Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stay on the Sidewalk Where it's Safe

My rocketship.

Occasionally, when Mom got tired of driving twenty miles of dirt roads for everything, my parents would move the family to our town house.
The one in town.
It was a whole different lifestyle for me.

I had a tricycle.
Red.
Sturdy.
With a little plastic tassel hanging from one handle grip that waved in the breeze when I went really, really fast.
Which I did.
Often.
I was the master of the universe!
I could go anywhere!
As long as I stayed on the sidewalk.
The streets around our block were 'dangerous'.
There were dragons there.
Okay, so Mom described the dangers as speeding cars that would flatten me into a pancake, but I put my own spin on it.
It was so much better.
So, back on the tricycle.
I rode it endlessly.
Doing laps of our block.
The different homes were categorized according to points of interest or what foodstuffs could be procured there.
Lodemier's house, where the baloney sandwich ruled supreme at snack time, and where best friend lived. Reese's house, where good cookies could be found at any time. Madge's house, another food emporium. Winter's house, with the cute, fuzzy Pomeranians. And so on.
It was paradise.
For me.
I'm not sure what they thought when Diane pulled onto their sidewalk on her trusty steed.
At least they were kind.
And polite.
But I knew that there was nothing more interesting than the homes on our block.
Why would anyone venture out onto dragon-infested gravel in search of anything else.
It just didn't make sense.
So I stayed on my sidewalk.
And was safe.
Most of the time.
There was an alley running the length of our block. The back yard of every home opened onto it. It was a hive of activity every day as dozens of children ran and played.
Occasionally, it was used for vehicles.
Go figure.
Our neighbour, especially, was known to park his huge grain truck there during harvest, to keep the behemoth (real word) off the street.
And that simple act diminished the safety margin by a factor of 100.
I don't know what that means, but it sounds . . . unsafe.
On this particular afternoon, our neighbour had come into town from his farm for lunch.
Having finished said lunch, he had strolled back out to his truck to return to work.
I had also recently finished my lunch. And was on my way to his house for a much-needed cookie fix.
For a short while, the two of us occupied the same general space.
But his vehicle was vastly superior to mine.
In size at any rate.
I was just crossing the entrance to the alley, safely staying on my sidewalk as he was backing his truck up.
I should mention here that trucks in those days didn't have warning beepers or rear-view cameras.
In fact, they barely had mirrors.
Needless to say, my neighbour didn't see me.
Or my tricycle.
It could have been a disaster.
I pulled into the alley entrance,
And stared, transfixed at the enormous blue box of the truck backing, slowly but steadily, towards me.
This was different.
Closer. Closer.
Huh. Something whispered that maybe I should get off my tricycle and move to the side.
I did so.
The truck kept backing.
Backing.
There was a tiny crunching sound as it ran over my tricycle.
Huh. There's something you don't see every day.
The driver kept backing, oblivious to what had just happened.
He waved at me cheerfully as he went past. Then, reaching the street, he reversed direction and headed out.
I watched him go.
Then looked at my tricycle.
Or the little mashed-together bits of metal that used to be my tricycle.
Sigh.
Dad would fix it.
I ran home.
Dad did fix it. And it looked even better when he was through.
Brighter red.
And two little tassells instead of one.
And I think he made it a little bigger.
Dads could do anything.
Soon I was back on the sidewalk again.
Conquering worlds.
Staying safe.

5 comments:

  1. This made my heart stop! Such a scary thing. I'm sure it wasn't so much as a child as it would have becomes as you became a parent! We hear so many stories of children being run over in driveways because no one saw them behind the vehicle. It always breaks my heart when I hear of that happening. You obviously had a reason to be on this earth longer... I think it was so you would cross my path at this point in my life. :) Thank you for being such a great mentor for me to follow my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am awarding you the Versatile blogger award. You can pick up on my blog. The rules are simple:
    Tell 7 things about yourself and pass the award on to 15 deserving bloggers and thank the person who gave you the award.
    http://highheelshotflashes.blogspot.com/2011/09/versatile-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Every mothers worst nightmare!

    ReplyDelete
  4. After your Mom recovered from her fainting spell did she tell you to keep out of the alley?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, the hysterical part? I thought, "WOW! Your dad is amazing! Oh wait ..."

    GHEESH! This would be my absolute nightmare -- probably not a good thing to read as my 4 y/o has decided to learn to ride her bike without training wheels....

    ReplyDelete

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