Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Tandem Tale

Woohooo! I won a blog giveaway!  

It’s a signed copy of this book straight from one of the authors, 

Thanks, Dayle...

It’s full of wonderful stories to warm the heart and secrets for the married soul. 
Since today is our 28th anniversary, I thought I might share one of ours. 

Do you know what it is?
We learned to ride a tandem.

It’s true, folks. We started way back in the early ‘80s.

Note the kelly green walking shorts
 and spiffy visor.

We rented that tandem on our honeymoon, but we own one too. You see, way back in our college days,  Sir Lotsa Hair inherited an old tandem from his brother and brought it back to school. When we weren’t busy strolling the streets of Athens, we would ride.

That’s how I knew that he was the kind of boy I wanted to marry.

Tandem riding, you see, is all about teamwork.

By design, a tandem bicycle has only one front seat, and a choice must be made as to the front seat rider.  Let’s face it. Most of us are inclined to want that seat.  At first glance, it sort of looks like the glory seat.

You don’t have to ride in the glory seat very long, though, to figure out that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  For one thing, the front seat rider has to pedal.

This might seem obvious, but if you’ve ever been the backseat rider, you know that you can sneak a little break or two and rest your feet on the bar.  The bike will still roll for a while. Not quite as fast, of course, and it’ll start to get a little wobbly, but as long as the front seat rider is giving it all he’s got, he can pull the load.

The backseat rider has a choice to make. She can either give it all she’s got too, or she can be a bike slug on a wobbly ride.

And then there’s the whole steering thing.  

The front seat rider might have to pull the load, but he also gets to steer. It’s the front seat rider who controls the route.  That's why he has a choice to make, too. 

He can either be a big old bike bully or love the pedal pusher behind him enough to make it a team effort.   

Folks, that boy was a terrific front seat rider.

He never took a turn without asking me first. He steered away from potholes and stray dogs, even though he has no fear of  them whatsoever. He warned me when the road up ahead looked a little bumpy. When we were headed uphill, he told me to lean in and pedal hard. When we were headed for a downhill plunge, he let me close my eyes and scream. 

We were pedaling along just fine
until the day we had the big blowout.

It happened the way blowouts generally do, in the most inconvenient of locations - miles from where we wanted to be. The fact that it was the tire beneath the backseat rider is purely coincidental and not at all related to this post…

But blow it did, and we were left with no alternative but to walk that tandem all the way home.  Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever walked a dead bicycle, but it’s not that easy of a task.  You have to  lift the seat over the flat with one hand and steer with the other.  

Which is what I was prepared to do.
It was my flat after all.
I am woman. Hear me roar.

But the skinny boy had a different plan; he insisted that we switch places. I distinctly remember arguing with him that day, and I’m almost positive it was the first time that he called me Deb-or-ah.

He told me to march my stubborn self to the front of the bike, steer, and let him carry the load.   

I punished him with silence all the way home...

I've since learned to admit that he had the better plan. 

And that’s pretty much the way we’ve been riding ever since.  

He rides in the front.
I ride in the back.
We pedal together.  

I'd love to say that all roads have been straight and easy, but you would know it was a tale. We've had more than our share of stray dogs and potholes in our road. It’s been an uphill climb and a downhill fall, and we’ve had some more blow outs along the way too.  Yet here we are... still pedaling after all these years. 

Of course, we won't be pedaling on this anniversary. Oh, I wanted to,  but the tandem has suffered another major blow out. The fact that it's the tire beneath the backseat rider is merely coincidental and not related to this post...

Tandem riding.
I think it should be a marital prerequisite.

That's our secret. 
What's yours?


Robin said...

You really need to send this to a magazine! What a great post and a perfect description of what makes a marriage work! We will be 30 years in October and we wouldn't last 5 minutes on a tandem bike! You sound like a very lucky couple! Great advice to a young couple starting out (after you explain what a tandem bike is!)

Robin Flies South

Chatty Crone said...

First of all - you did indeed get a prize when you married him. I think it is a great prerequisite for getting married. Gosh I wish I could write like you and Sharon. You tell a great story - then show us the big meaning of it - unusually with a good God message. I loved it and you! sandie

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Debbie, I love this story -- thanks so much for sharing it with us!! Yep, it sounds like you've definitely got a winner in Sir Lotsa Hair...and he's got a winner with you. It's a real blessing to have that just-right companion to travel through life with, isn't it? Congratulations again on your 28th wedding anniversary! :)



Maryann said...

This is such a great story, it really does describe marriage. Sounds like you have a real prince. Our secret...lots of giving and taking. Hope you have a great Anniversary

Denise said...

What wonderful advice for all married or soon-to-be married couples. We wouldn't last 5 minutes on a tandem bike. That husband of mine would want both seats and that's just not possible! Would love for those newlyweds to give the tandem bike a try...hope she isn't too much like her dad wanting both seats and all.

My advice after thirty years would be that marriage will take a lot more giving than taking.

Hope you and your prince charming enjoy your special day together. Happy 28th anniversary!

PS Did you have time for your Friday egg white facial? Hope so.

Barbara F. said...

Now this is the kind of short story that should be published in a nice women's magazine, like Ladies Home Journal. I enjoyed reading it. Happy 28th Anniversary to you and Sir. A match made in Heaven, if you ask me. xo

Amy Kinser said...

What a great story, Deb o rah!!! Why did I have no idea at all what this kind of bike was called? I have learned so much from you.

Truly, I have learned lots from you. Great spiritual truths seem to flow from you. Thanks for being that vessel. said...

What a touchingly beautiful and accurate description of marriage! Here's to the next 28 years of tandem riding for Debbie and Sir Lotsa Hair. :) Giving him the glory seat keeps Deb-o-rah as Debbie! said...

