Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The neighbor kid comes into the shop and says, "My mom says you guys are Naturalists."
Ever since we moved to this conservative village, twenty-five years ago, we've been known as "the earthy ones" or "earthy types". I think it started with me wearing Birkenstocks to my teaching job at the high school. Believe it or not, in this town these labels are not considered compliments but, rather are attached with disdain...even scorn.
She was waiting for my response...looking me right in the eye. "Well, ya...I've been called worse. We believe in a scientific explanation for what is going on with the planet", I explained. I know that this family believes that the explanation for all earthly phenomena has to do with God and that the Christian Bible explains all.
"So, is that why you like to lay on the deck naked and swim nude?" This question caught me off guard. I thought we were talking about Naturalists, not naturists. "Somebody has been peeping through the trees." I said, with a slight smile. She turned bright red and started to turn away. "It's not a bad thing." I said unapologetically. "I know that!" she snapped, as she headed to the door of the bike shop.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm beginning my seventh decade on the Big Blue Ball....happy about that! I like working and I'm excited for the busy season to begin. Winter fills this small town merchant with doubts and drags down the bank account. I might have the added the weight of worry from rumblings about our community bank struggling with it's (our) finances. Where does it all lead?
I know I'll be putting dozens of people on new bicycles soon and re-outfitting their old bikes with tires and comfortable seats. It's an honorable profession and those who come through the door seldom need a sales pitch. After seventeen years of service and follow-up care we've built a return customer base that guarantees our continued success, as long as success is defined as steady slow progress toward paying the mortgage and keeping the facilities in good shape.
One of the huge benefits of owning a bicycle shop is that you are always inspired by the activity you promote and the great feedback from customers who see their investment with you as invigorating and even "life-saving". Most bicycle shop owners I know are cyclists and are always plotting their next ride.
I just came back from my sixty year "Physical" at which I received a big "thumbs up" from my doctor. A couple of her exclamations (which I won't repeat here) were very encouraging. She couldn't believe I didn't have a drug regimen for a chronic health problem, "everyone has one, you don't know what you're missing." She has a surprising sense of humor. Here I go, roaring off toward sixty-one with a smile on my face and a bulge in my pants...quadriceps, silly.