Aging & Attitude
The pedaling of an old man riding a wide-tire bicycle grabs my attention as I drive Acoma road. The methodical around and around of the bike’s wheels is mesmerizing. I press the car brakes, slow to a crawl and drop back, to give the senior space, as we approach the corner stop.
He wears red Ked shoes and a large droopy straw hat shades his face from the morning sun. He sports a long sleeve plaid shirt and hazardous baggy Dockers. The blue and chrome fender bike has no basket or hand brakes.
Behind him rides a man in a metallic Speedo shirt and black skin-tight shorts. He wears a helmet and mustache, and he does not pass abruptly. Instead, he moves to coast gently beside the elder, a solid traffic barrier. They ease the corner together, dance a Minuet synchronized to Chopin.
I stop at the corner, turn right, and follow, absorbing their relationship.
It is paternal; head, back and shoulders are an older/younger version of each other. The son peddles ahead deliberate not to look back, allows his father to ride independently while protected. The old man’s bike wheel does not wobble and the handlebars do not shake. There is an air of pride accompanying his movement. I drive by and see his wrinkled face, guess he is eighty. A full head of peppered gray hair surround a son’s face with minimal expression lines and suggest he is sixty.
My mind conjures a past Father’s Day,
Imagine it is 1958, the father wearing the same plaid shirt, Dockers and Ked shoes, the son, jeans and a white t-shirt, both much younger. The father, teaching, leads the way with subtle protectiveness and allows the son to celebrate his newly acquired skill, riding a bike.
“Daddy, look at me!” He yells with a big smile.
Today is Father’s Day 2012. I watch the pair celebrate with a simple act of being there if needed, pedaling their bicycles.
. . . . just saying