IF you have ever watched the classic movie YOURS, MINE & OURS, with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Then you will understand that in the middle of the movie when the two parents get married and have 18 children between them and they go to the commissary to buy their weekly groceries the cashier always announces over the intercom.. “THE BEARDSLEYS ARE HERE”. Its a hilarious old movie.
Well, sometime ago shortly after New Years…… Papa and Omie (me) decided that we would like to buy all the grandchildren new bikes for their birthdays. Then we figured out that it sure wouldn’t be much of a birthday present to the grand children born in the late fall and winter. They would wait all year for their bikes and the others would be riding them if they were fortunate enough in the birthing order process to be hatched in the spring.
Then we conjured up that we would buy them all bikes for Easter. Mind you grandbaby number 12 in due in 2 months. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to do the math here and possible incur a small stroke. So we decided to buy a few a time. It was a good plan. It just didn’t materialize as we had hoped it would.
So last night, with only a week until Easter I figured I better go get at least half the bikes before the pickings are too slim. After all, Rockefeller is not my last name and our money doesn’t grow on trees. So off to the local Walmart I hurried. Picked up a few groceries and then to the bike section. What I CARE to know about bikes is that they have 2 wheels and brakes, oh and a chain is good. Seriously, you could never impress me with the brand of bike you own. It is just not important to me. Never has been, I was raised on a farm, and Dad would find our bikes at the local scrap yard, Red and Rusty were in and we were ecstatic to have something to navigate through the sandy farm drive or go up the hill to the barn. Not allowed to ride on the gravel road, our paths were quite limited to say the least. Hills and grass, Hills and grass.
We picked through the bikes and found 7 that would work for the oldest seven grandchildren. This was not a small process at all, simply because Walmart doesn’t have the prices on the bikes themselves. So we constantly had to take a bike off the rack and walk it over to the scanner….price checking.
Next, came the BALANCING ACT. We loaded 2 of the 18″ bikes on to the top of our cart taking great pains NOT to crush any of the groceries. Then we had a couple Walmart employees each walking a few through the isles and up to the check out area.
What was hilarious to me and perhaps the funniest part of this endeavor was walking the parade of bikes toward the front of the store. People were stepping back and watching us, talking and pointing, kids were watching us with their eyes all lite up like little Christmas trees. Several older people would smile and nod and whisper, or say “There’s going to be some really happy kids somewhere”. I would explain that it was for the grandchildren’s Easter and they would just beam. One Gentlemen said to me at the check out “Do you have 7 children. I explained that they were for the grand kids and that I had almost 12, but was buying 10 and needed 3 more. He nudged me with his arm and said “You are a special Grandma and you are going to make a memory for them , they will carry for always’. “I sure hope so”, was my response.
It was a delight for our old hearts to watch the thrill that folks got just from seeing that many new bikes head out of a store all at once. We really are still a large country but have small town values. For the most part, people are happy to see other people happy. For me, it was sweet to see that folks really care about the small things in life, what really matters at the end of your day, week, year, life.
We will probably NEVER AGAIN, buy that many bikes at one time. I think we did do it once for our Own 3 children back in 1988. We did this for the grand children, to BLESS THEM, not to impress the outside world. We did it to show them how much Omie and Papa love them and we hope it creates a memory in their hearts and minds that will last for many years to come, when we are no longer here.
We all only live once, it matters not if we are talking about bikes, or jobs, or dreams. What is important is that we seek out that which makes us happy, and we remember that “TO MUCH THAT IS GIVEN…MUCH IS EXPECTED.
22 years ago, Burt sold me this farm. I still pay on it today and will be mortgaged till I die, but He didn’t just sell me a dream, He GAVE US A LIFE. A new beautiful family bonding life. Because He chose PEOPLE OVER PROFIT our children had a wonderful life here on this farm they would have otherwise only visited on occasion. Because Burt wanted the family farm to continue living , He sold it to someone that would strive to keep it alive and going and He didn’t sell out to the highest Mega farmer Bidder.
I am forever grateful, and more and more each day, for the gift of His love and unselfishness. I hope that I am paying forward in all the ways that I can, the kindness that Burt so willingly relinquished.
Easter Sunday, we lined all the grandchildren up in front of the garage after lunch. ( the man in the blue shirt has all the power here, that Papa.) When He hit that button and the garage door opened the screams were PRICELESS…..but on the videos our girls took, you could hear lots and lots of ” thank you’s” and that was precious to us.
Then, the chaos began. Kids were riding into one another, there were adjustments to make to seats, and training wheels, and brakes to learn to use. The little ones in their attempts to ride would ALWAYS be in the way of the older kids who wanted to RIDE FAST. It was in the famous words of Carey Grant “Good Stuff.