As a young tomboy you could always find me perched on my bike, peddling hard and fast down the neighborhood sidewalks. There I was, free as a bird with ponytail swinging and a deck of cards strategically clipped to my spinning spokes making the neatest flapping sound.
Looking back on those carefree years, I would have to say I was a pretty happy-go-lucky kid. That is until the worse possible disaster could befall a 10 year old, whose world consisted of two wheels, a seat and a pair handle bars. The chain link on my bike would inevitably break loose, rendering me peddle-less! Nothing could send me into a tailspin faster then to find myself unwillingly de-commissioned from riding my beloved bike.
Now you have to understand who we’re talking about here. This is the girl who much preferred riding her bike over taking a bath. Who made it her daily ambition to hit every standing mud puddle and hop every winding curb all along North Madison avenue. This is the girl who absolutely loved racing down hills, with legs outstretched sideways and peddles spinning wildly, her heart racing as she dared to let go of the handle bars once the road leveled out. The pink handle grip tassels madly whirling around her wrists, as she sang to the top of her lungs, uninhibited by any passersby or the little creatures that might have the misfortune of being on the same flight path as her mouth.
No doubt about it, my world was my bike! And, whenever it broke, I was one pitiful site to behold. There I would sit cupping my chin with one hand, and holding my broken chain with the other. I would patiently wait on the front steps as the sky would softened to a purple glow as evening made its’ approach. I watched for my only hope of rescue, that of a blue and white Chevrolet sedan to cruise up the driveway. At long last I would hear the sound of the engine as it slowly rounded the turn of our gravel driveway. The car door would creak open, and out stepped my hero… my dad.
He looked at me and shook his head with a familiar smile, we both new the routine so well. Without a word spoken, he would bend down, loosen his tie, tell me to get him his tool box, and begin to busy himself with serious chain repair.
I can remember how his starched white shirt cuffs would become marked with grease and how he never once complained. I recall how the smell of his after-shaved always brought me a comforting sense of reassurance. Yep, we made a pretty good pit crew, me and Pop, even if it only happened to be the two of us. Well, three (if you count Rebel, our boxer dog, who loved to lay close by and supervise with a curious stare. He always managed to give my dad an approving lick on the back of his neck!
I think back on those summer evenings with great fondness in my heart. Before my Dad even got a chance to sit down and read his paper or enjoy his evening meal, he always made sure I was up and running on the two wheels of my existence. That all was right in my little world of cycling and that this busy tomboy could get on about her business, doing what she did best…looking for standing mud puddles to splash and long winding curbs to hop.
I often think about my hero and how God has blessed me with such a wonderful earthly Father. Maybe we need to hug our Daddy’s a little more often and let them know just how very special they really are!
Happy Father’s Day Pop!
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Missey, you kept me spellbound as I read this story. I traveled in my mind all the way back to my childhood, thinking of how my Dad would "fix" my toys when they broke. As a teenager I learned to fix things myself, and I had the best instructor. Thank you for this story from your childhood. You are a good "storyteller". Thomas