Friday, December 19, 2008

the best present ever

There have been a bunch of commercials lately doing a take on the "best present ever" idea. They show kids getting their Atari, a pony, the barbie beach house and then fast forward to today where their spouse or significant other presents them with a Lexus. Maybe funny the first time, but the second time? Shoddy. I don't care how much you want a Lexus. NOTHING compares to that BEST PRESENT EVER when you were a kid.

My best present ever was the Christmas I was 7 years old. Santa Claus brought me a two wheeled bike!!! It was beautiful. It was a blue Schwinn with a flowered banana seat and a white basket that had plastic flowers on the front. It had white hand grips with streamers coming out the ends. In my stocking, I got little colored plastic straws that you put on the spokes of the wheels. I was a very precise child. I divided the straws into colors, decided on a pattern, and laid the straws out so I could put them on the spokes in that precise order. There were more straws than there were spokes, so I could put a second straw on every seventh spoke. (Because I was seven years old) This took me the better part of December 26th. Which was a good thing, because it would be months before I could actually ride the thing outside.

I rode that bike every chance I got all spring and summer. It was the 70's, so it was not unusual to let a seven year old take off on a bike for hours on end with her friends. (In reality, I couldn't go past the hydrant half way down Bruce road, the empty lot on Montgomery Drive, or Kristen's house on Fulton Street. But it seemed like I had the run of the land) Shell's bike had a cool flag, Nikki's bike had sparkly pinwheel thingies on the handlebars, but my bike was the best. It had the best banana seat and I could carry stuff in my basket.

I don't think I've ever received a present since that gave me so many hours of joy. Or such a sense of freedom. From the endless hours learning to ride a two wheeler in the spring, to the races we had in the summer, to the countless scraped elbows and knees from falling off the bike; it was like I had been give a mem0ry-maker instead of just a thing.

This summer, I bought myself a bike for triathlons. I love my new bike. I feel like a little kid again when I ride it. But as awesome as my super lite ,carbon fiber, easy shift bike is now, it pales in comparison to my Schwinn. It was the best present ever. Thanks, Santa.


Diane said...

I'm thinking about getting myself a bike for Christmas... and I want one of those Schwinn cruisers (I'm not a triathlete... SO not)... and I want a basket... and I might get those cool straws for my spokes, too.

Yours looks pretty cool. I had one like it but it was purple with the flowered banana seat. I think I got it when I was 7, too... and I had the run of the neighborhood. Those were the days.

Heather said...

Loved the picture and the story! I think my first bike was pink? I could be wrong. It for sure had streamers though. Unfortunately, it did not turn me into a triathlete. Or any kind or athlete. Not even a uniathlete.
Oh well...