Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Say what you will about the symbols of our modern America and its technology: electric cars on the foreseeable horizon, all of us connected via cell phone, hundreds of channels on cable, and the ability to carry around many hundreds of songs for private listening in a little iPod that's even smaller than the cassette tapes of which it replaces dozens.  I don't think I can top the sight I caught the other day on a court right around the corner from our Lazy 'C' Ranch.

It was a man teaching his little boy to ride a bike.  Now, what says more about the passage from tooling around the hood in a Big Wheel than the passage to a two-wheeler all one's own?  Think about it: it's a bond between parent and child, and another step on the road to liberated adulthood.  On the bike, at first, there will be rides around the corner to hang with friends, and then in a few years, longer rides to see someone who caught his eye during History class, and here we go.

But for now, the kid is just getting started, and even though I only caught a fleeting snapshot as I rolled on by, I saw enough to know that the dad had that "Come on buddy!  You can do it!" look of hope and inspiration going on, and the kid had that grim look of determination with the eyebrows knitted and even the little tongue stuck out between pursed lips: a sure sign of pure concentration. 

I ask you, what could be a better sign that the things that matter never really change?  The economy waxes and wanes, the world may or may not be coming to an end in May or October, and Sarah Palin might just ride that big ol' bus o' hers right up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday soon. (Why not?  The White House is open to all tourists!  Just don't Tripp over your piety - or your history.) 

But show me a man or woman teaching their son or daughter to ride a two-wheeler, and I'll show you a sign that everything's gonna be all right with the world.  That worried look on the Mom and/or Dad as Junior or Sis take their first solo down to Elm St and back will soon be replaced with a smile as the children take their place in the world, and look back on the day when Mom or Dad gave them a little push, and more important, a little "You can do it!" attitude.

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