Here's the text I submitted:
I recently ran a downtown errand by bicycle, and asked myself why I had not done it before. I should have done it all summer long!
Well, in my defense, there were certainly some good reasons. Our family moved here to this beautiful 1890s home just a few blocks from Downtown Brookings when summer had but started, and we had a houseful all summer long! I mean, if you can imagine three older kids at home besides your younger teens, one recovering from surgery, four different summer jobs, and this mom feeding everyone, lunch and dinner, every day.
Gardening too, because we must have a garden even if we it is a bit late and we just moved! Throw in some big emotional family affairs, a week out of town helping produce a Shakespeare camp for kids, our hosting a sizeable semi-impromptu family reunion, and you begin to get the picture.
As icing on the cake, we had no less than seven college friends of our boys showing up a couple times as well. As delightful as they were, (and they were truly delightful), I was certain that a branch of the Armed Forces would be recruiting my services as Head Chef after they left.
Still, I did get to enjoy delightful evenings on my bike around the new neighborhood. I had to get my exercise in at some point! Somehow, though, I always headed north, the SDSU farms’ open fields and sunsets calling me, along with the quiet and peaceful summer campus paths. Well, all of that is behind us now. The campus paths are far from empty and peaceful these days, the older kids are gone to college or enjoying new jobs, the teenagers and we stepping into a welcome routine.
One afternoon recently, knowing I had a busy evening ahead, I decided to get on my bicycle as I had a package to be mailed. I grabbed my helmet, a tote bag with my necessary items, the iPhone and earbuds for my audiobook, and off I went, biking.
I guess crossing Sixth Street into downtown had been a major hurdle for me for some reason. I waited for the light and parked my bike in front of the post office without any problems. When I got back on the bike, package duly mailed, I decided to take the long way home.
In a way, it was almost anti-climactic because it was so straightforward and easy. Here I was actually running errands, the minivan still sitting in the driveway. I drove down streets and alleyways, enjoying views I am not able to see from the minivan window. Talk about smelling the flowers! I could actually see and smell the flowers, each of their colors, and admire their beauty. The vegetables on the neat backyard gardens, the hidden peaceful sitting spaces. So many delightful surprises and enchanting hidden spaces.
(I ride an old and rattly cruiser from a discount store we bought for our teen daughter a while back, so I am not too afraid someone is going to take it. But it is fair to suppose that if I keep running errands by bicycle, a visit to the nice cool bike shop may be coming.)
Granted, there were a couple of iffy moments, like the one where the unwelcome semi-truck was just a few feet from me, sitting at the same light. A bit unnerving. But all in all, running my errands by bicycle was an experience to be repeated.
The only left thing left to do is to hope for a long and warm fall season.