A Grand Surprise That Almost Wasn’t
By Karen Sue Kight
Photos courtesy of Karen Sue Kight
On the day in 2001 before my husband Tony’s return to Reubens from his two weeks of Idaho Army National Guard training, my six-year-old son Kale was finishing up his own two weeks of training. He had been learning to ride his bicycle, which was the perfect distraction during his dad’s absence. Now it would be the perfect surprise and main attraction for the Big Homecoming Show, always a dazzling event featuring crayon art, cardboard architecture, and superhero reenactments. But little did we know that across town, a giant threat to our grand surprise rumbled our way.
We spent the morning practicing in the street in front of our house. I barely needed to steady his wobble before he took off, his unproven skill buoyed by the rhythmic squeak of the gear chain, applause from grandparental neighbors, and little brother, sister, and kitty stretching behind him like a kite tail. He persevered down the street’s gentle slope, past the community flowerbed, and onto a flat stretch, before a slight malignant listing to the right landed him in the tall grass of the borrow pit.