My mother noticed her thought snippet:
All Kids Need Bicycles.
And so it began.
The fire station collected the broken ones.
The outdoor store fixed them.
She stashed the precious cargo in secret locales
around the town, her barn, a neighbor’s shed,
a great dull yellow metal building in a treeless field.
It’s Christmas Eve, then.
She wears soft jeans cuffed above her ankles,
a favorite beige red-plaid-lined windbreaker
and her best peachy coral lipstick.
She borrows my father’s truck.
We clear veterinary vials, syringes with thick needles
and mini-mart coffee cups from the bench seat.
We load in, the three of us. My son and I are home that year.
We bounce through a field to the barn.
Tailgate first we fill the truck with bicycles.
She drives to the neighborhood-where-children-need-bicycles.
She parks in the street. A curious child approaches.
She gives her a bicycle. Then another child. Another street.
A throng of pre cell phone children approach.
A boy pushes the child in front of him. He does not get a bicycle.
We go to the second stash of bicycles. We fill the truck.
We return to the neighborhood-where-children-need-bicycles.
It’s almost dark when we hit the final stash.
As churches carol and proclaim, my mother hands a bike
with a pink banana seat and handlebar steamers
to the little girl wearing a purple puffball coat.
The girl says thank you quietly.
Today we begin the great holiday light untangling ritual.
She loves the twinkling dogwoods.
That year so close ago, my son and I received the only gift we need,
to witness, to be part of, to be reminded, to trust that wacky notion,
the one whispering where you can feel it deep,
in your belly, in your bones, the one that makes you swoon and smile,
the simple noble notion to do, what really matters.
With Love ~ Amy