Lynna Clark: Biker village

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

I still feel the dread in daddy’s voice as he spoke the terrible news. “I’m being laid off again. Or they’ve offered to transfer me to the warehouse in Ruby, South Carolina.”

“Where is RUBY?” my mother questioned not really wanting to know.

A short while later we moved to a tiny town in the Sandhills of South Carolina. Only two hours from home, but a world of difference. In the 60’s folks there were either very rich or dirt poor. We didn’t own much but when we moved I felt so rich it was embarrassing. I had a nice bicycle with double baskets flanking the rear tire. Mama would send me to Miss Lilly’s grocery store with a list. With groceries in tow I remember pedaling home as fast as I could so no one would see me on that bike. To be so rich was downright shameful. We moved there when I was in third grade and back home when I was in sixth. No matter how hard we tried we never did fit in.

Our oldest daughter Stephanie and her pastor hubby Jeff got the call to move to the village of Ramsey Illinois last fall. She feared for their two teen girls when they decided to move. How hard would it be to make new friends and fit into a small town where everyone has known each other since before birth? But oh how they love it! Almost every evening one of the girls gets a text that a game is in the works. Around the corner in their neighborhood the coach leaves a basketball under the hoop so kids can stop in for a pick-up game anytime they want. Friends are just a short bike ride away. In fact they walk or ride bikes nearly everywhere they go. Riding by the school the other day she noticed that with warmer weather the bike racks were full. Little bicycles lined up for the elementary kids then gradually became larger through high school. And no one had chained their bike in fear of thievery.

Their local Dairy Dee had an unusual rush of customers one afternoon. Apparently quite a few tourists happened upon the cute little burger and ice cream hut. She said the locals were waiting in line patiently because they are aware that Mrs. Diane drives a school bus at 2pm, leaving Mr. Paul to run the place all by himself. However, the out-of-towners were getting a little testy. So he just invited Stephanie and Jeff to step into the hut to assemble sandwiches and ice cream treats. Together they cleared the mob quickly and nobody went hungry in the process. Stephanie did confess to serving a few tipsy cones. Thankfully she refrained from straightening the scoopage with her tongue.

I wish we all lived in such happy places. Where ice cream huts were run by friends and neighbors happy to serve… Where parents didn’t fear to allow children out of their sight…. Where coaches encouraged neighborhood kids to have fun together… Where new people were quickly treated like family…

And every kid knew they were rich because they owned a bicycle.


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