I enjoyed a bike ride today. It’s been a couple of weeks since my last bike ride, but the weather was beautiful and I was wanted to see how this fine city was holding up.
It’s holding up very well.
There were several cyclists on the street; a particular group was passing the other direction on Halsted. We were waiting at opposite corners when one of them called out to me and simply called me “Grandpa”.
This got my introspective side going, so I put together some thoughts.
To the young man in Boystown who felt it was prudent to shout “Grandpa” at me as I waited for the light on Halsted to turn green so I could continue my bike ride: THANK YOU. Your comment and observation prompted me to be reflective for the remainder of my ride. Now, I realize my 24-speed bike was built in 1999 and that my cycling garb is probably equally as old, all from before when you were born. Did you know that bike has over 20K miles on it? I have socks that show above the ankles and a handkerchief under my helmet to guard my aging bald head from the sun. But I’m thankful: I’ve survived spinal meningitis, had my “plumbing” replaced, and luckily have had no other close calls with death. I’ve been happily, actually blissfully married for nearly a quarter of a century. I have an unbelievable family, chosen, biological, and through marriage, that have shown me love I still can’t believe I’m worthy of. I can fly aircraft above the planet where there’s no borders, no boundaries, and no petty differences over skin color. I’ve shaken hands with CEOs of the biggest computer companies in the world, sang with Top 40 bands while hanging out in a bar in New Orleans, swam in three of the five Great Lakes, two oceans, been off my home continent, and been to cities where I didn’t speak the language. I’ve driven 15 hours to buy my husband an ice cream cone. I’ve lived where I’ve wanted to live, and have always found life where I looked for it. I’ve watched buildings fall down and others rise up. I’ve seen peace and have volunteered for war, only to be told I wasn’t the “right kind”. I’ve worked hard at minimum wage and I’ve worked hard at a very comfortable wage. I’ve watched friends die of AIDS and HIV and I’ve spray painted SILENCE = DEATH on sidewalks while your parents were probably still watching Barney. I’ve marched in parades and attended rallies so others could dance in the street holding hands with the ones they love. I’ve tried things Dr. Ruth would endorse with a standing ovation. I’ve strongly advocated for the less fortunate and been advocated for by people who strongly cared. I’ve been hugged at my job for being who I am and I’ve been threatened with a gunshot between the eyes for being who I am, yet here I am as I am. tl;dr? I’VE LIVED LIFE. Thank you for calling me, while nearing my 52nd birthday, Grandpa. While I have no grandchildren (the closest thing is a pineapple shark), I’m at the best point ever in my life and I’m proud of how I got here. Thank you for reminding me of how great I have it.