Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Bicycle God Gave Me


God is so good. I can hardly stand it.

Around June of last year, Tom and I watched just about the most pointless movie ever made. (That is not the part where God is so good...heh...). It was called The Upside of Anger and well, parts of it were well-written, but the ending was sooo bizarre/pointless/just-plain-dumb, that I was sorry we'd even watched it.

Except for one amazing thing.

About halfway through the movie, there's a scene where the very pretty Keri Russell, with long wavy hair, a blue cardigan sweater and a full, flowing floral skirt, gets on an old-fashioned girl's bike and rides home beside a river in a park.

Oh my... the scene was like something out of a 1950's Audrey Hepburn romantic movie. I watched her ride along that path and gasped. I thought, "That's the real me on the inside of me!" It felt like seeing myself, my real self, there on the screen. And suddenly I wanted that to be the real me-- not just inside me--but outside as well.

Because of that one scene, I began growing my hair long. I got a wavy perm (and am getting my third one on Wednesday). I even began a search for a blue cardigan, a long floral skirt and an old-fashioned bike.

And well, I found all those things--but only in magazines. I clipped out the pages showing what I was now searching for and added them to my scrapbooks. I asked Tom to watch the classifieds for an old bike (or a new bike which looked old) at a good price. He found a few bikes, but unfortunately, they were expensive so we kept looking. And once while on a walk, I found the perfect old bike on the curb awaiting the trash truck, but alas, on closer inspection, it was very, very rusty and ready to crumble to pieces.

And then winter came, and well, in the midst of snow and freezing rain, one doesn't think much about bikes and riding down the street with your long hair flowing behind you. At least, not this one. But just this past Monday, I remembered the dream... and how Keri Russell looked on that bike... and how I still didn't have the bike, the sweater, nor the skirt. I told Tom, "Hey! We never did get a bike for me." He said we'd have to do something about that. I said it was important that it have a basket.

But this morning our neighbors had a yard sale and poof! From our sunroom windows I glimpsed it--an old blue bike outside on their front lawn. One with a basket, even. So I got dressed and made-up, zipped out the door, though slowed my steps and tried to look oh-so-barely-interested as I approached the bike. I casually peeked at the price tag. $25. The date: 1962. I spoke with the owner, a brother-in-law of our neighbors, and he gave me the bike's history as he knew it... a woman, long ago, bought it and planned to ride it, but it hung in her garage for two years and then she passed away. Then it hung in the garage for many, many years after that.

Waiting for me, I like to think.

And as I reached inside my tiny red change purse for the money, the owner said, "Oh, you can have it for just $20. My wife said to sell it for that, but I was going to keep the $5 for myself." He smiled. I thanked him and I smiled (and thanked God for what felt like favor) and wheeled it home and into our shed, saving it for later.

And that is the part where God is so good that I can hardly stand it.

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