Saturday, September 19, 2009

They can never take that away

On my last trip home to Canada I came across the wicker basket that adorned the front of my Mother's bicycle. I remembered the basket for one reason only, a single day's bike ride.

It's a distant memory. One of my most distant. Shortly after I learned how to ride a bike, my Mom and I went for a ride out in the country. We rode along Lakeshore Road, over the canal, and into the farms and orchards of Niagara to get fresh strawberries.

The most memorable part was that the basket ended up overfilled with strawberries, and the jiggling of the basket as we rode meant our prize was liquifying itself as we went. So we had no choice but to (1) stop and enjoy the fresh strawberries along the roadside, and (2) make jam, once home. A great life lesson, it defined a perfect summer day. And it stained the bottom of the basket red.

That old bike is long gone. Mom's gone too. But the basket and stain remained. Until recently.

I had no choice. I couldn't sell this early-childhood memory at our yard sale. I took it home and mounted it on my "granny bike". My God it was useful! So convenient. And like taking a little part of Mom everywhere too.

I couldn't sell it. But I knew such a basket couldn't last on the bike either. It was only a matter of time. Only a matter of months.

Now there's a single zip-tie remaining around my handbar. It reminds me of where the basket used to be. Now I shall forever see the basket that used to be there. It's absence is a constant reminder. A reminder of a beautiful summer day, and the pure joy of cycling, and strawberries, and Mom. The basket is gone, but they can never take away the sweet memory.

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