Sunday, June 19, 2011

Flat Out Missing Daddy

My father has been gone for several years, and it was a day to remember him. And fix a flat, which is appropriate.

One of my enduring early memories of my dad was not only his love of biking—he owned what was in the early 1960s an exotic English bike but today would look like a common drop handle road 10-speed—but his frequent repair work on the bikes that we had for kid use.

Particularly, patching flats. I recall him with a bucket of water, a piece of chalk and a tube repair kit. He would find and repair the leak in the tube. The chalk and water were for finding difficult-to-detect leaks—he would feed the tube slowly through the bucket and mark with chalk any spot that bubbled. The water also helped check if the patch worked.

I’m 40 miles short on RAGBRAI training this week—have not ridden since Friday when I only put in one mile—sprang a leak. What with one thing an another (such as the fact I was unclear what size tube this bike needs and didn’t own a repair kit until a visit, late in the day Saturday, to Target) it was today before I patched my tube. Took a short ride to check it and it seems OK, but I’ll check it later when I hope to make up a few miles—probably only a few, since a daughter and some grandkids are coming over for a Father’s Day barbecue, so it will be a quick twilight ride.

I’m like my dad in some ways. One of my sisters noted that a photo of me in my gardening outfit on my other blog reminded her of dad.

On the other hand, I think he was better at using his hands—at patching leaks. I am a writer, neither an engineer nor the mechanic wanna be that some engineers are. And I barbecue, and otherwise cook, while his culinary output was limited to scrambled eggs and undrinkable instant coffee.

But, then again, we are pretty close. My coffee is not instant—but it is, in the best male Sheller tradition, virtually undrinkable.

Daddy, I’ll be thinking of you later on today if the patch holds and I can get some biking miles in. And if it’s doesn’t hold, I’ll be thinking of you even more, and wishing you were here with your chalk and your bucket.

Happy Father’s Day.

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