Bittersweet Fourth of July

I finally got my birthday present!

My birthday was back in May, but my parents could not afford to get me what I wanted – that is until today. I got a great surprise! Coolest Chopper in Town

A Chopper bike! It was nice! The sissy bar; the ape-hanger handlebars; the shifter; the tiny wheel upfront; the lean-and-mean slope it had; even the Kermit-the-frog green to match the family car. This bike was moving – even standing still!

The first thing my brother and I did was modify it. We leaned those ape-hangers as far forward as I could possibly reach. I barely had my butt on the edge of the seat, but I was hanging – out at the outskirts of my dreams!

It really was cool! My parents planned the whole day. We went to the park for a picnic by Indian Pond. The sky was a beautiful shade of azure with those little puffy clouds that slide into place every once in a while just to give us a burst of shade. I had all the hot dogs I could eat and spent the whole day riding. Everything was incredible and this was the best day of my life.

I even learned to ride a bike today. My brother, running out of patience in teaching me, wanted to ride it more often and would not let me have a turn riding my bike. “They got it for US!” was his reply, but I know it was mine – right? They didn’t get me anything for my birthday so this must be a way to make up for it – isn’t it?

At about 5pm, my brother and I got into a fight. He would not give up the bike and I ended pushing him off. My parents have had enough and loaded us back into the family wagon “the green machine” for the trip back home.

When we got home everybody was tired and all my brother and I did was argue – like brothers are supposed to do. We pull into the perfect parking space right in front of our brownstone – right in front of our basement gate.Home_ :: New York Brownstone

We unload the car but my brother and I argue over who will put the bike away. In the morning we woke up all excited about how wonderful our 4th-of-July had been. I run down to the basement just to feel the bike – after all, it could have been only a dream. I get there and no bike. Was it really a dream?

At the moment my brother comes up behind me and says – where’s the bike!? Didn’t you bring it in, fool? We look at each other with that little-kid-in-trouble look of – ooh-ooohh!

Running outside in our pajamas, we are struck by the glaring heat of a July morning in New York. Our eyes, adjusting to the brightness, start to focus on the green machine. Only to realize that the side-rear window, of the wagon, was shattered – like my dreams – into small bits, all splattered out on to the sidewalk.

I should have just put the bike away, but I guess it does not matter, at some point someone would have stolen it anyway.

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The Boys of Summer

Ahhh! the start of summer. This means no school, playing outside 24/7 and of course baseball. The Yankee Stadium is less than 4 miles away and summer camp always does a couple field trips to the ballpark.

I like the field trips to the ballpark much better than trips to the community pool. Last year, several bullies would hang around the pool and pick on the smaller kids. I hope they outgrow that this year.

Last year, they held my head under the water for what seemed like an eternity. I tried to hold my breath as long as I could. They were not going to get me!! I kicked as hard as I could! I was proud of myself – it was the longest I have ever held my breath. But I could not do it anymore, I started swallowing water with the taste of chlorine. It burned on the way down and it started to weigh me down. Fortunately for them, the lifeguard stopped them before I could work my way free. At least I assume it was the lifeguard, because when I came to, it was him that was giving me mouth-to-mouth at the edge of the pool.

But not this year! We are going to the home of Mickey Mantel, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris. The home of the world famous New York Yankees, to see a new star outfielder, Reggie Jackson. Maybe the Yankees can win the World Series this year.

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