Sunday, January 8, 2017

A favorite memory of winter

When I was a gangly teenager, about 10-12 years old I estimate, I was staying with my grandmother in the heart of winter.
The streets were packed with snow and the weather promised to keep at it.
We needed to get into town because my grandmother needed something for the house.
We debated what we would do, with the snow and all, and we decided to just go. It would be a long walk so it made sense that I would hop on the back of her bicycle.
The first part of the road was easy. The roads were all scraped clean and salted, so we became confident. We were laughing and talking when my grandmother had to steer onto a bike path between a block of houses.
It was a short connecting road to the center of town and we figured we were ok.
There was fresh snow there, and my grandmother decided that it would be fine to ride the bike on. Then we had to take a turn, the bike wobbled, slid and down we went.
My grandmother and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We were there in the middle of the street, caught in a blanket of snow, and we laughed our asses off.
Then we decided we had to get up. We verified that no one was hurt, and then we tried to stand up.
What followed was some sort of slapstick that is impossible to describe.
The reason the bicycle lost control on the road was that there was a thick patch of ice below the snow. We decided my grandmother would get up first, and then I would push the bike up so she could get it and then I would get up too.
It felt like it took hours to get up from the ice. My grandmother laughed so hard that every time she tried to push herself up, she fell down again. Eventually, she managed, slipping on her feet, leaning forward to balance herself, to stand up.
I tried to hand her the bike, but the wheels kept slipping. Finally, she had the bike, then I tried to get up, I slipped and the bike fell over on the other side.
Then I tried the baby standing up method. Go on hands and knees, and push myself up from a snow bank in a triangle position.
I held on to a small pole next to me and moved into standing position.
Then I got the bike up.
All the while we kept laughing, which didn't help matters.
My grandmother and I decided to walk to the store the rest of the way.
The bike, bruised and battered but still ok, functioned as a package carrier only the rest of the day.

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This work by Sylvia van Bruggen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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