Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Small Town Holiday

Today Tim Clifford shares his 4th of July holiday and observations of the kids and their bikes in his town.

So I live in a small New England college town right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. On the fourth of July my wife and I, with coffee in hand, wander 100 yards up the street to the center of town to the large rotary (or round-a-bout for those of you in the UK ). There we stand with the 2,000 other “townies” to watch the parade come through. Since college is on break for the summer, the majority of bikes we see at this event are with younger children. Actually most of the bikes were parked (unlocked) and the kids were off watching the parade.

Since I’m overly protective of what’s mine, I expect everyone should be overly protective of what’s theirs, and kids should learn this at a young age. I mentioned to my wife “these bikes must have been abandoned, and obviously they are now looking for a good home.” Of course she didn’t see the humor in my remark and abruptly told me NO, like I was a dog on a choke chain.

But it got the salesman in me wondering….why don’t kids, and for that matter, a lot of adults, lock their bikes? Is it true that most people only think about theft after something of theirs has been stolen? For many people their bike is their mode of transportation and I expect there is a larger percentage of that group that locks them up. But for the recreational user I can’t imagine coming out of the Seven Eleven and finding my bike stolen. The stroll home would truly be the walk of shame. I hope kids and adults don’t take crime too lightly and realize that as much as you love your bike, someone else wants to love it just as much. Keep it locked.

So, later that night my wife I walk to the end of driveway where we can see the fireworks exploding about a quarter mile away. It’s raining a little and the show seems to be somewhat shorter than previous years. Fine by me, since standing under an umbrella being chowed by mosquitoes is not my idea of fun. Off we go, back in the house and awhile later we go to bed.

At 11:30pm we’re now asleep, only to we awaken by a loud explosion. Being overly protective of what’s mine, I shot out of bed, cat flying through the air to see what happened. The fireworks were starting again !! Hours had gone by, everyone had gone home and now they were starting again!! As I mentioned, I’m overprotective of my things and sleep is one of them. As I was tripping over the second cat heading for the phone to call the fire department and complain my wife, once again, intervened and told me not to be that guy. You know, the miserable old guy (or lady) in the neighborhood that complains about everything. With that I tried to go back to sleep with what sounded like the invasion at Normandy happening down the street.

On my way to work the next morning, one eye closed as I tried to catch up on my lost sleep, I noticed the “abandoned” bikes in the center of town were gone. I hope all went home with their original owners.

- Tim Clifford

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