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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The great day of pavement finally arrived to our long ago home address on Hickman Road. Fascination became intertwined with awe and amazement as we beheld the workings of the large machinery and workmen transforming our lowly dirt road to one of asphalt with cement curbs.

When the process was finally finished, we were elated by the smoothness of the "down the hill" bike ride. Before, one had to be ever vigilant to dodge the holes and ruts, but now it could be a relaxed, care free ride with the wind blowing through my hair - yes, I had hair back then.

The pavement also opened up the possibility of another mode of kid transportation that had not been feasible before - SKATES!! With some of my hard earned paper route profits, I purchased a pair of the best street skates available at the time, or at least I thought so.

For those younger than I, (most seem to be, anymore) let me describe these instruments of bipedal transportation. The whole skate (body and wheels) was made of metal with a leather strap for holding the ankle in place. Clamps held the front of the shoe in place and had to be periodically readjusted for tightness with the use of a skate key.

In neighborhoods back then, there was always someone better at one particular thing than anyone else - - able to run faster, jump higher or even to be the best knuckle cracker. A neighbor friend of mine, even though he was about a year younger than I, had the distinction of being the fastest skater on our block.

He had previous experience and I was just a beginner, but my competitive nature caused me to set the mental goal of one day beating him in a head-to-head race. Several humiliating defeats occurred before my time finally came.

"The race" happened on Beaufort Drive, a short street intersecting with Hickman Road that was paved at the same time. The signal was given and we were off! His quicker, more experienced pace handed him the immediate lead but my slightly longer legs and stride whittled away the difference until we were neck-in-neck. In an all out effort I finally had just barely edged him out when a very bad and unexpected thing happened.

I don't know whether I forgot to tighten the front skate clamp or if it just worked loose with the massive effort, but one shoe came loose from the clamp and sent me head over tea kettle onto the surface of the newly paved road. All the expected bruises resulted, but also a new phenomenon happened - asphalt rash!

Now I am not normally averse to new experiences, but this one was very unpleasant indeed and stayed around much longer than the same type injury that came from a similar sudden stop on a dirt surface. The condition I found myself in taught me that "rash" decisions result in "abrasive" situations.


Blogger WordWhiz said...

I still own skates. I couldn't adjust to the whole concept of in-line skates...I've still got the old fashioned kind. Took some looking around to find them too!

Enjoyed your post! Thanks!

7/16/2005 11:23:00 PM  

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