DAD COMES TO THE RESCUE

How I ended up with my bicycle (a ten speed Schwinn Raleigh) lost in Coatesville, Pennsylvania (within the hinterlands of Amish country), now (some years ex post facto) makes for a humorous anecdote.At that time however, any synonym even remotely affiliated with the word funny did not exist! Matter of fact, the opposite emotion prevailed to rent asunder any notion of pleasure!Fear and panic in all imaginary mental manifestations found me on the brink of helplessness and utter despair. In other words, a total annihilation and dysfunction of that body, mind and spirit triage became shattered! Any sense and sensibility of even an iota of optimism got completed shredded into imaginary confetti! In essence, a full-blown panic attack erupted!Some brief and preliminary information might be helpful to understand with greater ease how a routine ordinary group activity turned into a nightmare!This generally calm, cool and collected guy found himself (in a matter of hours) smack dab into the maws of madness and reduced him into a pathetic bundle of nerves! Webster would clearly define the following quandary as a prime example of alacrity!The following paragraphs will attempt to describe the linked chain of events, which led to an awful circumstance and a fate worse than death! Thus spoke thy entry into doom!Now let attention back pedal prior to this incident!A growing awareness with the popularity of bicycling in general arose for me to become (not necessarily a winner of the Tour De France), but more or less independently mobile and less dependent on fossil fuel powered vehicles. This healthy mode to build up muscles constituting (what many would describe as chicken legs), did not necessarily take shape specifically because a younger sister and her husband participated in major treks on a frequent basis. No! Quite the contrary!Again, this desire to saddle mine scrawny tushy with said sport spun up inside these mental cogs and wheels as a fanciful rationale to become independent and reliant on self locomotion as a means to transport this lightweight human cargo various and sundry places far and wide.Nonetheless, I do offer a nod toward this sibling for her rightful degree of acquiescence and positive influence. She (Shari) did encourage me to take up this pursuit. She helped affect a personal decision to acquire the above stated two-wheeler, which only cost a modest one hundred dollars.Once the money gamely plunked down, an immediate obligation arose to invest subsequent energy and time before sitting astride the saddle! Proper materiel vis a vis attired in logo branded Lycra shorts a must! These spindle shanks be damned!I felt gung-ho and soon joined the Valley Forge Bicycle Club. Weekends found yours truly excited to participate in various and sundry group rides geared to the amateur or novice despite an insult to an outsize ego!With each successively completed day trip (and feather in that figurative cap), a natural increase in ability and confidence became evident. A bit of that sleight of hand to master the means to maneuver levers to affect a smooth transition from one sprocket to another. What I presumed to be a cinch more often than not comprised meshing of metal teeth! The shifting motion created chattering, meshing and stuttering of mechanical parts usually ground together those gears and sprockets.An upcoming combined biking and camping trip served as the perfect opportunity to apply and test this mine mettle of newly acquired skill. An ordinarily humble trait strove to strut and swagger like some self ordain Olympian professional rider! The accompaniment of cited female family member and brother in law envisioned the three of us zipping like a blur across the Chester County landscape!Aside from welcome assistance to help with ensemble purchase of reputable and sturdy bicycle, she unstintingly and willingly offered to lend mister wise guy here any requisite equipment.A minor detail happened to be overlooked before heading off toward the wild blue yonder. What pray tell you ask? No review took place to double check packed bags to ensure that pertinent paraphernalia safely got housed for the upcoming cool and dark night. No surprise then that a critical omission became readily apparent at the most inopportune time!After a full day (which seemed more like an eternity) strenuously pushing feet to the pedals uphill with all the might summoned from this untested human frame and laterally applying brakes (over cautiously and conservatively) when going downhill, I eagerly applauded the democratic and unanimous decision to bivouac. This weary body of mine felt physically conflicted and wracked to the hilt! Everybody else appeared to exude an enviable freshness and no need to recuperate!When fatigue could no longer be kept at bay, the welcome respite for sleep witnessed a sudden and unexpected panic! The search for purportedly bundled sleeping bag came up empty handed! Oh no and ugh! Immediate primal groans and grunts quickly followed unprintable colorful turns of phrases!Needless to say (and write), those next so many hours of longed for repose turned into one of the worst forays into dreamscape and REM cycles. Brisk temperatures and no means to stay warm (even the stint to curl up into a ball a futile effort) found this poor soul fatigued. I deplored this condition and dreaded the passing hours with no recourse to sleep! Oh, and in addition this bony gluteus maximus felt sore and did not look forward to being subjected to subsequent abuse!Mismanagement and mishandling of proper review of accessory trappings for just a led to a multitude of myriad malfunctions on this misadventure! The morrow (after awaking cold and tired) witnessed God-awful weather added insult to injury!Daylight dawned frigid and wet! One of the leaders offered a chance for those fraught with fatigue and misery (possibly such invitation with yours truly in mind) to cut short the endeavor and exit from gray skies and rain.Irrational and illogical thinking won the day! I declined the sought after soft comfort and warmth of a vehicle in preference to exercise arm and leg muscles and prove to the cosmic creator capability to keep pace with the most avid and