As my kids moved well into adulthood I began to wonder if we had reared Paul Harveys. As with most active kids, there were events that occurred in their lives that caused us to wonder how and if they would survive to become adults. Now they take delight in telling the rest of some of these stories.
The first part of this story is subtle. As the boys were growing up, their bicycles occasionally required some repairs. Of course, I would always ask how it happened but as long no one was injured I could usually accept whatever explanation was offered without much more thought.
The boys had quality Schwinn bicycles that stood up fairly well. We took enough business to the bicycle shop that they sometimes would true up a wheel without charging us. As the boys became older they took care of minor repairs themselves.
We lived in a neighborhood that was referred to as the Beaver Creek addition. This was for the somewhat obvious reason that Beaver Creek passed through the area. At a couple of points of the creek there were pedestrian bridges with paved walkways joining the bridge to the nearest street or cul-de-sac.
Tim and Kevin were together near that creek one day when Tim got the idea of jumping his bicycle over the creek without benefit of one of the bridges. The creek was narrow enough, in most places, that a boy eight years of age or older could jump the creek on foot without much effort. So why not try it on a bicycle?
Tim did not actually know of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion at the time. However, he had a loose concept of overcoming various forms of resistance against the perpetual motion that he might maintain on his bicycle by bearing down fiercely and repeatedly on the pedals as they peaked at top of his power stroke. Kevin stood by in complete awe as his older brother positioned for the take-off.
The strange part about this particular day was that Tim, instead of Kevin, was the one about to make the daring leap. Typically, Kevin came home crying and limping from injuries while Tim pushed two bicycles. Kevin was the sort of risk taker that, if it seemed remotely possible in his mind, would try riding his bicycle backward, down a steep hill, while doing a handstand from the handlebars and seat.
Fear gripped Kevin as he looked at his brother’s motionless body lying against the opposite bank of Beaver Creek. He pulled the bicycle, with its new modifications, away from Tim and worried what to do as he tried to talk Tim back to consciousness. This was one of those rare times when an adult might have come in handy, even it meant being busted for doing something stupid.
Tim eventually came around but had only marginal memory of his crash or going home with Kevin at the time. The bicycle, actually, survived fairly well. It was probably one of those times that I had a wheel straightened and accepted a lame explanation for how it happened.
The frightening part about this incident is that Tim could have been hurt badly without knowing it. Since we, the parents, were not told about this for twenty years, it was kind of late to have Tim examined for a possible concussion. I’ve known some people that I wondered if they were dropped on their head as children. Tim did not ever behave the way that they did so maybe he was okay.
Watch for the next story in the series of When Kids Tell the Rest of the Story: Special School Holidays. Click for the first and second story of the series.