A Day of Remembrance
Can you remember your first two-wheeler, or when you first learned to ride a bike? I don't remember whose bicycle it was, but I'm sure it was a hand-me-down from my older brother or sister. We were living in Great Falls, Montana as my father had volunteered to be part of some sort of foreign military exchange program. The streets where we lived were laid out in very orderly rows and columns, called Avenues in one direction and Streets in the other. Once I got over the initial wobbly-ness of my new riding skill, I proceeded to do laps around the block, around and around. It was awesome!
Now this bike was "old-school", which of course made sense because it was a long time ago, somewhere about 1970 I would guess, and the bike had a full compliment of fenders, front and back. So, being all of seven, and getting bored of riding around the block, I decided to mix it up a bit, I needed to get a little lower to the road; perhaps a more 'sporty' riding position. So I sat on the back fender and rode around the block. It was a bit of a stretch to reach the handlebars, but I made it work. I was Joe Cool.
That is, until I heard the neighbours comment, "it must be the Canadian way to ride a bicycle". I proceeded around the corner, then, out of site, reverted back to the normal riding position, my coolness snapped back into its rightful non-existence, and my humble Canadian demeanor re-instated.
Its peculiar how our memories of events so long ago can be brought to the forefront of our minds with such clarity, as if they only happened yesterday. With our Remembrance Day Ceremonies only recently passed, I think of our lost family members during past wars, and how this peculiarity of remembering can be a blessing if the memory is pleasant, but perhaps a curse if the memory is otherwise. My father served in the Canadian Military for 30 years, and never saw active duty. I am thankful for that, and for the sacrifice of our war veterans to have forged a lasting peace on Canadian soil that made it possible...but I never saw my Dad ride a bicycle.