Yep, you read that right. I had a bride price. Not one set by a parental unit as a prerequisite to the act (gosh, no!), but one that my soon-to-be-husband gave my mother as a thank-you gift of sorts after he and I got engaged.
He, deeming ponies or camels to be impractical and having confirmed with me that she has always liked biking, built her what he called ‘just like a real mountain bike, only smaller’ (she’s five foot one or two, and not much more than a hundred pounds). She loved it, and over the past five years has logged many a mile on roads and cross-country tracks, alone and in company.
So much so that this past summer, after vacationing with us in Vermont and taking that little old hardtail bike up on the chair lift to ride it down like the badass grandma that she is, she let us talk her into upgrading.
I don’t have a picture of her and the new bike (she’s allergic to cameras), but here’s me and Arizona at that same mountain, to give you an idea. Make me four inches shorter, add a quarter century, and give me curly gray hair and glasses, and you’ve got Badass Grandma.
Which isn’t to say that she’s tearing down the slopes and doing all the jumps quite yet–like me, she’s still learning the sport. And, like me, she’s coming late to a sport that’s dominated by immortal-seeming teens doing backflips and guys like Arizona who used to be those kids and who, while they might have desk jobs and a few extra pounds now, can still pull out some sick tricks. So there are times, especially out riding on her own and working to figure out a still new-to-her bike, when it maybe feels like a bit much.
Like the other day, when she unloaded at her local trails, and a group of hardcore riders, upon seeing the Badass Grandma bike, invited her to go shred some singletrack with them. She replied that she’s still learning, and “the bike is way cooler than I am.”
To which one of the guys replied, “You’re already cooler than everyone who’s not riding these trails.”
That mattered–to her and, when I heard the story, to me. There have been lots of times in both of our lives that we’ve been the outsiders, the ones the cool kids can’t be bothered with. And even now, with most of that in our rear view mirrors, there are times …
This wasn’t one of them. Because some lifelong rider didn’t just stop with “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” he took it the next step to “if you have something nice to say, say it.”
Which is lovely, really. So here’s my harangue: If you’ve got something nice to say today, say it. To an author you know online, who might look like she’s got it together, but in reality is struggling to stay the course (I’m not fishing, btw. This is a general suggestion!). To a friend. To a family member. To a stranger. I plan to!
And if you’ve got a story of a time when someone said something nice to you at exactly the right time and place, I’d love to hear it 🙂
Finally, because “Awww,” here’s the next generation practicing his moves at sixteen months.