Me and Fifty-6


This year I told my children what I was getting me for my birthday, not what I wanted for my birthday. There’s also this story I shared with them; how I’d always wanted a red convertible for my 55th birthday, or my dream car, a Toyota Land Cruiser. At fifty-five I could afford neither. But then again, I don’t know too many, or any, writer who’s driving around in an $85,000 car. That’s why it’s a dream car. However, I wasn’t going to turn fifty-six without getting a new ride. Realistically, I wasn’t even close to getting a red convertible, make or model didn’t matter, or even a Toyota Yaris. But I wanted something special.

Then, as I was writing something for my BeEncouraged blog, the perfect idea came to mind. With good ole Google’s help, I went shopping for a birthday present; a bicycle. I’d started walking the trails at the beginning of summer, and it seems a good idea to add biking. My decision finalized, I did extensive research on bikes; manufactures, make, models, types, etc. Satisfied with my statistics, a beach cruiser it was, something simple. I’d only be using the bike trails close by, so it didn’t have to be mechanically impressive. Mind you, I had not ridden a bike since I was a teenager. Then in my thirty’s, I did once or twice.

I texted, emailed or messaged my children with the picture of the white, Huffy Nel Lusso I’d decided to get. Everyone was excited, each sending me compliments that would send my spirits high. Blissful with their approval, I ordered my bike, requesting that it is assembled when I pick up. I also ordered some accessories, a lock, an extra large helmet to accommodate my dreadlocks, and a cute mini license plate with my logo and Ophie2020 written on it. Like a five-year-old on Christmas morning, I sent a picture of that to my children. Everybody loved it, and their compliments were just what I needed at the time. It was love at first sight, to say the least when I picked up my new ride.

Fairweather during this Fall would not permit me to ride Fifty-6 until four weeks later. Yes, I named her Fifty-6. Finally, on December 2nd I took my new best friend for our first ride. It was a sunny and pleasant day, and I was geared up. I mounted Fifty-6 and hit the bike trail wearing my helmet, a pair of comfortable Croc sneakers, set the GPS to map the route, as well as my bike computer to record data of my trip; distance, time, speed… everything. All was well until I reached the 1.5-mile mark and heard quaking ducks in a near distance. The trail snakes near a pond. Ten feet from the pond were a million ducks, quaking loud and proud. Ok, maybe about sixty.

I press my coaster brakes slightly, came to a complete stop, and quietly dismounted. When I looked up, more ducks were flying in, landing from all directions.
“Ok, Ophie,” I said to myself, “What’s it going to be? Ride, hide, run, or walk?”

By now my legs were too tired to out-run a bunch of flying ducks, and Fifty-6 is a beach cruiser. The decision would be easy, of course; legs or pedals. In the main time, sixty or more ducks quaked on. Above my head more ducks flew in, now landing closer to where I was.

Standing beside Fifty-6, holding onto her handlebars, I made sure all sixty or more ducks were at a standstill and quietly made a U-turn. I marched away, almost a hundred feet with Fifty-6 by my side, before mounting her. We rode away so bravely, Fifty-6 and I, leaving the loud quaking ducks to enjoy their beautiful day at the pond.

Fate put aside, some unseen force draws each person toward the lesson needs to be learned, or the life that needs to be lived, or the fulfillment that needs to be achieved. Neither a red convertible nor a Toyota Land Cruiser would have given me the experience I enjoyed that day. God’s willing; I pray there would be many more beautiful experiences I’d have with Fifty-6 to share with you. And, no matter what you are facing, be encouraged; perhaps the ultimate happiness comes when the disappointments are your greatest blessings. Such is the pattern of life. Find your fun after fifty.

bike trail and ducks