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Love Me for Always

Lifetime Bonds We Create

The Arizona sun is burning hot. It weighs heavy on my back. Its brightness magnifies through my eyeglasses. The ground is impossible to walk on.

I bought my pretty pink beach cruiser a decade ago at a sporting goods store for $100. I love my bicycle. I love the giddy childlike feeling I get in my tummy every time I ride it. I love that I can put groceries in my basket. I love ringing the bell on the handlebars. When I’m riding it I feel powerful.

I remember the first time I met my husband’s parents years ago. He wasn’t my husband then but I knew that someday he would be. They still live on the farm he was raised on. It’s a beautiful place. Their land touches the horizon in every direction. It’s sanctuary.

His parents told me the story of the struggle it took to get the farm going after they were married. They told me they had received a total of $75 gifted to them at their wedding. They decided to take the money and buy a freezer. His mom said they had regretted the purchase. She often wondered if they could have done something better with the money. It was desperate times back then.

Making conversation I asked what type of freezer it was. His dad turned to me and said, “It’s the one in the laundry room.”

They’ve been married 60 years and they still have that exact freezer. I’d say they got their $75 worth.

That night as I laid in bed I thought about how much I admire their history. I wanted to have something so many years from now my great grandchildren would be alive to see it. Maybe not a freezer per say, but something I had a connection with. Something with sentimental value to me. I wanted to be able to tell my story the same as they had told me theirs.

My pretty pink beach cruiser, I remember when I first bought it. I rode to the bike shop almost 10 miles away and purchased the basket and Slim tire tubes in case I ran over cactus needles. I rode my bike everywhere. It got to the point when the only time I drove the car or rode the bus was when I had my kids with me.

I couldn’t stop riding it. There’s a bike path along the canal that channels the Colorado River into the Phoenix Valley. It goes through the City of Phoenix and across the City of Scottsdale, then the City of Tempe and then into the City of Chandler, and so did I. I rode the canal path all year long.

You know those people you see outside on the street, riding their bike, standing on the corner waiting to cross or sitting at the bus stop and you think, its 115 degrees, wow that guy’s an idiot. Yep, that was me. I was the idiot you were referring to.

As I got older it got hotter, or I was getting older and losing my tolerance. I no longer rode my bike during the summer time. I just couldn’t. I thought I would die. I was no longer feeling as ambitious in 115 degree weather as I once had. I still rode my bike in the fall and winter.

I was excited when we moved to Iowa because I knew no matter how hot it got here, well, let’s just say there’s no way it could ever be that hot. When we first got settled, the kids and I went down into the town square to run some errands. It was the beginning of August and Iowa was in an excessive heat warning.

In the Pharmacy: “What are you doing out in this heat?”

In the Hardware store: “What are you doing out in this heat?”

In the Market: “What are you doing out in this heat?”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Once we were unpacked I washed my beach cruiser, pumped up its tires and rang its bell. I was ecstatic to ride it again, and there I was, off with the wind in my hair.

There are no hills in Phoenix. The ground is flat and the roads are an organized grid. Iowa is covered with hills. Suddenly it was much more of a struggle to ride than I had remembered. I think I can, I think I can, but I couldn’t. I pushed and pushed my legs to gain momentum.

I thought I might fall over.

I thought I was in good shape but throw a hill into the mix and that all changes. I needed to build up hill stamina (is that even a thing?) So I started walking into town every day. I was chased by dogs and honked at by cars. I broke the strap on a bag from the market and shattered glass all over the sidewalk. I was hit in the face with hay when a tractor drove past but I kept walking.

I walked, and walked, and walked what felt like an endless amount of miles. I walked through the summer, into fall and then came winter. I felt strong. I felt sturdy. I finally felt ready to ride my pretty pink beach cruiser up and down the hills in town, but by then it was subzero winter temperatures and I didn’t feel like freezing.

I’ll have to wait until spring to start all over. My pretty pink beach cruiser is parked out in the entry way. Each time I go in or out of the house I see it and sometimes I even ring its bell. It’s a reminder to me that as soon as the ground thaws I’ll once again be peddling and feeling the wind in my hair.

It’s a reminder to me that although with each year I grow older and my life continues to change one thing that remains consistent is my pretty pink beach cruiser. Its a sense of security. Although it may only be a small piece of my identity it’s a bond all always have and many decades from now it will be a part of my history.

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