Sunday, June 5, 2011


When I was eight years old, the best television show I had ever seen or could conceive of premiered on NBC.  Then Came Bronson starred Michael Parks (who also sang the theme song, which was a pretty big radio hit), and followed the "lone hero walks the Earth and has adventures" model, plot-wise.

Bronson rode a red Harley Sportster, sported brown suede boots, and was just generally cool.  Occasional shots in the series would show him blasting down the highway, standing on the pegs (very dramatic), which was something that had never occurred to me.  I always associated standing up with climbing hills, or sprinting, on a bicycle.  Motorcycles allowed you to do both, sitting down.  So, seeing my hero ride his motorcycle in what I considered "bicycle style" thrilled me.

One day, my sister and I got permission to take our bikes somewhere (I honestly don't remember where we went) on Shacklett Drive, in the opposite direction of the Dead End.  That was exciting, in a way, to get to ride where I was normally forbidden. 

We were heading out to Daytona Beach, Florida, the next day for a family car-vacation, so we had to be home at a specific time to finish getting ready for the trip.  The time came, and we headed home.

 Coming home from that direction, we would descend the shorter, steeper side of the creek cut on Shacklett.  I was looking forward to getting up some speed, then coasting uphill to our driveway.  At the top of the hill, I stood up and sprinted as hard as I could go, standing on the pedals.

"Look at meee!  I'm Bronson!"  I yelled, as I winged my way down the hill.

Then, when I passed the end of the Watson's driveway, almost at the very bottom of the hill, I hit some gravel which had washed out onto the road.  What followed was the thing that motorcycle riders refer to as a "tank-slapper":  My handlebars shimmied wildly back and forth as I went into a high-speed wobble.  The tall, wide ape-hanger handlebars on my bike didn't help things, and I went down hard in the middle of the road.

I was tangled up in my bike as I bounced and slid down the pavement, over more of the gravel from the Watson's drive, and finally ended up in a heap in the middle of the street.  Joy skidded to a halt, beside me.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine.  Just go on and leave me alone!"  I said.  Pain and fear and embarrassment all combined, as I lay there, and I really just didn't want anyone to look at me.

Joy went to the house, and told Momma and Daddy I'd be along, shortly.  Of course, when I finally did drag my bruised and bloody carcass in the door, all hell broke loose.  Joy got a spanking for leaving me behind, even though both of us begged for mercy.  I told them I  had sent her on, but Momma and Daddy were of the opinion that she should have stayed to help me, anyway.

I couldn't straighten my elbow, which was swollen and bloody, and my knee looked like it had caught a shotgun blast.  So, I was bundled into the car, and I got my first two-wheeler related trip to the Emergency Room.

Once there, at the ER, the elbow was pronounced unbroken, and received a big band-aid.  My knee got a nice big dressing with a large yellow blob of something (a "butter-bandage", the doc called it), then it was wrapped in about ten yards of gauze to help protect it from bumps.

The next day (and the next few days after that) was a bit uncomfortable, in the back seat of the family car.  If you think kids complain about siblings on a normal road trip, try having one half-mummified in bandages sitting in the back seat.

I still feel sorry for Momma and Daddy, on that trip.



  1. We were ridig up to our paper boy's house with a note telling him that we would be gone and didn't need the paper for a week. We delivered the note and you had the wreck on the way home. Considering all the mean things I did to you that I didn't get spanked for, I think we can overlook this one.

  2. Holy cow. I've never heard of that show but I googled it and it sounds awesome. I better see if I can find some episodes online.


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