Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A minivan, a screaming baby, and a perfect day

Newville Church at the corner of Possum Run and Swigart Road
Seventeen years ago right around today (we skipped a year way back when) I took the day off from work to mark a bike ride course for a bunch of my friends.

I was 29 years old - twenty-nine! - and the father of a four-month old baby girl. I had recently traded in my 3/4 ton Dodge Ram 4x4 for a truly spectacular 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan. I don't think I was rocking Dad-jeans at that point, but shit had changed and changed big for me and my now family.

Early in the morning I packed my baby daughter into the shining white family chariot. I brought along two or three bottles of milk for her, a few cans of spray paint, the Ohio Gazeteer, and likely a fifth of gin for me. Off we went, full-on Clark Griswold style.

Back then, there was only one route for the Peckerhead Invitational and it was intentionally horrific. 90+ miles of nothing but hills and suffering. No bailouts. No GPS or Google Maps. No Strava. Barely a cell phone.

I remember very little about the day to tell the truth. Except one moment, and that's this. Ellie and I stopped at the Newville Church at the corner of Swigart and Possum Run to soothe what would be later diagnosed as a lower gastrointestinal problem that would require surgery. Poor kid was was screaming her f*&%ing head off.

We sat under the open hatch of that god-awful minivan while I rocked her to sleep and fed her a bottle. Alone with our thoughts and the veal calves across the road. No Facebook updates. No blog to revise. Just me, the kid, and a tiny church in the middle of nodamnwhere. It was a perfect moment of early fatherhood.

I included that corner in the John Holmes this year. When you ride past the church and head up Swigart into the teeth of John Holmes, try to throw some love to me and Ellie and our minivan seventeen years ago. #PKR4EVR.

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