with large amounts of duct tape.  I even gave the man an MP3 player for Christmas one year, but apparently the radio fits his needs better.  He plays the radio loudly (no headphones) while riding around the neighborhood.  Because the sun sets so early, he also has a flashlight duct taped to one of the handlebars.  He was never in the boy scouts but he sure should have been.  And finally, for effect, when it is raining, he cuts slits into garbage bags to wear as a poncho.  The man has a poncho.  I’ve seen it in the closet.    
There would have been a point in time that I would have shrunk in horror imagining my dad in this getup.  Now I laugh and thank God for him.  My dad will never be known as someone trying to conform.  I have inherited some of that from him, and I am thankful for it. 

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