Bike Rides & Baby Blankets

Summertime memories where it was always so hot you never needed to ask what to wear for the day, it was always going to be shorts and a t-shirt. They weren’t allowed to swim in the pool during the day because Grandma had never learned how to swim, and wouldn’t be able to rescue either of them if they needed help. They didn’t mind too much because staying home with a pool you could only look at was better than going to daycare where the food smelled funny and they made you drink white milk, not understanding that at the age of 8 you still got to drink chocolate milk at home. (Also, not predicting the future that even at the age of 35, drinking plain milk would still give her the heebie jeebies.)

Instead lunches were filled with pbj’s, chef boyardee, and on the best days tomato soup and grilled cheese. In all reality, the grilled cheese was probably an addition that didn’t come until middle school, so as little girls they had tiny cubes of “marbled cheese” and saltine crackers to dip down into their soup. Lunch became a science experiment to see how long a cheese cube could stay under before they got so melty they turned stringy. Then there was the cracker method. Did you put the entire cracker in the bowl, letting it sink to the bottom and then trying to cut it to pieces with the edge of your spoon, potentially sloshing it out of the bowl and making a mess, or do you break it up on the top and race to eat all the tomatoey pieces before they got soggy and gross. (The girls never crumbled their crackers the way Grandma did because of the instant resemblance to a soaked through piece of notebook paper in your soup, a frayed, mushy, disgusting, and papery mess.)

Before the sun hit the middle of the sky, and well before lunch, they’d go bike riding, Grandma on her three-wheeled red bike with the basket between the back two wheels, the girls on their little kid bikes. As they aged, the girls had a babysitter, who brought her little brother over, and the five of them would circle the block. As the little group passed their friends’ houses clumped together like a school of fish, there was the giant nasty evergreen bush that took up an entire corner at the end of their street. It was difficult to see around and sometimes that cross street was busy. Almost holding her breath, the little girl would hesitate, peeking into the street before turning the corner. Most of the time they’d meander back and forth down a street or two passing the cars covered with sheets, wondering what sort of treasures were hiding underneath. Then it’d be time to head home.

Other days they’d venture down to the circle drive with the funny name that made them all giggle. Essex Court looked like a naughty word and none of them, not even their babysitter, ever told Grandma why they were laughing so hard. Then there was the cul de sac named just like the little girl. It made her feel special and proud, like a little treat. Riding four streets down, circling the pavement, seeing her name on that street sign wasn’t something they often did. It felt like a secret, a little bit of attention for that quiet brown-haired girl.

This is my favorite quick baby blanket pattern. It’s from “Crochet! Magazine Presents: Crochet for a Quiet Evening,” their November 2013 issue. I can’t tell you how many color variations I’ve done over the years, but it’s perfect for making up a few to have on hand. Then I can grab one out of the closet if I need a shower gift.


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