Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Were Once All Commuters: Chapter Two

Riding a bike on our own opened up the world to all of us kids.  Finally we could explore our neighborhoods and wider communities.  The same went for Laddie and Jake.  They loved riding their bicycles and as they grew older, their parents gave them permission to ride freely throughout their small village.

Summer came and school finally ended.  Although the two pals rode their bikes year round, the coming of summer vacation meant they could go to more wonderful places besides the back and forth to each others homes and to the library to complete school homework.  Now they had a license to travel.

Like all young boys, Laddie and Jake didn't plan where they were going until just before they went to wherever it was they wanted to go.  Today was just such a day...

Jake woke up early Thursday morning after his parents drove off for work, and he washed up, dressed in Mets tee and rode on over to Lad's house.  Lad was still sleeping and was greeted by his mom who invited him in and told him to wake Laddie up  so he could start his day rather than being lazy and bored all day.

"Wake up big guy," cried out Jake.

Laddie groaned and rolled onto his side.  Jake snapped open the shades and let "the sun shine in."  He even chanted in a rhythmic style, "Its time to get up, its time to get up.  The sun is out and shining bright."  He continued with a smile on his face while laughing intermittently, "Its time to get up and ride our bikes."

"Okay, okay," said Laddie.  "I will be up in a minute, let me get dressed. I will meet you in the kitchen."

The two boys ate a few pancakes  which Lad's mom made, but they added a few pats of butter and plenty of Log Cabin. A breakfast of champions for sure.  The two boys were now ready for a day of adventure.

After eating a hearty breakfast, loaded with energy Jake said lets ride down to the stationary store and play a few games.  So, off they went.  It was a short ride, about a mile away from Laddie's street.  Jake loved riding to Leo's Stationary Store.  He would hop curbs and do wheelies on the uneven slaps of concrete of the sidewalk.  Laddie just like pedaling along the even pavement of the road, however.  Riding along the street  meant that Laddie needed to be aware of approaching traffic on his left as he cycled with the traffic on the right side of the road.  He used hand signals to let the drivers know which direction he may be turning.

His left arm straight out, left turn.

His left arm held out and bent upwards at the elbow like a small wave of the hand, right turn.

His left arm extended and bent downwards at the elbow, slow stop.

Obeying the rules of the road was a prerequisite for safety and for being a responsible cyclist, and knowing the rules of the road gave their parents "piece of mind" while the boys rode around town.

Well, 10 or 15 minutes after finishing their breakfast, Laddie and Jake arrived safely at Leo's Stationary Store.  What a cool place.  Leo's was an old fashioned stationary store; it still had a counter with spinning stools and served fountain drinks, coffee, and tea.  As for stationary items, Laddie and Jake rarely took any notice unless they needed school supplies, but the arcade style video games was their want.

Jake stepped up to the soda counter and asked for a few dollars worth of quarters for the boys to play a few games of Asteroids and Frogger.  Once the coins had disappeared into the machine and all their lives had been liquidated, Laddie and Jake hopped onto their bikes and meandered around the village exploring new places.  Today's new place was the big park.

The big park was special.  It was named after the original owner of the land who had founded their community; his name was Argyle, Samuel Argyle.  Argyle Park was across the street from the town marina.  The center of the park was a small lake which emptied into a small pond which received water from the lake via three waterfalls.  It was a beautiful place to visit.  The sound of the boats, the falls, and the ducks relaxed the visitors.  Adjacent to the paring lot was a small sandy area where children could play on swings, monkey bars, and a spinner.  The spinner would sit 10 kids easy.  The older kids would run on the outside to start the spinner rotating, then jump on to enjoy the ride.  All the older kids, like Laddie and Jake, would argue over who sat at the pump seat.  The pump seat had a bar pumped back and forth to keep the spinner rotating.

Laddie saw the spinner. Dropped his bike and shouted to Jake, "C'mon, Jake.  Lets get the spinner going faster than ever before."

Jake loved a challenge.  Being the adventurer he is, Jake jumped off his bike while it was coasting onto the sand, and replied, "You got it.!"

Five or six kids, a few years younger than Lad and Jake, were already seated and ready for an older kid to start them off.  Jake grabbed the bench area next to the pump bar and started running as fast as he could while Lad tried to grab on to the opposite pump seat; he had a little trouble since Jake already had the Spinner moving rapidly.  Lad wildly jumped aboard and began pumping.  The Spinner circled faster and faster. Jake didn't make it to the pump seat.  The Spinner tossed Jake as he attempted to swing his body into the other pump seat.  Instead, Jake was on the round, face first in the sand.  he rolled onto his back and laughed.

Once the Spinner slowed up, Laddie hopped off to the screams of joy from the little boys and girls asking for another fast and dizzying ride.

Sirens blurred from the firehouse signaling to all that it was time for lunch.  The boys picked up their bicycles and rode over to Howie's Pizza.  Howie was a fat Italian guy who made the best pizza around.  Everyone in the village called him "Mr. Pizza."

The boys locked up their bikes and walked inside.  Each boy asked for a slice of cheese pizza, but Laddie grabbed a can of Coke, and Jake reached for a bottle of Yoo-Hoo.  Jake loved the chocolaty goodness of a well shaken bottle of Yoo-Hoo.  If it was good enough for Yogi Berra, it was good enough for him.  It was a stable of his weekend lunches in town.

While Laddie and Jake waited for their slices of pizza, they watched Mr. Pizza toss the dough into the air several times.  Once the pizza reached the correct size and thinness, Mr. Pizza would ad some sauce and cheese and push it into the brick oven.  The aroma satisfied anyone walking by Howie's Pizza.  Mr. Pizza made wonderful calzone and a the best zepplies (fried dough with powdered sugar) this side of the Hudson River.  Jake scarfed down his pizza.  Laddie choked down his slice,too.  Laddie then said to Jake, "Where to next, buddy?"

"I don't know," said Jake.  "Maybe we can ride over to the firehouse and look at the trucks. "

Laddie was excited, "Absolutely.  That sounds pretty cool .  I like the hook and ladder."

The two boys unlocked the bicycles and rode for the firehouse...

Until next week.  Laddie and Jake will see you on the road.

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