Front Porch Stories: The Christmas Bike
By Kathy Bohannon, Special to The Shopper
When I was twelve I received a bicycle for Christmas. I had very specific criteria for the bike after drooling over the ones in the store windows and the Sears Wish Book.
It needed to be at least a ten-speed, have skinny tires, a skinny seat and curly handlebars. There could be absolutely no basket on the front. It would be a racing bike and I would be among the cool kids in the neighborhood who had graduated from the banana-seat-sissy-bar-chopper bikes. I would blend in with the teenagers who rode their English racers to school and chained them up near the gym doors like horses in a corral.
On Christmas morning I rushed downstairs, eager to see the bike of my dreams. I stood in the middle of the room, blinking in disbelief. Brother Dave ran past me to see his gifts. He excitedly picked up a baseball bat and mitt, then a guitar. There was even a transistor radio with his name on it.
I couldn’t move.
There, among the glimmering lights was none other than a touring bike. The wheels were huge and all thick and nubby. The handlebars were barely curved at all. There was a basket on the front; pink, with flowers stuck all over it. The seat was wide enough for grandmother Wethington.
There was no way that thing was going to go outside with me on it. I sat on mom’s piano bench and watched my brother enjoy his gifts. Life as I knew it was over.
Mom and dad came downstairs and asked if I’d seen my bike. I assured them I had. Mom saw my disappointment and took me to one side. She explained that many children didn’t receive anything for Christmas. She reminded me that dad had delivered a lot of food for families who otherwise wouldn’t have any Christmas dinner. She gave me a hug and assured me I would live a normal life with the touring bike.
Maybe it was because I realized I was being a spoiled brat, but I did end up getting on that mammoth disaster of a bicycle and going down the driveway. The kids across the street were outside on their sleek new racing bikes. The boys next door grabbed their older racing bikes and challenged them to a contest. I humbled myself and pedaled over. They giggled and said I could keep time and declare a winner since there was nothing else I could do except deliver mail on my new bike.
My brother Dave came outside and heard the kids jeering at me. He didn’t waste a minute putting them in their places. “I’ll show you want this bike can do,” he said as he climbed on that massive seat.
Dave zoomed away, got up some speed and somehow managed to do a wheelie all the way back to the small crowd, his transistor radio blaring the latest hits from the bottom of that pink basket.
Christmas didn’t go the way I’d planned that year, but I learned a lesson in humility and gained a lifetime of respect for that brother of mine. Those gifts were better than any racing bike I could have received.
It was a great Christmas after all.
Kathy Bohannon is a Christian humorist and inspirational speaker. She also blogs at SixLittleAcres.wordpress.com. An avid paper crafter, she also enjoys sewing and needle arts. Kathy shares her love of crafting on Facebook and on YouTube at Kathy Bohannon Creatively Blessed. She and her husband John live in west Newnan.