A stroll down memory lane

Well it’s been a while since I’ve put anything up on this, and while I would like to blame the frigid mid-Western winters, I can’t. Maybe I can blame it on watching the entire first season of LOST in the last week… =)

It’s funny to be living again with my grandparents. We lived in this house back in ’93 when my family was in the US for a year. I was in 9th grade, and the whole ideas of high school, America, and winter were were inextricably alien to me. We visited once we moved to Rockford in ’97. A few years later (’01) I once again moved in with my grandparents and lived with them for a semester while I struggled to work and occupy my time with something constructive while waiting to go back to Taylor to graduate. I didn’t do very well at that, succeeding in reading a lot of books, becoming increibly anti-social, and selling my body to the medical testing gods for a couple of weeks to pay off the birds of prey (otherwise known as credit card companies). =)

But I survived… and it’s good to be “home” with my grandma and grandpa, who have thousands of stories of God’s faithfulness, God’s mercy, God’s patience, and God’s grace. They also have tragic stories and hilarious stories, and I love them for their stories, and their lives.

Anyway, today I found a stack of old cassette tapes, and as I drove around Rockford running errands, I popped one into the tape deck of Heather’s new Toyota (a fun little stick-shift) and was instantly transported back in time…

You see, growing up in Peru, mom and dad made us ride our bikes to school often. And while the bike ride TO school was 20 to 30 minutes uphill (depending on how lazy we were in the chill morning mountain air), the ride home FROM school was a thrilling 5 minutes downhill (10 if I managed to get in an accident, hit a kid, or flip over the handlebars…)

On my way home, I would skid around the corners, foot braced to catch myself when the rear tire hit a chunk of gravel, dodging children throwing water baloons and buckets of water during Carnaval, dodging sheep and goats and triciculos (three wheeled bicylces with a big open space used for transporting groceries, people or anything that could fit in the bed and be pedaled around town), jumping off curbs, and having the time of my life.

When I was about 10 or 11, I got my first walkman, and loved to pop in a tape, slide the headphones on under my helmet (a horrible burden I caused all those in our family to have to wear due to my horrible bike accident a few years earlier in Texas, when 7 year old Ben wiped out going 30+ miles an hour becuase he tried to scratch an itch on his elbow and then had to go the emergency room ’cause everyone KNEW he had a concussion…) sorry, I digress. Anyway, the music made me feel like the kid in Iron Eagle who would put in the rock tape while he flew his F-16 and shot down enemy planes while rescuing his dad (except I usually listened to the golden oldies of Christian music – Rich Mullins, David Meece, Wayne Watson, Russ Taff, Carman, Steve Camp, Twila Paris, and all their wonderful brethren…)

Anyway, somehow I found this tape that was full (both sides!) of instrumental themes of old Westerns – TV shows and movies – Bonanza, Rawhide, and The Rifleman to name a few. So little 11 year old Ben would slide in the Western tape, and tear off down the hill home for lunch to the rhythmic strains of Rawhide… My imagination transported me to the wild west, and my ten speed suddenly became a horse, my helmet transformed into a cowboy hat… and so on and so forth. I still remember the exhilaration of listening to those themes at full blast as I powerslid out of a corner where the road turned from gravel to a paved downhill straightaway of several hundred feet where I could really pick up speed. (I also remember the embarrasment that one time I skidded around the corner and collided with a young boy about my age going to school in his black and grey uniform – we both went tumbling, and both quickly popped up, my pride damaged more than anything else as I mumbled a quick apology and jumped on my two wheeled stallion to continue the ride…)

So today I listened to this same tape as I drove around town, and wished I was on a bike, screaming down the hills, the wind in my face, the sun reflecting all around me in the piercing blue sky, trying desperately to not hit or be hit by anything and make it home as fast as possible… =) someday, maybe… we’ll go on a bike ride in Huaraz. Just you and me, flying around town, whooping with exhilaration, not stopping at all until we make it all the way down to the coast. And I might even just let you beat me… once. Or maybe you’ll just have to do your bestest to catch me… =) “Roll ’em up!”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A stroll down memory lane

  1. josh

    hey, ben.
    bummer how we talked for 30 seconds and then it was over. what’s your grndprnts #?
    bye the way, I went to the same church a few times as that girl evangeline lilly from “Lost” (the skinny brunette), and she actually attended high school with jo-ben’s wife. small world, eh?
    smooches,
    Josh

  2. lizzie

    i’ll join you for that ride anyday, but i’ll probably not try to beat you… it would be hopeless and deathly.

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