by Sheila Packa
I learned to ride
the two wheel bicycle
with my father.
He oiled the chain
clothes-pinned playing cards
to the spokes, put on the basket
to carry my lunch.
By his side, I learned balance
and took on speed
centered behind the wide
handlebars, my hands
on the white grips
my feet pedaling.
One moment he was
holding me up
and the next moment
although I didn’t know it
he had let go.
When I wobbled, suddenly
afraid, he yelled keep going—
Beneath the trees in the driveway
the distance increasing between us
I eventually rode until he was out of sight.
I counted on him.
That he could hold me was a given
that he could release me was a gift.
“Not Forgotten” by Sheila Packa, from Cloud Birds. © Wildwood River Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission.
Grabbed from: The Writer’s Almanac. May 18, 2011.
I dedicate this poem to my daughters, Katie and Clara. The older of the two (Katie) can ride without training wheels and has exhibited a small hint of what the poem above describes. The younger of the two (Clara) will probably learn to ride without training wheels this summer. I think she is a bit young, but she is committed to doing what her sister does.
Will I let them race bikes in a few years. Not a chance. No way.
But, seriously folks, what choice do I really have in the matter?
Next thought…should I get the new super-awesome saddle with carbon-braided rails, or should I save my money for when my daughters ask me to buy them carbon-braided rail saddles?
Peace and end-of-semester grease.
Should I mention that I raced in a real bike race last week? More later.