Thursday, September 08, 2005

Beverly Cleary knows...

"A mouse lives not by crumbs alone and so Ralph experienced still another emotion; this time food was not the cause of it. Ralph was eager, excited, curious, and impatient all at once. The emotion was so strong it made him forget his empty stomach. It was caused by those little cars, especially that motorcycle and the pb-pb-b-b-b sound the boy made."

"That sound seemed to satisfy something within Ralph, as if he had been waiting all his life to hear the mouse the sound spoke of highways and speed, of distance and danger, and whiskers blown back by the wind...Close up the motorcycle looked even better than he expected. It was new and shiny and had a good set of tires. Ralph walked all the way around it, examining the pair of chromium mufflers and the engine and the hand clutch. It even had a little license plate so it would be legal to ride it..."

"Feeling that this was an important moment in his life, he took hold of the handgrips. They felt good and solid beneath his paws. Yes, this motorcycle was a good machine all right. He could tell by the feel...Ralph was not satisfied just sitting on the motorcycle. Ralph craved action. After all, what was a motorcycle for if it wasn't action?"

"...Who needed motorcycle riding lessons? Not Ralph!"

Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and The Motorcycle
Of course, who among us who rides hasn't experienced what Ralph went through in those exhilarating moments of riding a motorcycle for the first time?
Pushing yourself along with your feet tentatively at first, then with more vigor, gaining speed, trying turns for the first time, getting distracted, forgetting to brake, driving right off the edge of the nightstand and falling, falling, falling, into the big wire mesh trash can along with the motorcycle (heh! not even your motorcycle !)
I remember it like it was yesterday.

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