The blue bicycle for Christmas | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Nov 06, 2017

I was 6 years old and my brother Warren was 8 that Christmas morning in Lake City. We leaped out of our bunk beds and dashed to the living room to see what Santa had brought. Our parents followed close behind to witness our delight.

What did we see the moment we turned the corner into the living room? Two shiny blue bicycles parked next to the tree. My brother Warren was over-the-moon delighted that his Christmas wish had come true. Oh, wow!

I, on the other hand, felt less than delighted. Perhaps I’ve intentionally forgotten whether I managed to act happy with the gift. Six-year-olds aren’t always diplomatic when it comes to disappointment, although I always hated to hurt my parents’ feelings. Right this minute I wish I could ask one of them about that Christmas of our first bikes.

Why was I disappointed? Why didn’t I feel equally delighted? The fact was that I had not wished for a bike. I wanted a scooter, a sturdy red scooter I could stand on with one foot and push along the sidewalk with the other foot. Had I not made my wish clear?

At 8, my brother was ready to master riding a bike down the hill at the end of our block. To me, the hill loomed as a fearful challenge. My plan for the red scooter had not included hills. I wanted only to cruise up and down our fairly level block, back and forth, scuffing safely along, foot-propelled, no question of managing pedals and whipping along faster and faster until an almost certain crash.

Not surprisingly, by mid-morning that Christmas, my brother was pedaling up and down the block on his new blue bike and, within a few days, flying down the hill.

My gentle dad gradually coaxed his possibly pouting daughter into giving her Christmas gift a try. So I learned that Christmas afternoon to wobble up and down our block on my own shiny blue bike with my dad running beside me.

“Peddle, honey! You’re doing great!” Really? I could scarcely believe the shaky success of my efforts.

I soon forgot that I’d ever wanted a scooter, and by the time my family moved to Edmonds the next year, I couldn’t imagine life without a bike.

This reminds me … On Saturday, Dec. 9, the annual Christmas Toy Shop event takes place at the Edmonds Food Bank at Edmonds United Methodist Church. Because of the generosity of those who donate toys, books, stuffed animals and – yes – bikes, hundreds of Edmonds-area children from low-income families will be delighted on Christmas morning.

I hope my memories of that shiny blue bicycle remind you of your own first bike. And I hope you will donate a bike that your young ones have outgrown or purchase a bicycle to donate. Goodwill has an ever-changing assortment of inexpensive bikes and trikes in good condition; the Toy Shop has Christmas elves waiting to spiff up pre-owned bikes received by Dec. 4.

If your budget allows, shopping together for a brand new bike for an unknown child is a heart-warming family holiday project, a memorable demonstration of family values of kindness and generosity. Even young children can contribute piggy-bank money toward the gift, adding deeper meaning to their experience of bringing happiness to a less-fortunate child.

I hope you’ll join me in participating in this worthwhile project. For information about pick-up of donated bikes, please call Coralie Shepherd at 425-771-2862.


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