speediest human pumping machines!Any vague hunch or intuition who those two people might be? Did you guess Shari and Andy (linked spouse)? Correct! You won a gold star! That arrogant choice set in motion the memorable circumstance. In the end, I felt and wore the fools cap for precipitating abysmal outcome. Everything went awry from that very moment!Soon after setting off on our united destination, each person established a comfortable cadence and pace within the broad range of least to quickest bi-pedal human in the east! I bet you could never deduce that individual filling the rank and file of pokiest person to plod along the slowest! Damn! I must comment you (dear reader) on such acute perception!An interval of time elapsed into synchronized motion and sound (whirring bicyclists and falling rain respectively) before a brazen (and poorly thought out) notion gripped my mind. Rather than remain safe and secure with the majority of riders (like a respectable and sane somebody), I fell prey to a derelict and braggadocio motive to keep up (go ahead and laugh to your hearts content) with this often-mentioned kid sister and my brother in law.Their endurance, expertise and superior quality (behind the faster than greased lightning wheels in chic wear) became evident when they seemed to vanish instantaneously in thin air!Not a clue nor trace of their whereabouts seemed evident! I searched every direction high and low. Far and wide as the hilly terrain and vision would allow, enable and provide yielded no sign of their whereabouts! Wait! A view toward the distant horizon offered a pinprick semblance of two floating dots that resembled that duo human of forms!Some fluke of physics found distance between myself and those kinfolk increased velocity beyond mien ability to catch up (akin to some logarithmic formula predicated on inputted variables), but surprisingly enough I managed to get completely separated from all the other bicyclists. Nonetheless, I blindly and blithely rode on with not an inkling of orientation made manifestly more impossible from a combination of coeval factors!Diminution from depletion of food, dehydration, and saturation (from an incessant and cold downpour) prompted a plea to the heavens! Every now and again, I stopped to wipe steam and water from streaked glasses and read what remained of the tattered remnants from crumpled and weathered route map handed out (which now felt like eons ago) earlier in the trip.Hours slid and splashed by with a growing fear and self-loathing! As daylight (and optimism) faded to twilight, I summoned up a little bit of courage and rapped on the door of a simple trim-looking house. The absence of any electrical wires a dead giveaway that this dwelling occupied by plain people of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A young Amish girl answered the door. Her father rushed forward and pointed down the road at a public telephone.After clumsily distributing all the loose change arrayed atop the available ledge, I dialed the operator and discovered that the requested cost to place a call to Collegeville (home of my father and late mother) required an additional amount of money. That mechanical voice indicated that the call could not be made!Upon despondently hanging up the receiver, a twin feeling of anxiety and desperation helped coalesced and formed a spur of the moment idea to escape from this hellacious circumstance.Self- survival and a somewhat bold act of assertiveness bolstered grasping to any spurious whim spurred in good measure from dehydration, exhaustion and painfully strong urge for urination.At the approach of dusk, I chanced to ring the bell of another residence located quite so many miles distant from the first one. A young, attractive young mother (with a couple of curious children in tow) opened the front door to my desperate plea. She (blessed angel) permitted me to dial home free of charge! As soon as that familiar male voice picked up on the other end, I uttered in rapid-fire succession verbal SOS! Dad, I woefully spoke to the listening and surprising ear PLEASE COME GET ME! I incoherently jabbered away the trials and tribulations, and allowed the homeowner to give directions.While in the backseat of the car, I peered out the backseat window and realized just how far astray my dastardly deeds of daring do took me. Once home (meaning the same place occupied by my father and mother), I sat in the kitchen. Reunion with loved ones (who gave me up for lost and about to order a search party), the rendezvous with psychic crisis ended on a happy note. While carefully and slowly sipping a big mug of hot chocolate, I related the twice, told tale of woe!Epilogue found that gung-ho rearing to go, seat in the pants feisty zest to blaze a trail as a cross-country bicyclist severely bitten in the buttocks! That feverish, handlebar curling, hell-bent vision to travel the byways and highways of this sprawling spread of spectacular real-estate slowly but surely suffered a painless, private and quick demise!How unfortunate to find that exuberant enticement (to take in the panoramic diversity of flora and fauna extant from east to west coast) relegated to the irretrievable dustbin of personal predilections! Never again would this gamesome fellow ever cyclically gambol his psyche away on the spokes of fate and rush into the endorphin lane lightly where angels fear to tread!He now simply winces with envy on each and every occasion, a serious minded cyclist crosses his path when safely and securely behind the steering wheel of an automobile.Perhaps the challenge to ply human driven energy in a lightweight yet sophisticated bicycle (across large swaths of continental topography) will be fulfilled by either one or another (or perhaps even both) of my young daughters. No matter the aborted vision to experience the breath, scope and width of this grand country (from the vantage perch atop a bicycle seat), I reflect on that incident of self-resiliency as a poignant object lesson!Faith and optimism to surmount and transcend the dire crisis at hand (or foot) the pathway to salvation!

DAD COMES TO THE RESCUE

rutu789y

Joined December 2007

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