Thursday, September 07, 2006

# 180 BLOG FOG and a DOG JOG

There is Blog fog on the deck at seven in the morning. And although the Blog Fog is wispy, floaty, and hard to collect, I managed to snag a wee wisp while sitting out there earlier today.

But before I share those thoughts, I should tell you that the twins from next door walked the doggies with us last night, as they generally do. This is a special time for them and they had loads of stuff to tell us. The excitement of the first day back at school kept them chatting at high speed throughout the walk. About new teachers, new classrooms, new clothes, and new friends. They poured out their excitement and were so flattered when Hub and I noticed their new school shoes and as a result took exceptional care to walk the paths that were clean and dry.

I laughed when I saw them coming up the driveway and went out to greet them. They both stopped, one twin grabbed the other by the hand, and posing together as if for a picture, they yelled in unison, “Roberta, you are now looking at two Grade fivers! How neat is that?”

And later when they were preparing to leave, Boy Twin said to me in a sadly disappointed voice, “I want to ride my bike to school but Mom says ‘no’. She says it is too far and I’m too young.”

So whether these next thoughts come from his comment, or from the exactness of the flavor of the air that marks every September, or from the bit of Blog Fog I snagged on the deck, I can’t say for sure. All I know is that this morning I found myself sniffing the air and reminiscing about my own excitement each September.

Starting in Grade five, I, too, wanted to ride my bike to school and I did. I rode my bike to school for a time every September for a few years and always, after the fact, wondered what drove me to do it. But usually after biking for no more than a week, the chill of early Fall mornings forced me to return to riding the bus. And then I would wonder why I did such a silly thing in the first place.

It was not that I was proud of my bike with its beat-up fenders, lop-sided basket, peeling paint, and tatty seat. In fact it was such a decrepit old thing, it was a definite embarrassment. And it was not because we lived in flat country where one could build up speed and coast effortlessly most of the way. We lived in such rolling country that I tell you the honest-to-God-truth when I say that ‘it was uphill both ways’. And after the first two miles of packed road, there was that impossible-to-maneuver long stretch of loose gravel.

But I was too excited about a new school year to wait for the bus. By starting for school an hour or more earlier, on my bike, I could get there long before the bus. And when you’re that excited about your destination, it’s good to get there early. Even if your old bike sets a negative tone among your peers of how poor you are. Does it matter? You know you’re dirt poor, they know you’re dirt poor, and you also know you have no hope of counteracting this hard fact despite first-day’s new shoes and first-day’s new home-made dress recycled from an old lavender ball gown.

It seems life is in the moment when you are a kid and there is nothing to be gained, when you’re in Grade Four, by ‘fashionable lateness’. That impresses no one. It could even be cause for ‘detention’. But everyone is impressed if you are early because that is what’s important. First on the ball diamond if you want to be ‘batter’. First to the bookshelf if you want to get the best book. First on the bus, or in the classroom, if you want the best seat. (Seems like the pushing and shoving and fighting occur, more often than not, in the middle of the queue rather than up front.)

The twins understand this stuff about getting there first. They are never late (more often too early) for dog jogs. And every game we play with them in the woods or meadows while on a dog jog ends up with the summation that has been a favorite of all kids for all time – “Last one there is a rotten egg!”

3 Comments:

Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Roberta,
I loved the post AND the title! Your descriptions are delicious and the thought of that beat-up bike made me laugh outloud. Hope the coming week is wonderful!

7:51 PM  
Blogger the old bag said...

Love the post -- great descriptions of kid-hood, being first and the old bicycle!

8:39 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Thank you Lucy for visiting. It's always such a pleasure to have you and to know that you enjoyed your visit.

OB, I thought of you when I was writing this post. It seemed more relevant to you than others. So I am really pleased that you commented.

10:45 AM  

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