Sacrifice one to the bike dogs

Yesterday I went to pick up my son who had finished his freshman year of college. It was a hugely successful year and hit the trifecta of no arrests, no drug dependencies, and no paternity. His straight A’s and etcetera were icing on an otherwise perfectly baked cake.

I recalled that when we had moved him in, he didn’t have much. Everything plus him and two parents had all fit into the Volt. But after school started he added a small fridge and a bike so when I made plans to pick him up I knew that we’d need a different vehicle because of the bike.

I called Enterprise and rented a Ford F-150 for $36.00. It had a quarter tank of gas in it, and it cost another $36.00 to fill it up. My eldest son is home for a few weeks from Vienna so we left at 5:00 AM pointy-sharp to beat the traffic.

“You know,” he said, “when you have to leave somewhere at five o’clock to miss traffic, that somewhere hasn’t really figured out the transportation thing very well.”

He had a point.

Shortly before we got to Santa Barbara I called my youngest. “You got your stuff ready?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “It’s all out here on the curb.”

“Is it a lot of stuff?”

“Not too much, but I don’t have the bike.”

“You don’t?”

“No. I lost the key and one of my friends is going to cut off the lock this weekend.”

“But you’ll be back in LA.”

“I was thinking about hanging out here for the weekend to, uh, you know, hang out with my friends and stuff. I’ll take the train back to LA on Monday and take the bus to PV.”

The “stuff” part had me mildly concerned, but what could I say? He’d made straight A’s. “If I’d known you didn’t have a bike I wouldn’t have rented this truck.”

“What truck?”

“We rented a truck to bring back all your stuff.”

He was apologetic, even though it was my fault for not having checked. “I’m sorry, Dad. And there’s not a lot of stuff, actually.”

“No worries,” I said as we pulled up to the dorm. There he was, with all of his earthly belongings on the sidewalk. “We’re not going to have any trouble with that.” I was pretty sure you don’t need a full-sized pickup for six books, a shoe box, and a bag of dirty laundry.

We drove over to the Bagel Cafe in Isla Vista and ate. Coffee and breakfast with your two grown sons is a pleasure unlike any on earth. We laughed and enjoyed the early morning sunshine. Then we dropped him back off at the dorm and were back in LA before eleven, handily beating the traffic.

I never did find out what was going to happen to the bike.



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25 thoughts on “Sacrifice one to the bike dogs”

  1. With all due apologies to my own, Highlander, son who returned home yesterday following a successful freshman year, but – Go Gauchos!

  2. Congratulations with successful completion of freshman year, but I beg to differ: a bag of dirty laundry requires a full-size truck all by itself. And you know, 9:00am is not too early to eat at Freebirds.

  3. Wanted to drop a note and thank you for the fitting eulogy for Steve Tilford.

    I spent the morning riding bikes with my 3 year old twins and reflecting on how much I enjoy that activity and hope to continue to have that privilege for many years to come. And, as I often happens after a great day on the bike, I thought about Steve.

    Thanks for capturing in words how much Steve meant to so many people. It was great to read your thoughts that well represented all that was interesting and intriguing about him. Whether you always agreed with him or not, he was a incredible gift to those who came to know him in person or by his words.


  4. “Coffee and breakfast with your two grown sons is a pleasure unlike any on earth. We laughed and enjoyed the early morning sunshine”. Superb!

  5. “Coffee and breakfast with your two grown sons is a pleasure unlike any on earth. We laughed and enjoyed the early morning sunshine.”

    Happy Father’s Day!

  6. Great story, you are indeed very lucky and have the good sense to appreciate it too. Well done.
    Your son’s minimalist approach reminds me of a friend of mine whose father asked him what was in his school bag before heading to the bus stop in about 3rd grade. A pencil, an orange and a comic book – all the basics.

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