Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Bike Rider

Photo (c) 1991 Stephanie Brundage, M.D.

By the early 90's my ex-wife Stephanie had moved to Myrtle Beach, SC where she took this photograph of our son Jonathan. He turned 15 that summer and bike riding was his passion. When he came back to North Miami for the summer the bike came with him, and every day he was out riding for hours.

That was his last summer of "freedom" from having a summer job. Other than mowing the lawn, fishing with me, and the obligatory visits to my mom, "Grandma Ruth", his time was his own. Soon Hurricane Andrew would change the landscape of South Florida and a year later my mom would die.

The following summer he got a job working for the City of North Miami. He was offered a choice of counselor at the day camp or working on a garbage truck. The latter offer was probably a joke but Jon asked what the pay was. Slinging garbage cans and trotting after the truck paid about double working at the day camp. He opted to be a garbage man. I heard later that there were bets around city hall as to how many days he'd last on that job. It's a killer job in the hot sun, working straight through, no breaks, until the work is finished. The city let's the workers go home as soon as the last route is complete, and they still get 8 hours pay even if they only worked about 6 hours. They scurry, they run, and they hustle. Like I said, it's a killer job. Jonathan made it through the summer no problem! But boy, did he ever stink when I'd pick him up at the motor pool every afternoon. All that bike riding and working out had put him in great shape!

Thanks to Todd Frederick for his Photoshop work on the scan of the Polaroid print. The direct overhead mid-day sun had Jonathan's face in complete murky shadow, just a black blob.


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