Sweet tricycle memories of little boys

Published 1:50 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

It was a long time ago, but the memory sometimes kicks in when I see a child scooting around on those cute little cars that are available today. Back when my children were small, the popular kind of vehicles for them were tricycles.

One day when we were searching for something in our back-yard storage house, we found our son’s old tricycle with big rubber tires and a rusty red seat. Through our many moves, it had ended up among cobwebs and creeping vines. One of the tires was just barely visible. The family was gathered in our back yard that day. When somebody spotted the little tricycle, my son pulled it out and dusted it off. Maybe his two-year-old was big enough to ride it. Yes, it caught his eye and he asked for help to get on it, then demanded that somebody push him around on it. I think everyone took a turn riding him before something else distracted his attention.

As before, it was pushed aside, this time ending up in the garage. It sat forgotten again for some time. The next time somebody noticed it, my son brought it out of the garage. The handlebar covers were deteriorating and one of the little rubber pedals crumbled in his hands.

The latest discovery was almost unbearable for our grandson. He ran back and forth as his daddy tried to make repairs so the tricycle was usable again. It took much too long for Daddy to find a rag, gather cleaning material, wipe it down good, and use duct tape to piece together the broken parts. Then he oiled it up a little and tightened a few screws. The youngster was right beside Daddy, taking in everything. At long last, he could jump on it and start riding.

As he mounted it, I remembered his daddy’s first ride on it. I even remembered that we lived in a little frame house in Columbia, S.C., and he rode it around and around the house—pedaling backwards.

The grandson had his own method. It fit him just right, but he could not quite master pushing down one pedal with one foot and meeting the other pedal with the other foot. His parents kept telling him to push. Instead, he decided he wanted down. We thought he was finished with the tricycle for the day. We were wrong. He ran around the yard, gathering tools. We caught on right quick that the particulars of getting the tricycle ready were far more interesting to him than riding it.

When he and his parents went home, I put the little rusty tricycle in the house in hopes of keeping it in working order a little longer. As I worked in my kitchen, it kept catching my eye. Somehow, I kept mixing up pictures of a little boy riding it around and around a house with another little boy sitting beside it, working on it with a wrench.

Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper industry.