Small Town Moment

The bicycle slowly climbed the slight incline staying in the middle of the residential street.

The rider, with child-like mannerisms, giggled in the summer shadows of the Victorian village’s 19th century brick homes that majestically lined "small town’s" streets.

“Keep balancing honey, you’re doing great!”

The cyclist's mom shouted as she jogged alongside the Schwinn.

The blue bicycle looked new, but was fitted with one of those oversized seats; like the type that you see vacationers, who are not accustomed to bike rides, maneuvering on the paths of popular beach destinations.

The young woman pedaling did not need the seat because she possessed a large body-type or anything. She just felt more comfortable with the bulky rest, and comfort had been a priority for the parents in their multi-year effort to teach their twenty-something daughter “Grace” to ride.

Grace had always beaten the odds. As an infant she had suffered brain damage, the victim of medical malpractice, and had not been expected to survive.

Despite her obstacles, she not only survived, but had grown-up healthy, joyful, and very self sufficient.

Grace lives each day with grace.

She is known in small town as the smiling worker at the tiny grocery store a few blocks to the south; eagerly bagging food purchases between 10 am and 3pm on most days of the week.

Grace’s parents, nearing retirement and saddled with the fear of not always being able to care for their only daughter, had invested countless hours to develop the young woman’s practical skills.

For the past couple of years, Grace has even lived in a group home within walking distance of work and her childhood house. Mom and Dad viewed this as a blessing--though Grace is no stranger at her parent’s home and can be seen regularly sitting on the porch swing with her father.

But today, all that did not seem to matter. This was her first "solo" ride.

Grace laughed and stuttered a few unintelligible words between pedals as her shoulder length hair was lifted by the breeze and movement.

Grace’s father ran ahead of his cycling daughter.

While trying to hide the tears streaming down his face with one hand, her dad stood at a four-way stop to halt traffic so that his slow moving family members could pass through safely.

Drivers waiting for the old man to signal them through the stop sign were not agitated by the unexpected delay, but instead waved to the dad and mom.

The town’s police officer, the only one on-duty, silently observed the spectacle from an adjacent church parking lot

I paused and watched the dad.

He was winded and obviously wishing he was in better physical condition as he continued to run ahead of the pair directing traffic through two more intersections.

During the scene, I also remembered hearing that the couple’s older son had moved back to town with his pregnant wife from out of state.

Grace was living and working on her own. She now had “young” family back in town to look after her for many years to come.

And her smile was big as she pedaled a bicycle, ever so slowly, on the street.

Their carefully constructed safety net was complete.

I am sure dad’s tears were for reasons in aggregate.

For one fleeting moment, in small town America, everything was right with the world.

22 comments:

Expat From Hell said...

This was great. What a great way to start the year, SD. You are off to a roaring start, my friend! EFH

terri said...

That's the kind of story that restores your faith in mankind.

 ALH said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I loved this post. Very well-written and heart warming. I can't wait to read more of your blog.

J. J. in Phila said...

It is great to see this kind of a "safety net."

Terrill Welch said...

Such a great "small town moment" to share with us. Makes the world seem just a little more friendly and caring. Nicely Done.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
This is lovely! A lovely tale. It shows the strength that a family can have, a community can have.

Thank you for the uplift,
Ann T.

Lipstick said...

Really beautiful. Reminds me very much of the father and (disabled) son cycling team. The father pedals and the son rides. They have been all over the country. I wish, wish I could recall their names...saw them on one of those news magazine shows, 20/20 or the like.

mrs. fuzz said...

Lipstick- ARe you thinking of Dick and Rick Hoyt? I thought of the same thing. Love watching their videos.

This was a great story Slamdunks. Thanks for sharing.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the kind words all.

And thanks to Mrs. Fuzz for the Hoyts answer. I had posted about their early last year.

torn blazer said...

i smiled all the way through this story.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

What a sweet, sweet story!

Javajune said...

Oh that was so touching and beautiful. This was beautifully written and so touching. Small triumphs can sometimes move mountains or at least feel like it.
xo-jj

Riversongs said...

Wonderful story! I loved it. As I read it, your words took me away and I felt as if I were there with them.

Janna Qualman said...

Slamdunk, that was just beautiful. Loved it, the picture you painted. Thanks for sharing that.

Nikole Hahn said...

Where is my box of tissues!? :o) Beautiful. For one moment, you brought us into a beautiful, uncomplicated moment. I forgot about our political storms, the man who cut me off, and enjoyed this peaceful respite. I believe I was cheering for Grace, too.

MONICA-LnP said...

That was fantastic,for a moment I was in a small town.
I have a cousin who's name just happens to be "Grace" too!

Amber Paterson Photography said...

You are an amazing writer! What a site! Thanks for your comment, it will be good to keep reading your blogs!

jodeeluna said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving an encouraging comment. I enjoyed reading your recent post and will continue reading more. I am also a Christian who once lived those early "exhausting yet glorious" years of raising children. I only wish there had been blogs in those days so my writing could have spilled out of journals! You have a gift!

Iva said...

such a sweet read....and you are a great writer!!

Holly said...

What a beautiful moment. This is a story that renews my hope in people. Parents like that are amazing and so are the kids. Thank you so much for sharing...lucky for you to get to see that moment.

Dan said...

And that acceptance of people, regardless of their abilities or afflictions, is one of the reasons I live in a small town.

Kristin said...

That was just plain out heart warming!