Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, January 31, 2014

The (Not Really) Safe Sidewalk

Me.
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 . . . umm . . . in town.
It was a whole different lifestyle for me.
I had a tricycle. A hand-me-down from three siblings before me.
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 there were categorized according to points of interest and/or what foodstuffs could be procured on the premises.
Lodemier's house, where the baloney sandwich ruled supreme at snack time, and where best friend, Laurie, 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 driveway on her trusty steed.
At least they were kind.
And polite.
All of this is just my long-winded way of saying there was nothing more interesting than the homes on our block.
Why would anyone venture out onto dragon-infested gravel street in search of anything else?
It just didn't make sense.
So I stayed on my sidewalk.
And was safe . . .
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.
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.
Okay, well, it was bigger.
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.
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, folding it in two.
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.
My rocketship.

14 comments:

  1. I had that same tricycle. Oh, the adventures of riding down the block!

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Diane ... that was a close call ... I'm glad it wasn't worse.

    BOGO labels!! Except we don't have to buy one ... you know what I mean :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Re the labels - I meant to add how awesome they were :)

      Delete
  3. Thank goodness that little voice warned you to get off the bike and pull over to the side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep wondering why I didn't just keep on peddling?! Oh, well . . .

      Delete
  4. Trucks still scare me. I fear I will be sucked in by the vortex of their under-carriage suction.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great post, Diane! I was holding my breath there for a minute when you described the truck backing up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Something told me to get off the tricycle" whew! Thank goodness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can so see it! The big truck backing slowly toward me. Me nonchalantly getting off my bike. Moving to one side. Standing there . . .

      Delete
  7. I had a tricycle very much like this one. I enjoyed your story and of course was waiting for your get a way from the truck. I would say a whispered spirit nudging on that one.
    Always fun to read your posts.
    Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who doesn't believe in guardian angels?! :) Thanks, LeAnn!

      Delete

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