Before I post this story, I want to say a few words about the title of this post. Years ago, when I first started blogging, I wrote about travel adventures, jobs and general life as I lived it. I called these installments the Magical Mystery Tour. This title is directly from the Beatles album of the same name. When my children were very young, Mrs. Spadoman would take them on what she called a Magical Mystery Tour, which usually included towing the three girls through a grocery store and stopping at every free sample cart in existence. In more recent times, I have had the extreme honor of posting comments on and receiving comments from a Blogger that goes by the name of Magical Mystery Teacher. MMT writes Haiku and posts fabulous photos for Shadow Shot Sunday, Ruby Tuesday, Haiku Friday and others. I just want to go on record and tell you to visit the Magical Mystery Teacher Blog, because it is a good one, and that I used this post title years ago and have rejuvenated it on Mondays at Round Circle.
This is a true story. I looked for it in my external hard drive after I read a blog post by rochambeau on her blog today. Her story was about a new bicycle. She ended the post with these words, "Now, please tell me your bike story!"
I urge you to check out both of the blogs I mention here, Magical Mystery Teacher and rochambeau. They can be found on my side bar or by clicking the highlighted links above.
Here it is Constance, my bike story:
So, I’m at home. We were in an apartment back then. Wasn’t all that long ago, what, 1998. I was going to move up to Two Harbors, MN and live in this cabin we bought, but Barb got offered a great job at Macalester College in Saint Paul, so we stayed there and bought a house. I was still on the movie crews. Barb took the new job and was going for a little stability.
My daughter was pregnant with her first child, our first Grandchild. The then boyfriend, now husband, soon to be ex-husband was confused and didn’t seem to want to be a Father again. He had two daughters from wife number one and it was a nightmare when they split up. He took to flight and Barb and I took care of our daughter.
We bought her a mobile home in a rural community out near where we were living at the time. Her man came back into her life. Down deep he showed he cared and did the right thing. They lived in the mobile home and she had Arianna, my first Granddaughter.
During a pretty hard winter, the mobile home roof packed up with ice and collapsed. the furnace went out and the kids were just too poor to fix it. I didn’t have the money or credit to do anything about it either. Barb and I moved out of our own home, the one we had bought when Barb took the job at the college, and we moved in to an apartment a few blocks away. We let the kids move in to our place.
The apartment was situated along the Interstate, I-35, near downtown Saint Paul, MN. In the city, there is a huge wall, maybe 20 feet tall, to keep the noise from the roadway on the roadway and let the neighborhood be a bit quieter. Along this wall, which was right across the street from our apartment, there was a bike path. I liked being close to the bike path.
I walked it and rode it with my bike. If we went left, we went to the Mississippi River and connected with other trails, to the right, we were three blocks from the bus stop and connected to anywhere in the Twin Cities. It was a great urban area in a great big small town. If you had to be in a city, Saint Paul was a good one to be.
One day, it was getting close to dinner. It was summer. I was making some fillings and we were going to just have some tacos. I needed some fresh jalapenos. I jumped on my Schwinn as the grocery was about six blocks away.
The West Seventh neighborhood was unique in that it was blue collar and been very stable over the years. A melting pot of cultures as the years rolled by. The old inhabitants did not move away, the influx of a growing cities population brought new energy to the area. Not all of it good, but not all of it bad either. The neighborhood had some crime and gang activity, but no murders and not too many crack house raids.
The grocery store was an anthropology lesson played out in real life. Blacks, Hmong and Whites shopped there. Blacks, Hmong and Whites worked there. Multi cultural from the ancient to the modern. If you paid attention when you went shopping there, you might learn something.
I went in and got four fresh jalapeno peppers and put the little plastic bag in my pocket. When I went outside, my bike was gone. I was in there five freaking minutes and some one had taken my bike. It was a blue 21 speed Schwinn Searcher aluminum frame cross breed bike. I paid a lot for it and it was gone.
Usually, if I am a victim, my response is this, “Maybe they needed it more than I did. It was meant to happen to me.” I’ll accept it, because there is little that one can do to change history. It happened. What can I do about it now. I was hungry. Those tacos were waiting and I had the peppers. But now I had to walk six blocks.
Walking was hard for me those days. It still is to some extent, but back then, I didn’t know I was just months away from another heart attack. I didn’t feel like walking home. I went back into the store and told the manager that my bike had been stolen and asked if I could use the phone.
“To call the police?” she asked.
“No, to call my wife to pick me up and take me home.” I said
She offered to drive me home as she was leaving right then anyway. I accepted the ride and got home and told Barb what had happened. As we were chopping the japalenos, (not a spelling error, that’s what we call ‘em), and filling our taco shells with all the fragrant spiced chicken, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, sour cream, olives and peppers, (man that sounds good), we looked outside and lo and behold. My bike goes whizzing by on the bike trail with a youthful rider mounted and pedaling.
I raced out the door, jumped in to the Oldsmobile and took off. The Oldsmobile was a great automobile. 1984 Custom Cruiser station wagon, the big full-size wagon, not the little Cutlass. I has always done what I have asked of it. Now, it was squealing around the corner and out onto Harrison Avenue and after that blue Schwinn being ridden by the thief.
The street ran alongside the bike trail. At the end of the block, the street took a hard left and headed away from the interstate and that big sound barrier wall. The bike trail continued straight along the wall to the south.
I had the pedal down to the floor. The Olds was making revs. The kid was pedaling regular until I yelled, “Hey, that’s my bike.”
He started to pedal faster, I was still some ways behind him and I was running out of street fast. I pulled the wheel a little down on the right and jumped the curb, the bike was close. I went between a tree and a fire hydrant. The Olds hopped the curb with delight. The chase was on.
I reached back and grabbed a golf club. yes, the driver. I had been golfing earlier and they were still back there, on the seat. A stroke of luck to be lazy and not put my toys away when I’m through with them.
Grabbing the shaft like a spear, I pulled along side the bike and thrust the club. It made the spokes of the front wheel and the rider went head over into the embankment alongside the trail. The bike went down. I put on the brakes before I ran out of real estate as the trail narrowed to go into a wooded portion.
The kid got up and ran like hell. I got out, picked up my three wood and my bike and put them into the car. I backed out of the corridor and went home. Barb saw me coming home. I hoped she hadn’t eaten all the tacos! I looked at the bike and saw that I would need a new front wheel. A small price to pay to get my bike back.
Later, I was in the back of the apartment building. Across the alley and a house down, some boys were shooting hoops by the garage. I looked over there and I saw a familiar face. It was the bike thief. I hadn’t lived in the apartment very long and the nature of apartment living in the city is that the home owners don’t come over with the welcome wagon. I didn’t know this kid, but only recognized him from the episode on the bike trail.
He went around the garage and out of site when he saw me. I waited around and when he peeked out to see if I was gone, I looked at him and gave him a look as if to say, “I know who you are.” as I pointed my finger at him and cocked it up and down a little.
I’m sure he had a watchful eye on me from then on. I hope he told his friends, “That’s a crazy sonnabitch over there, stay away from him.”
After a time, we left the apartment and went back to the house. Years later, I am in Ashland, Wisconsin. I still had my bike, but one morning, I went out and it was gone. I guess I figured that someone needed it more than I did.
I guess it would be easy for you to have an opinion about me chasing down this kid on my stolen bike, you, my friend and casual reader, would say, “This Spado guy is an asshole”
Just know that I have other emotions as well. This week, we will lay to rest a dear friend that passed. My adrenaline will flow in a different direction.
I accept the assessment. Guilty as charged. But it is what happened. I cannot turn back the clock and I won’t deny my past. Thank you for accepting me as I am.