My Brother’s Ten Speed Bicycle by Barbara Dexter
It was nice day. The sun was shining. The temperature was in the nineties. There I was stuck in the house. I thought this just could not be. I must get out. I ventured onto the front porch and there it was, the scratched up, yellow, ten speed bicycle. I know it was supposed to have ten speeds, but you could not prove it by me. Half the speeds I attempted to shift into never made it into gear. It was there. I wanted out. My decision was made. I would take the bike to the local swimming hole, “Sunburn Beach.” As I mounted the bike, I had to lean it on its side so my short leg could swing over the frame. As long as I didn’t have to stop too fast, I would be all right.
I was off, riding down the sidewalk to Water Street. I continued to Main Street and followed it down until it turned into Colrain Road. Colrain Road was narrow. I did not concern myself about that. In one place the road was even narrower because it passed under a stone railroad bridge. I had no problem with that and did not even think about it. I passed by some small houses and a couple of farms. Then I arrived at my destination. It was just at an intersection of another road, through the cattle fencing, and down an embankment. Here the Deerfield River passed over many boulders that created rapids. The rapids were cold and soothing on a hot day. The water was only a couple of feet deep on most days. It became deeper slightly upstream, but only for a small section. It was perfect to float around and bask in the sun. When my skin finally turned prune-like, I could climb up the embankment and lay on my favorite boulder.
The only challenge with leaving the swimming hole was drying off enough for the trip home. My legs would rub against the seat and frame of the bike. It would be worse if they were wet. This day I did not manage to dry off enough. My legs were chafed by the time I arrived back home, but it was so worth it. I arrived home just before my brother noticed his bike had been “borrowed” and before my mother arrived home to tell me that I could not go. I was so relaxed that I had no trouble sleeping in the hot bedroom I shared with my two sisters.