Monday, July 04, 2005

Spittin' Cherries

Saturday I rode thirty miles to try out the new I-35E bridge, which has a pedestrian/bike sidewalk, unlike the older version. I think this opened this spring; I had seen it driving over the bridge, but hadn't ridden it. So, off I rode. I took lots of photos of this bridge, and of the Highway 55 bridge over the Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota bridge over the Mississippi, all photos I'm going to use when I get around to writing a Two Cities Two Wheels site and post photos of these things. I chatted to a guy at Lake and Hiawatha looking for Saint Paul and showed him my Twin Cities Bike Map, one I'd recommend for anyone riding around the area and available at most local bike stores. I stopped at Freewheel and bought a new, shorter stem to bring my handlebars back a bit, and also a brass bell. I rode home and put this stuff on, mounting the bell on the vertical part of the stem, a different mounting than I've done before.

Sunday we were hosting coffee hour with another family. They did an American flag cake, we did a British flag cake, both white frosting with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries for the color. We also did a bowl of cherries. Geneva and I rode Saturday night up to Cub Foods, where cherries were on for $1.49 a pound, and bought five pounds, then rode home in the gathering dusk, Geneva chattering happily away.

We didn't ride to church Sunday, as there was frequent lightning and driving rain at the time we'd have had to leave, so we all drove in the car. After church, the cherries didn't all go, though the cakes did. I have to say, the Union Jack has a better blend of berry flavors than the Stars and Stripes, which have all the blueberries up in one corner. We took the cherries and put them in the car trunk then went down to Southdale Hospital to visit a friend who is in with pretty bad cancer. Geneva's same knack for chattering away on the ride home from the grocery store also lets her brighten up a room, and our visit was a happy one for someone in pretty dire straits.

Leaving, I was concerned about the cherries cooking in the trunk, so we got out the big mixing bowl, rolled down the windows and drove off down 66th happily spitting cherry pits out the windows. Karla was admonishing us not to get any in the new car (a 2004 Toyota Avalon) or down the sides, but then she's an only child who didn't spend happy summer days in the '60s spittin' pits while roaring down the highway with no air conditioning in the car. Her mom would not have approved. My kids approved, roaring with delight and laughter as we went Ptoeee! out the side windows, trying to hit signs, the grassy median or sewer grates. All except Karla, too elegant for this sort of nonsense, who collected the pits demurely in a paper towel and resisted entreaties to do one big shotgun spit with them at the end when we were all out of ammo.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago that really struck me. It talked about how what children remember and what parents remember of childhood are often wildly at odds, that kids will remember the daftest and silliest things, not the Important Moments. I don't know if in the end the kids will remember riding up to the store to get cherries for church or driving back from the hospital spitting pits out the window, or both, or neither, but the time spent in these sort of things, bicycling and non-bicycling, feels like time well spent.


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,
I think I may have been the salesperson at Freewheel who helped you with finding a stem.

Nice blog. Thanks for linking me. I'll return the favor next time I get around to fiddling with my templates.

Matt said...

Hey Jim, thanks for the comment. You know, I should have asked for you but I kept getting questions--some guy was intrigued by my Bell Metro's folding mirror and a couple of ladies wanted to see how the pannier attached to the rack and wondered that a bag of groceries wouldn't make the bike unbalanced. I told them I had just bought groceries that morning and that you guys sold grocery panniers and they sounded interested in looking at them. One convert at a time, I guess.

kentuckyliz said...

Matt, I like your parenting comments that you incorporate into the whole exercise of bikenerdiness. Brill. From your sister Liz, who accidentally started a blog while trying to set up a sign-on to leave you a comment.