THE TIME OF MY LIFE by Brenda Looney
I got quite a shock this week when I retrieved the mail and saw a letter addressed to me. It was a letter I knew would be coming someday, but I guess one never gets used to facing some realities. I just stared at the return address, and thought to myself.....this can't be....is it really that time already? I didn't open it right away, but instead went to the nearest mirror and looked.....I mean... really looked at myself. I assessed the image looking back at me. I didn't look any older than I did yesterday.....and I sure didn't feel any older, but this letter I had in my hand was proof of it. I had been invited to join AARP ...... The American Association of Retired Persons. There was even an offer to subscribe to Modern Maturity inserted in with the invitation. I sat down with the letter in my hands and tried to let it sink in that I am now in some computer bank somewhere listed as old. This fact gave me pause to reflect back on earlier times in my life when I really looked forward to birthdays. In fact, my birthday was the most important day of the year. I always gave my age with the appropriate fraction of a year attached....such as....7 and a half.....or 8 and a half. It was as though I couldn't wait for that next digit to come. One birthday is especially memorable.
It was July, 1957. Mom had planned a big birthday party for me and had invited all my friends from school and church. Mrs. Mackenzie, the next door neighbor, had ordered me a wonderful, buttercream frosted birthday cake from Sanders bakery. There were party hats and annoying horns to blow, and lots of games to play. For a special treat Daddy had some cartoons to show on the old projector he set up. We watched Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Abbot and Costello, and also some Laurel and Hardy movies. These were silent movies of course, but still so much fun to watch. The kids were wild with excitement. Finally the big moment came when mom brought in the cake with the candles lit and everyone sang Happy Birthday. I paused, closed my eyes, made a wish for a brand new bike, and with all my might blew out all seven candles. Opening presents was so exciting and I got lots of wonderful things.....board games, cards with dollars tucked into them, books and clothes.
The kids and I moved outdoors to have a water balloon fight and play some other games. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Daddy walking up the driveway holding onto a beautiful, blue bike. I ran over and squealed loudly, "Oh daddy, thank you, thank you, thank you." I grabbed him around the waist and hugged him so tight as he leaned over for some "sugar" as he used to call it. I gave him the biggest kiss and told him, "I love you Daddy." The kids gathered around and admired my new birthday gift....the gift of freedom.....my own bike.
I had never had a two-wheeler before and didn't know how to ride one. There were training wheels attached. I begged Daddy to teach me to ride. This was one of those momentous occasions that called for the movie camera to be brought out to capture. Daddy helped me onto the seat and explained to me how to steer and told me if I wanted to stop to just reverse the pedals. He put his arms around me and held me and ran alongside. I was excited and a bit scared, but just having Daddy there beside me helped reassure me. He kept telling me, "You can do it", and I believed him. I rode up and down the street all afternoon. Every so often Daddy would re-adjust the training wheels moving them up a little at a time. By the end of the day he removed the training wheels and I was confidently riding my new bike. Daddy attached some playing cards with clothespins on the spokes so that they would make the wonderful 'clicking' sound. I had a horn that I would blow over and over to announce to the world that I was coming. One more milestone passed. I was now much more grown up as I had achieved another skill to bump me up the ladder into maturity.
I have the home movies put on tape now. I can pop them into the VCR and relive those precious childhood moments. It is as though it were yesterday as I watch that 7 year old birthday girl riding down the street on her new bike. I am filled with tears of joyful remembrance of that special day spent with daddy. I can still feel his loving arms around me and hear his voice telling me not to be afraid .... that he will catch me if fall.
I will not be afraid of growing old, even if AARP is reminding me it's time. I will find joy in turning 50 and to celebrate I'll get out the new bike my son bought and climb on and go for a ride....even though it's been many decades since I've been on a bike. I will think of Daddy and feel his touch and hear his voice, and will have no fear.....
Happy Father's Day Daddy. I miss you.
Memories of an Abundant Life * Family Ties * Flowers & Friends
Grandpas' Picture * In Rememberance * Letter to My Father
The Time of My Life * My Father * To My Husband
Sweetheart Overseas * My Dove * My Favorite Places
My Garden in Bloom * My Animal Children * No More
New Pages !!!
Christmas Gift * Pumpkin * Empty Nest * Beyond Tears * The Red Rose * Annie's Story of Great Depression *
Garden Pictures * Coming Into Manhood * I Love How You Love Me *
Time To Give Thanks * Autumn Memories * Sunset *My First Mothers' Day *
The Gift * Neighbors * Seasons of Life
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