flying colors

We're staying in Middle-of-Nowhere, Missouri with Granny and G-Daddy. (Note: Their names have not been changed to protect their privacy.) G-Daddy seems to have been testing me since I arrived. The biggest test just got placed in front of me. "Wanna go for a ride?" he asks. A few days ago he told me all aout his motorcycle. When he asked if I'd like to ride with him sometime, I said I'd never been on one before and it seemed a little scary to me. "Oh it's not scary at all," he assured me. "So I just hold onto you or what?" I asked. "Nope. You're not allowed to hold on." My eyes bulged and I started to laugh. Certainly he's kidding... Amid some joking and swift topic-changing, the conversation dissolved.

And now here I am, in the final part of the test to determine whether or not G-Daddy adopts me into the family. (Figurativey speaking, of course.) A quick glance over at Dave and Amy reveals huge smiles and nods. "Do it," Kitty whispers.

I look back up at G-Daddy. "Sure. Let me go grab my sneakers."

Minutes later I am standing outside by his monstrosity of a bike, donned in a leather jacket, black helmet, and bug-deflecting goggles. As I climb onto the bike, G-Daddy whispers, "You can hold onto me if you feel you need to." But I'm determined not to hold on. Not even as we pull away.

We're off, wind in our faces. G-Daddy waves at every car we pass; he honks at a field of cows. We cross the swollen Mississippi into Slightly-Bigger-Than-Middle-of-Nowhere, Illinois. Destination: Wal-Mart. (Can you believe we have to drive to another state to get there?) Distance: 50 minutes. (Am I the only one who thinks of distance in terms of minutes rather than miles?  )

"You doing okay back there?" G-Daddy shouts back at me. "Yeah, this is great." "You're not scared are you?" "Nope. You can feel free to open 'er up!" He starts laughing. "Open her up? We're doing 90!" I smile. I know I've passed the test.

My eyes tear up as we pass the first Starbucks I've seen in days. It was just because of the wind though, I swear.

Errand completed, we head back. He cranks up the music. "Is that too loud for you?" "Nope. I like it. Fast and loud: That's how I ride." He laughs really hard. So do I.

I do the YMCA on the back of the bike when the song comes on. I discover that potholes really hurt on a motorcycle. The fields sparkle with lightning bugs; I keep my mouth shut to avoid eating them.

As we come to a stop back at the house, my face feels oddly plastered back from all the wind. I'm proud of myself for not holding on at all. 'Twas a good ride.

We walk into the house. G-Daddy quickly tells everyone about me asking him to "open her up" and my announcement of "how I ride". I smile and laugh.

I passed with flying colors...