I recently wrote a post about riding to school on the bus, and it brought back so many memories! Here's something else that jumped into my mind...the way we'd walk or ride our bikes to the bus stop.
For those of you who never went to a rural school, you'll have no idea what this is like. We were to meet the bus at the neighbor's red house on the corner of our gravel road every morning. She didn't have any kids in school, but it was on the turn to some other houses. We must have been so pesky to her bickering and scaring her chickens every morning at 7:30! She probably thought she was past all that when she married off her last kids!
Anyway...our driveway was a rocky gravelish road of 1/4 mile or so. In the middle stretch of driveway was a moderate hill, an enourmous puddle we called a lake, and another huge very rocky hill. Every morning I'd load up my backpack, grab my clarinet and/or lunch, hop on my bike and head out. It was easy riding until we passed the turkey barn and silo. Then came the first hill. The trick to riding the driveway was to brake as little as possible on the way down hill #1, aim for the three inches of dry or muddy ground on the side of the lake, then pedal furiously up hill #2. If you could do that, you could almost make it up to the top before getting off and walking your bike up to the cattle guard.
I've often thought of myself tearing down one of the hills on my bike, gripping the handle bars along with the lunch box and hugely inconvenient band instrument, trying like crazy to hold on. The wind would whip through my hair and my heart rate would increase from the scariness of the ride...and we all did it twice a day!
We'd stow our bikes just over the cattle guard and walk the last bit through the field, then climb over the barb wire fence, trying not to catch hair, clothes, or any of our paraphenalia on a barb before jumping the ditch to get to the neighbor's house. On days we were late, it must have been a sight to behold!
Last year I walked the old driveway again with my kids. I was shocked at how steep the big hill was! Could I really have ridden down it at full speed with all my stuff? Yes...a lot! Was I just that athletic or just that stupid?
You should have seen my brother, Amos fly down. It's a miracle he can still walk!