About a half a million years ago or so it seems I was a kid. A essential part of my being a kid took place in the mid to late 1970’s and involved bicycles.
When school would let out for the Summer, you had two basic things to do. The first was to work in the garden along with your normal chores and the other was to ride your bike.
When all the chores were done or we didn’t have to work in the garden, my older brother and I would hook up with some of our friends and go ride bikes.
On this particular day my brother Tony, another guy named Tony, my best friend Frankie and I took off our goal was to ride down to the little community of Coal Springs which was about seven miles from our house.
The only problem with getting to Coal Springs is that you had to ride down Laxative Mountain.
Laxative Mountain got it’s name from the fact that the road was so steep and so curvy that if it didn’t scare the crap out of you then nothing would.
On this morning we all met up at the other guy named Tony’s house where he and I made a trade on a bicycle, I traded and older bicycle to him for a newer three speed bicycle that I would later learn had no brakes.
After finishing up our trade we headed toward Coal Springs, laughing and joking and occasionally running each other off the road into ditches, mailboxes, and road sign posts, we finally reached the top of Laxative Mountain.
My older brother was the first to start down the steep, curvy hillside, followed by Tony, and Frankie, as I had been the most recent recipient of a head on crash with a mailbox I brought up the rear.
Since none of us used brakes on a regular basis, it was on the side of the mountain that I discovered my recent upgrade in bicycles had none.
Frankie was the first person I passed as he had stopped to talk to some workers putting in new sign posts on the hill, except for the lack of brakes I too would have stopped.
As I flew by the Tonys, I screamed to my brother “How do I stop this thing?”
He replied “Gear down.” Okay here’s where I add a not, gearing down does not work on bicycles and the old three speed bicycles that have the shifter built onto the nut bar requires that you take one hand off the handle bars to use the shifter.
When going down Laxative or any other mountain this is not a good idea.
I made it through the first two curves without much trouble, but the main steep slope was ahead of me and with it came a sharp curve at the bottom of the mountain.
It was at the bottom of the mountain I realized that the road went one way and I another as I sailed across a bank, skipped like a stone across a pond, and landed in a heap of tangled bicycle, flesh and barbedwire (from a fence that I encountered somewhere in all of that).
By the time I my trail of destruction ended and I came to a complete stop, my brother and friends were there.
I of course was there as well spitting out tree bark, barbed wire, bugs, and a catfish.
You would think someone’s brother coming up on them covered in blood from head to toe from the multitude of scratches and cuts I had, would ask “Are you okay?”
Not my brother.
Nope, the first thing my brother said was “Mom’s going to kill you for ruining your shirt and shoes, and tearing the patches off them britches.”
You would think my friends would ask “Are you okay?”
Nope, not my friends the first thing the other Tony said was, “I found what’s left of your shoe over by the ditch. Man, your mom is going to kill you.”
My friend Frankie finally arrived and all he could say was, “What’s that smell?”
After walking into the woods so that I could check myself thoroughly I was pleased to find that Laxative Mountain had not live up to it’s name with me on this particular incident.
Straightening out the front forks on my bike we carried on.
We arrived at the Coal Springs grocery about twenty minutes later where I hosed myself off, drank a cold drink (soda, pop, coke, or whatever you prefer to call them) and prepared for the journey back home.
The funny thing is that I was more afraid of arriving home and facing mom than I was when I was going off the mountain.
Needless to say she didn’t kill me, although she did add a little insult to injury or maybe it was a little more injury to injury over the fact that I had ruined my clothes.