While shopping at the local store #1974 Wally World for something the big box store did not carry, I heard hollering.
Small, low to the ground excitement. When you have kids, grown and out of the nest, you still react when you hear Dad, Mom using an outdoor recess voice inside a building.
I turned by end cap signed with the promise of “always the low price” for your hard earned Maine salary.
Taking the sharp corner with my wired cart with three good, one crippled wheel that refused to cooperate with the others. A small lad somewhere between four and five was hopping up and down.
Not because of needing to head to the restroom. Nothing to do with his kidneys causing the squirm. Or wired on sugar.
Wearing the tall puddle jumping rain boots every kid in Maine slips on during mud season in Maine.
Some adults too. To stay high and dry. When the thaw, defrost of winter signals here comes springtime boys and girls. The budding of tree tips, flipping the switch on flower garden buried bulbs and return of snowbirds. The winged kind. The ones with gray, some blue, a few pink rinsed hair or not a spear on their heads. Driving north in groves from the sunny south in clean older, filled to the brim Cadillacs, Lincolns, Lexus. Operated by drivers with poor or no side vision.
The little fellow needed Dad to come quick. To hold the two wheel bike with 12″ wheels steady. With the training wheels bolted on to keep it from falling sideways but still wanting to roll.
“Help me Daddy” as the little boy with the same excitement shown in the living room way too early on Christmas morning bounds down the stairs.
Wearing the slipper PJ’s and glad to find Santa had not forgotten him, or his brothers, sisters, parents, even the family pets.
Dad applied a steady hand on the back of the seat. Junior hopped on like he was Peter Fonda in Easy Rider experienced.
Both little hands reach forward for the handlebar grips. Twisting them like the bike was motorized with the distinctive trademarked throaty sound of a Harley hog 1200 cc power plant rumble.
The small boy was mentally starring in his own open road video game. Had left the building like Elvis. Momentarily lost in thought about glee. Riding up and down a store aisle. But pretending he is outdoors. Thinking wouldn’t it be keen to own a bike like this and ride around the yard he dreams. Until old enough to be trusted to go to the corner store for candy with friends. Or something for mom retrieved. To put in the after market up front basket or behind the seat pouch.
Like stopping suddenly in traffic when you have a youngster in the shot gun position.
Even when in the approved car seat. Strapped in when old enough to ride up front. Your driver right hand flies out from instinct to keep your valuable passenger from hitting the dash, deploying the airbag, getting hurt. The shout for “Dad” in a store when you are now kidless, without grandchildren too can activate an inner alarm. You slide into the protective mode so quickly out of reflex, earlier habit, conditioning.
The moving on up the bike cycle from the cute small tire, colorful version to eventually a mini bike. So the kids explore, learn the wonderful feeling of freedom out in the country, on the trails with their family and friends. Respecting the terrain, staying on the trails over private property owned land where it is always tread lightly. Carry in and carry out.