Being the younger child in the house had its drawbacks. Yeah, I could get away with some stuff that my sister couldn’t… but I always had to deal with her hand me downs. No, not her clothes! (Thank goodness that it never went quite that far!) But I am talking specifically about my first bike… but even more importantly… I’m talking about my little tricycle.
I’m not sure how old I was but I know I was young… And I do remember that the trike had been ridden a lot. It was small and rusty a little bit and the hard rubber tires were a little slick.. but now… it was mine! And I did love it as if it were just picked up from the local Western Auto and delivered right out of the box!
While our house at the time had a carport with lots of concrete to ride on even in the rain… the drive was gravel. And not only was the drive gravel but the street wasn’t paved yet either. But none of this stopped me… I was a trike pedaling fool! I bet I did a thousand miles up and down that drive way. And then came the infamous day… the day when the state was finally going to pave our street.
Back in the day, street paving wasn’t as neat and clean as it is now…. neat and clean obviously is a relative term with it comes to street paving. But back then they used a lot of liquid, gooey tar… at least it was gooey when they put it down. Once it cooled and solidified it was okay for driving on. Well, as you can imagine, there is nothing more exciting to a young boy than all of the activity associated with paving a street… and I could just see images of me flying up and down the street with my trike… like I owned the road. I could even stand up on the back step things and push it like a scooter and get up a lot of speed.. I could hardly wait! It was like Christmas in the summertime!
My mom was well aware of this excitement… and to try to keep it under control, she threatened me within an inch of my life if I got anywhere need the end of the driveway where they were putting out the tar. You may remember from some previous post, I always had trouble following these sorts of instructions from my mom. I think it was a hearing issue… or at least a listening problem.
So the paving began and I stayed under the carport just as my mom wanted… at least for a while. I am convinced to this day that the driveway was on a steep incline going back down to the street… although it might have looked flat to the average person. Gravity was pulling me uncontrollably down the drive toward the street.
But being the good son that I have always been, I stopped before I got all the way too the street. But I have to tell you, it really did look cool.. that black and shiny tar… and the great pungent smell… and the huge machines that were putting it out… how cool was all that?!?! So I’m sitting on my trike there at the end of the drive just watching…. as I started to pedal away, suddenly my trike tips over! How can that possibly be? A three wheeled vehicle tipping over? Somehow, I ended up in the tar… or maybe it jumped on me… I can remember. But my mom wasn’t buying the jumping tar story.
She came out of the house just as I was getting back up and trying to rub the tar off my hands.. on my shirt, of course. She wasn’t happy at all with this situation. All I can tell you is that was the last time I was outside that day… and that was the last time I ever wore that shirt… I guess tar on cloth is a tough thing to clean up.