Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good Boys Don't Get Flats

In the Summer of 1959, Me and my brother John set off for a bicycle ride that we would remember for many years to come.

I was seven years old and my brother John, six. My Mom would allow us to go off for the day on what was known to us as a "Bike Hike" as long as we had a destination that she agreed with and promised to walk our bikes across at intersections.
Our Bike Hike for the day was to ride to Sunshine Dairy in Sherborn, 7 miles away, have a picnic lunch, feed the ducks, Buy Ice Cream and ride home.

Mom packed our lunch's with the standard PB&J and 15 cents each for Ice Cream.
No sooner did we start the ride, my brother started eating his sandwich while riding and then moved on to the duck bread. By the time we reached the half way point he had finished all the carry-on food and was looking for more.

Along the way there was a little general store with a "Frostie Root Beer" sign on the outside. It had unfinished wide pine flooring and penny candy. They had one of those ice cream coolers that you opened the top and reached down into for Hoodsies and H Bars. There was a little wooden stool for short people.
My brother spent all his money on a big bag of candy and went out side to sit on the step and finish it off. I remember the look on his face looking into the bag, away from Mom with a huge bag, all on his own. Total Bliss.

By the time we reached the dairy, John was out of money, lunch and duck bread. That was the day my little brother taught me without saying a word that you don't need duck bread to attract ducks. All you need to do is make like your throwing it in, The arm movement alone will make them come.

Things got boring that afternoon at the Dairy quickly. It wouldn't have been right to go straight home at that moment.
The only thing that came to mind was exactly what my Mom would have totally forbidden and never would have allowed us to do if it had been part of the original "Bike Hike" plan.

Our ride would now include an extra leg to Downtown Framingham.
Downtown Framingham was and still is a very busy place. Theres lots of traffic. Cars,Trucks,Buses,Trains, no place for a couple of little kids on bikes, even not back then. Our destination, Woolworth's. Why? Lead Soldiers.

Woolworths had a glass shelfs with regiments of 2" high hand painted lead soldiers. Mostly like war figures from World War One. I remember about 10 different poses, placed in rows of 10 deep. Being in the presents of these nobel miniture troops with out parents to say "Come on, Lets go!" was like heven on earth!
We parked our bikes outside unlocked against the window and went in side. We were in the store at the soldier section for only about a minute when a very large women in a house coat told us we had to leave because we were not with our mother. We couldn't argue back then so we followed her orders.
When we got back to the bikes we found that John's front tire was not only flat, but had completely blown off the rim. (Air Pressure didn't mean much to us back then)
At age seven I could patch a flat but did not bring a patch kit for the job. I did however have a adjustable wrench and a screwdriver.
You need to understand that if we were to call my Mom from Downtown Framingham that afternoon, I would not be alive now to tell this story.
If the tire in the back had flatted, we could just ride it back the 3 miles to the dairy, but this was the front.

I did what needed to be done. I removed my brothers front wheel and stretched his front fork to fit my rear axle,tightened the axle nuts and turned the two bicycles into a tandem.
My Brother John looked at it and said, "Lets Call Mom!"
I yelled, "Get On!" Holding his front wheel in his hands on his handlebars like a steering wheel.
We made it back to the Dairy with enough time to call Mom, have here come get us in a place we had agreed to be and be back to the house for Supper in time for Dad to come home from work.

Forty Nine Years have passed. I remember that my Mom wasn't very happy to come get us in the car. Not part of her plan I suppose. I reminded my brother of our day together and he recalls it as the day that he learned that,
"Good Boys Don't Get Flats!"

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