Two of our sons, Philip and Edward, are bicycle enthusiasts. When Philip was about 10-years-old, he bought his own bike with money he had saved. He lovingly cared for that bike, even as far as drying it off after splashing through rain puddles. Such a great example of the pride one takes in contributing toward something meaningful. When Philip was in college, his love of bikes continued to include the starting of a student-run bicycle business that he and his friend/business partner, Sam, started.
Edward, our engineering-minded son loved the building part of bikes – finding parts from hither and yon and making it all fit together. He also enjoyed the provenance of each piece – where and when it was manufactured, the quality of the workmanship.
Edward had been working on assembling the parts to a very particular type of Italian bike. A major piece was still unfound – something like the frame! Anyway, he was visiting his brother, Philip, in Brooklyn, when he saw, hanging on the wall of Philip’s apartment, the very frame he had been searching for – amazing! And it was black – perfect. Philip sold him the piece, shipped it to him, Edward completed his bike and was thrilled with the finished product. A short while later, he rode it to work for the first time and carefully locked it up. When he finished his work day, he went out to ride home only to find a mangled bike, which someone had backed into and basically destroyed. Edward took the tragedy on two wheels to Marshall, the bicycle fixer guru in Charleston and sadly, it looked like a hopeless case. It took Edward a month to share the sad news with his brother.
Edward was bike-less and bereft. He kept going into shops but couldn’t find anything he liked. He visited us in Sarasota and went to the bike store there. To make a long story short (I can hear my sister saying, “get on with it, Laura!”), he saw an amazing bike. He came home, showing us this masterpiece of engineering through pictures on his cell phone. It was too expensive for him to purchase but he was drooling. You know where this is going – I talked it over with Jay and we decided to get the bike for Edward for Christmas. I was heading to the bike shop, checkbook in hand and thought, wait a minute… I don’t know anything about bikes, this could be a ripoff, so I got Philip to call the shop and check it out. Philip called me back and said, “Mom, you don’t want to buy that bike.” I won’t go into the reasons, but I was bummed. I asked Philip how can we get Edward a bike he will love? Philip said he would look into it. So, Philip went to work on it. He found some random guy, in Italy (!) on eBay selling exactly the frame Edward needed to rebuild his bike, which still sat in Marshall’s shop. Philip had the bike frame and wheel set sent directly to Marshall. At Christmas in Florida, Edward opened a box with a picture of the bike (which I had folded into an origami shirt – don’t know how to fold a bike) and he flipped! There were all sorts of crazy connections with the bike shop that originally made the frame, in the area of northern Italy where Edward had studied for a year, etc. When he got back to Charleston, Marshall had his new bike ready to ride. Never have you seen a happier boy with a new bike for Christmas!
So, it’s a week later and Edward and I stopped into see Marshall (for an appraisal so the new bike can be insured) and there is icing on the cake. The post office tried to deliver the package, from Italy, on Christmas Eve to Marshall’s shop but he had gone home early. At 7 pm that night, there was a knock at the door. Angela, his “mail lady” stood at the door with a crate. She apologized for having looked up his name and address but since it was on her way home, she thought she would drop it off, being Christmas the next day and all. Angela had been delivering his mail for 15 years so it wasn’t weird, but instead rather wonderful and sweet and awesome.
Bottom line: Absolutely yes, you can believe in miracles. Especially at Christmas-time.