Well from another June bride (ahead of your by a couple of years)...I think you have it. I must say our most recent blow out in life has made our riding a little more wobbly...God seems to be offering us training wheels again, we are learning how to continue to ride, even if we have fallen over a couple of times and experienced some hurt.

You are just great...may I send a bloggy hug..thanks for always hitting it right on the head!!

Congratulations...enjoy your anniversary!! You aren't sick this year..Praise God!

Mevely317 said...

In spite of the fact this requires EXERCISE ... I'm totally smitten, Debbie!
Coming over here is always guaranteed to put a BIG smile on my face ... and in my heart.
Happy Anniversary!!!!!

Kathleen said...

Well,congratulations on the book win!

Now I never would have thought to compare marriage to riding a tandem but hey, it makes complete sense when reading your post! That's a great pic by the way.

Happy Anniversary for tomorrow, I hope you both have a lovely day.

Also, Afternoon Tea at Harrods, very posh. Think that might be something to put on my Sand Pail list.

Sue said...

Great post Debbie! what a great analogy!! After a few Tandem rides and flat tires, i have found that the back seat is much safer, and so much easier!
I have heard of backseat driver advice but this is the first back seat rider, advice! I agree Tandem riding should be a marital prerequisite,! Did i mention what a great post this is?
Happy Anniversary, may your tandem rides grow sweeter and smoother every day!!
Enjoy your Anniversary Day!

Vee said...

Oh this should be required reading for many of us. I loved it. Our secret? We're old and have very little oomph left for ridiculous arguments, though we do have some intense conversations.

Kim@stuffcould.... said...

This is a great...he pushes the load as you steer. I do not have a marital secret...I will tell anyone when I figure it out:)

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Debbie, you were so sweet to mention me in this post, and I am honored to know you, even if it is only through blogging. Your marital story made me laugh several times, as usual. You should have sent that one to Chicken Soup!

Denise said...

Congrats on winning such a great prize. Happy Anniversary, enjoyed your story.

Christine said...

First of all, congratulations on winning.
Secondly, I agree with Dayle, you should of sent your story into Chicken Soup! Well worth reading again and again.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Fantastic story! You got a prize alright! I did too!

Happy anniversary!


Gina said...

You are the queen of fun & oh so clever tales, Debbie! I so enjoyed this post. Happy Anniversary to both of you!

Terra said...

Cute story and it shows how well suited you are as a couple.

Unknown said...

Debbie -- you should be writing your own book my friend! What a great post -- congratulations on the book you won. Hummm -- never have been on a tandem bike :)


corners of my life said...

Great story.

Thank you so much for sharing it.

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Debbie, I read and loved every word of your story. We can't do a tandem bike because I'm a little bit bad with control issues--but I think our marriage is more like two people attached by a long tether line--when one of us is in trouble, worried, ... the other just give a tug iandn we reel ... ready to help. Love your ideas. Our 32nd is in two weeks! Linda

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Love this post! I agree, magazine worthy! Happy Anniversary!

Ann said...

Oh how I wish I'd seen this one 37 years ago. What a gorgeous way to describe a marriage. Sigh, we both tend to pull, in opposite directions, then push in the same manner .... then we shake our heads and walk away in opposite directions again. LOL! But somehow, through it all, all the ups and downs, we come back together and make things work. Not always smoothly, but we do.
Perhaps had we thought of our relationship as you do with the tandem bike ... maybe our road would have been a little smoother? Perhaps not as exciting at times, but smoother ..... ?

Cheer and Happy Anniversary Debbie and "Sir Lotsa Hair!"

Knitty said...

Hubby and I haven't ridden a tandem bike, but we did paddle a rental boat once. Team work is definitely called for in such endeavors, and marriage is no exclusion.

After 16 years of marriage, he started his own business and we worked together for the next 20 years. Some thought that was too much togetherness, but we've always worked well together.

The Pioneer Woman recently gave some marital advice to one of her readers. She said that marriage isn't 50-50, that both must be willing to give 100%. When one can't give 100% for whatever the reason, the other is there to take up the slack. We always agreed that marriage isn't 50-50, but I hadn't heard it expressed quite like this before. Pioneer Woman said that a mind set of 50-50 implies you are only willing to give 50%.

Congratulations on 28 years together, and best wishes for many more! said...

This is a wonderful post!
Mister and I have been married 10 years, and it gets better every year. We have God in charge (cord of 3 strands, not easily broken!), and always look for the best in each other.

Mary said...

Happy Anniversary Debbie! I love your tandem riding/marriage analogy and your spiffy visor! Your posts always bring a smile to my face! We celebrate year 29 this August despite our blow outs :)

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

OK, so I had to try again after seeing my typos! ...

Well, Deb-o-rah, your timing is perfect (since I sometimes have a tiny controlling tendency while riding behind my sweetie). We just may be riding tandem next week while on vacation, and I needed these PRE-trip nudges.

Your story is a perfect example of the give-and-take necessary 100% of the time in a marriage. (BTW, I totally agree that it should be submitted for publication.) Happy 29th year ahead!

Tanna said...

This is fabulous, Debbie! Happy, Happy Belated Anniversary!! Love the picnic celebration... and the tandem photo... and the whole kit and kaboodle of this post!! blessings ~ tanna

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Excellent post and advice! Happy Anniversary to the both of you! I may have to store this post somewhere on my laptop for my future DIL's if I ever get any. I am sure they would love that. LOL! This really is packed full of such wonderful words of wisdom. Great writing!

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

Ain't it the truth? What a happy anniversary post to share. Such good, appropriate advice, too. I congratulate you both and wish you many more miles on the tandematronial tour of marital bliss!


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