An Orange Blossom


She held my hand to the bus stop and waited …me all in orange with face covered in zinc oxide. Her friends stared in amazement. Along came the bus…

she got on …we each waved …she headed south to school while I rode north. Some goodbyes are memorable.

The day before I left the Lincoln Memorial and headed out on the Crescent Pathway along the Potomac. Crowds of cyclists past me going to work in the other direction. Finally reaching Bethesda after a 12 mile trek I was suddenly lost among skyscrapers and busy traffic. I could not figure out where to go to find the next bike path leading to a spot near my son’s home.

Some 5 miles back I had inhaled a cloud of dust and was still coughing on and off. I tried to stop pedestrians to ask for help but as soon as they smelled me …wearing yesterday clothes… and heard my coughing…they all backed off 10 feet and scurried away.

I finally realized I was on my own. After 15 minutes of searching for a path ,which I later learned was closed , I gave up and decided to take the metro to near my son’s house. I sat in a handicapped seat in a middle car where bikes go …next to an actively hallucinating young man… I suspected drugs but it could have been schizophrenia. The rest of the passengers not politely stared but stayed clear …the two of us… an appropriate handicapped pair… me spewing what I’m sure they thought was TB and him spewing his bizarre rapid moving ideas…

I got off at the last stop and navigated to my sons town but decided to stop at my granddaughter’s school to surprise her.

I arrived and walked in the office asking for the principal who I knew. Out she came… looked at me… jumped back 10 feet … and said “ Who are you and what do you want?!!!” holding her nose…

I reintroduced myself to her surprise and told her I ridden from Florida on my bike to see my kin.

Her jaw dropped… she stared… stammered… and turned to her secretary and told her to go find my granddaughter “ You can see her in the hall not in the classroom with all her friends!”

Our union was less than desired… she was pouting and upset at an assembly they had had…me being there as I was… was just not much out of the ordinary to her.

I kissed her, sent het back to her classroom and peddled to her home… where her mother greeted me with a stare… a jump back 10 feet …and a distant hello.

Ok I realized …first things first… a shower and a washing my clothes.

The rest of the visit was as wonderful as today’s flowers I passed.

For those wondering it was a very difficult day of riding with more than 4300 feet of climbing on endless rollers some with grades of 10%.

We have left the flatlands behind…

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