As I left on my daily bike ride yesterday, I realized that there was twice or thrice the amount of traffic on the road as normal. I chalked it up to oldsters returning from the northlands and I quietly prayed to heaven that all had something of their mental faculties remaining yet and that all had vision a bit better than 20/200, or those termed “legally blind.”
So, I pedal five miles up to the north draw bridge and, as I have done every day this week and last, I cross over and do the “big loop” into Englewood. This route, about twice my normal round trip island ride, is 20 miles in toto. But hey, now that the heat has abated somewhat the weather is gorgeous and I am in absolutely no rush. So. . . .
As is my wont on these longer trips, I pause to rest at Indian Mound Park. It’s nice and quiet at this park on Lemon Bay. Standing by the water’s edge, with our backs to the lapping waves and our vows aimed at the preacher woman, this is where Michelle and I were wed two years before (above, minus the regatta; oddly enough, almost directly across the bay is where we live). Anyway. . . .
On this day I just lay on a bench with my feet up (avoiding the fire ants below) and while I sweated and rested, I listened to “and I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?” by CCR playing on some sun-bathing fellow’s cassette. When I saddled up I made quick chit-chat with the guy and he said something like, “Yeah, I'm really enjoying this—blah-blah-blah--and it's better than Manasota Beach—blah-blah-blah--today and with the bridge—blah-blah-blah.” I didn’t catch the last part but I laughed and agreed with the man even though he may have just warned me that an asteroid was scheduled to hit Englewood in five minutes. Okay. . . .
After another three miles with the mid-day sun now beating down, it dawned on me what the man had said. A sign ahead announced “Bridge Out” and sure enough, as I slowed for the obvious, the deputy directing traffic to turn around laughed, “You can go on ahead if you want but you’ll need to pedal pretty fast to jump the two spans.” It also was now clear why there had been so much traffic earlier on the island road. And so. . . .
With the south draw bridge (below) stuck in “open,” that left me only four choices: Since 3 of the 4 options involved my demise--1) laying my tired bones down forever and dying of hunger, thirst, etc., 2) stepping in front of a truck and suiciding then and there on the spot, and 3) swimming Lemon Bay with the bike on my back--I decided to honor my marriage vows by sticking it out through thick and thin. Slowly, I began to pedal back the loooong way I had come. Where the necessary energy would come from I had no clue, but. . . .
An hour or so later, I completed my 40-mile marathon with zero mishaps but so tanked and tuckered that today the light rain provides the perfect excuse to let my suffering bones be.
Several blogs back I mentioned that when navigating parking lots here in Florida, this Jack is indeed very nimble and quick. Why?
Michelle told me a story yesterday related to her recently. Seems this elderly couple stopping at a local grocery store had parked and while the wife got out with her walker the husband screwed around trying to remember how to turn the car off. As the woman was passing slowly behind the vehicle, one of the legs of her walker slipped on a piece of gravel causing her to fall. Well, since he was so preoccupied with the car keys the addled husband naturally didn’t see his wife disappear and, of course, he naturally chose this moment—of all things--to back up. Now, rolling over something similar in size and shape to a large log might cause most folks to stop and check it out; but not this old fellow. And again—and in the face of all logic--Instead of continuing backwards, the man now found his “drive” gear again, then drove over the “log” once more. Had not passersby stopped him, the husband might have remained in that parking lot all day, rolling backwards and forwards over his dead wife.