Search This Blog

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Life on the Fast Corner, Lap Two…

the fast cornerAccording to Brett de Vries, the yellow caution flag has been out on The Tualco Valley Speedway recently. Brett motioned me over for a pit stop chat the other day. “Have you noticed the sheriff out in the Valley lately?” he asked. When I told him I hadn’t, Brett filled me in on the latest development  in the campaign to discourage speeding on the Tualco Loop Road (“The Tualco Valley Speedway…or Life on the Fast Corner,” 9/16). I replied that I hadn’t.

“About four o’clock every afternoon,” Brett complained, “ they’d line up in both lanes on down the road between Ed’s and Tony’s and race each other to the corner. One afternoon I saw them setting up to race and backed my rig across the right lane in front of the house.” The two drivers, both of foreign origin, pulled back in line when they saw the lane blocked. “They stared at me; I stared at them,” Brett continued. “Then they flashed me the familiar American sign language and drove off. That’s when I called the sheriff’s office and asked to talk to a sheriff. I told him the county road had become a speedway and he could empty his ticket book in just a couple of evening patrols.” Thinking back on the incident, Brett admitted his roadblock perhaps wasn’t the most prudent thing to do since he set up the blockade right in front of his residence. If the speeders’ had retaliation on their minds, I thought, at least they’d have to slow at the corner to take aim at their target.

“Farm machinery uses the road,” Brett explained to the sheriff, “and there’s a precious old man who routinely rides his bike along this stretch.” A precious old man? Riding a bicycle? Who might that be, I wondered, but only for a moment. The bicycle tipped me off. Brett was talking about me; I was the “precious old man.” For a moment I was speechless. In my thirty-one years of teaching, I’ve weathered countless terms of endearment, but I can say with certainty that “precious” was not among them. In fact I can’t recall that term ever being used in reference to myself. And just as I was basking in the glow of  preciousness, Brett hit me with “old man,” a designation that nearly poleaxed me: first time, and to my face, anyone had ever referred to me as an “old man.” The “precious” quickly sloughed off into the void and I was left feeling like I should be wearing a baseball cap with the words “Old Geezer” printed boldly on the brim. “Old man,” eh?   Jim Werkhoven remarked a year or so ago: “They say seventy is the new sixty, but don’t believe it…seventy is seventy, that’s the truth of the matter, pure and simple….” Brett had pretty much said the same thing, but in a gentler way.

So I continued on my way, just a “precious old man” taking some small consolation in the fact that while he was pedaling along the Tualco Valley Speedway, someone was looking out for him and all the other precious old men in the Valley.

Print this post

No comments:

Post a Comment