Happy Father’s day! I hope all you great dads out there have a fun-filled day. From the time we were small, and even today, my dad has always been there for my sister and me. To honor my dad, I decided to share a story that I vividly remember all these years later–far too many years to type the number here. This happened during the spring when I was in third grade. My bike was a 70s style 20″ Huffy complete with a banana seat. My dad taught me to ride on it. I loved this bike! Dad, thank you for making it last for well over a decade of very hard use.
Going On A Bike Ride
After church, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents crowded into our small house for lunch. After feasting on a wonderful meal, the adults settled in for a visit. Visit was code for the adults talking about people my cousins and I had never met–boring!
The beautiful sunny spring day made it impossible to sit still. My older cousin, Mike, had his bike with him, I don’t remember why. When our younger cousins fell asleep my dad took Mike, me, and my sister for a bike ride to Lion’s park. Mike and I rode our own bikes, but my sister rode in a special seat mounted over the rear wheel of my dad’s bike. Big kid status rocked!
Lions Park Duck Pond
Lions park was a great place. A creek flowed through the middle of the park which was fun to wade in the shallow water on hot days. There were playground toys, which I loved, on both sides of the creek. And finally, at the back edge of the park there was a duck pond encircled by a sidewalk. My cousin was four years older than me and way too cool to play on the toys so we decided to ride in circles around the duck pond.
Because it rained the day before, the duck pond and creek were fuller than normal. The mommy and baby ducks didn’t seem to mind, they swam happily around the pond looking for food. A lot of people were at the park taking advantage of the beautiful day.
Swimming With Ducks
We’d been riding around and around the pond for a long time when disaster struck. A herd of slow-moving old people clogged the sidewalk forcing me to ride into the grass to go around them through a very large, slimy, mud puddle. I rode slowly so I wouldn’t splash anyone. I was almost in the clear when another kid zoomed past me. To avoid him I bounced on the sidewalk, narrowly missing an adult, who shouted something about out-of-control kids. My mud covered tires lost traction on the concrete. I fought to regain my balance, and the back tire regained traction just as the sidewalk made a turn to the right. Before a half-second passed I was flying out over the water.
I clung to the handlebars. I was a good swimmer, but my bike wasn’t. Together we sank beneath the greenish brown water. I frantically tried to pull my bike off the bottom, but thick gooey muck clutched stubbornly to it. My hands grasped the handlebars as I looked up, the water was a strange green and dozens of bubbles rose to the surface. I held my breath as long as I could before abandoning my bike. I just broke the surface when someone grabbed my shirt and pulled me back to the shore and set me on the sidewalk. Dad stood knee-deep in water and stared at me.
I began to cry.
“Are you hurt?” Dad asked worriedly.
“No, my bike is drowning! Save my bike!” I yelled through my tears.
Dad waded waist deep into the water. After a few seconds of searching, he found my bike and pulled it out of the muck. He carried it to where I sat on the sidewalk and carefully laid it down. Dad crawled out of the pond while I inspected the bike for damage, besides being covered in brown and green muck it seemed OK. I stopped crying. My bike didn’t drown!
Dad stood the bike up, he walked it and me over to a nearby tree where Mike stood tightly holding my sister’s hand. My bike and I dripped, my cousin laughed, my sister cried. Dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, “What’s important is that you’re OK. The bike will be fine. Come on, let’s head home.”
When we got home I snuck through the back of the house to the bathroom; I’d been ordered to take a bath. Embarrassed, because the whole family knew I’d plunged into the duck pond, I hid in my room until everyone went home.
Dad’s Bike Repair Shop
The next day Dad took me out to the back porch. Caked with a thick layer of dried and cracked mud my bike sat next to his toolbox, rags, and some empty butter containers. “We’re going to take your bike apart and clean it up,” he said. “It’ll be as good as new.”
Together we dismantled the bike until every single part was laid out on an old bed sheet. There were dozens of little pieces. “Dad, will you remember where everything goes?” I asked.
With a laugh, he replied, “Sure I will. Don’t worry.” We cleaned all the pieces in soapy water, then greased or oiled the ones that needed it. He carefully reassembled each part until my bike leaned on its kickstand, its black and yellow paint gleaming in the afternoon sun. I would never have guessed that just yesterday my bike had almost drowned. I gave Dad a huge bear hug.
I never did get in trouble for riding into the pond. Dad was just thrilled that I didn’t get hurt, he never once complained while he lovingly cleaned and fixed my wonderful bike. On Father’s day I remember all the things Dad has done for me over the years.
Thank you, Dad, I love you.
What are some of your favorite memories? Share them in the comments below.