Monday, March 12, 2012

Memories of Victory Hill

I can still remember the first time I balanced on two wheels. I think I was about 4 years old. A few days earlier my dad rolled it into the living room. It was a second-hand 20-inch wheeled American Eagle, repainted a beautiful red color. I can still remember the masking tape along the top tube, with the selling price of $3.00 from the rummage sale picked it up from. It seemed I had been hounding my dad for weeks to take off the training wheels, but in reality was probably more like a couple days. When he finally gave in to my whining, the big moment arrived. He stood beside me in the road of our subdivision, as Dad gently pushed me off. About 10 feet later, I went down. It didn't matter though, because those 10 feet were the grandest experience that little 4 year-old had ever felt, and it had forever changed him. I tried it again. And this time, I think I made it about 50 feet or so. After one or two more wobbly attempts, things began to improve, and on that day I learned how to fly.

I'm not sure when it was - maybe a few days later - that my grandpa was visiting, and he and I went on a bike ride together. He grabbed my mom's old "English Racer", a beautiful black J.C. Higgins 3-speed, made in England. We headed west down the road until we came to the first intersection. And as we looked to our right, there it was - my first hill. I had passed this road before, but for some reason never had the nerve to turn there. After all, it was a hill. Actually, to me, it was a MOUNTAIN! But we were going to do it. And I would attempt my first "mountain" climb. I have a vague memory of actually pedalling up. But as with most of life's painful experiences, we often forget the actual pain and are kindly left with nothing but the memory of what was good. I can still remember reaching the top of the hill that day. Grandpa and I turned and rested as we looked towards the bottom. Then he motioned for me to look at the road sign - "Victory Hill Road".

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