As I write this I am in Kansas. The latest news is that the Kansas Woman and I are debating which thrift store would have the best deal on a used bicycle for short trips to the store. It seems to me that walking to the store and “toting” back 5 to 10 pounds is unreasonable. Over that amount of stuff and you'd drive.
Going to the store on a bicycle and bringing back up to 25 pounds in a basket is a “doable” venture. That's where we are in this discussion and one of us doesn't seem likely to budge.
I think a late afternoon bicycle ride is a good idea. At some time, before automobiles became common, adults in the town of Washington walked short distances, but bicycles were as much a part of the transportation system as were the horse and buggy.
Bicycling was a young person's mode because it was purely recreational. Old folks either walked or took a buggy. A buggy was to a car as a wagon was to a pickup truck.
That brings to mind a “bicycle made for two,” which is not an option because one automatically has to work harder.
The yards in town and in the country are awash with blooms floating on a green sea. Lilacs come in shades of near white to deep purple, as deep as a far away mountain range. Lilacs are blooming by the millions. On the front porch in the late afternoon we swing to and fro into and out of waves of lilac scent.
Out of town, on country roads, old home places are marked by lilac bushes all in a line as if standing sentinel over the memories of a family long grown and gone. There is nothing left of the house or yard, whacked off to extend the right of way for U.S. 36.
At some point in time, children perhaps played in that yard, and a woman showed pride in her home by placing lilacs that are now the only indication of humanity on that spot of land.
“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd, And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,” thus began Walt Whitman's personal eulogy for President Lincoln. Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, about the time lilacs bloom in Washington, and the drooping “great star” referred to Lincoln.
Lilacs. Their beauty and scent are un-matched by any ornamental shrub I know. They flourish a long time and have a connection to people that seems to transition time.
As I write this to you I sit in the swing swaying in and out of those invisible waves of head-filling sweetness.
Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.