I'm from this small town in northeast Alabama called Piedmont. I say I'm from this town because I lived there from the age of 6 to 16. I kind of loathed the town, the people, the accent, and almost every aspect of living there. Now, when I return for a visit, like a bad relationship, I only seem to remember all of the good things about living there. I remember my neighborhood where all the boys (and me) would have our own version of the Summer Olympics. Rob was in charge. He was always in charge of the neighborhood sports. He was the coolest guy in the world. He taught me how to play basketball, tag football, Whiffle ball, and he even had a golf cart he would drive around the block like any other cool kid would. We would all line up waiting for him to pick us to ride with him on that awesome cruise.
Rob mapped out the paths we would take for the cycling event. I had a pretty bike with huge handle bars with red fringes hanging from them. My brother Clarence, Curtis, and Rob had BMX bikes. I could barely keep up. For the medals, we used discarded beer cans we found in a nearby field (this is the kind of redneck town I grew up in) and used the different colors- Gold (Michelobe) and Silver (Bud Light)and Bronze (Coors, I think) to represent each prize. Since I was the tag-a-long little sister, I was almost always in 4th place. Rob was kind enough to let me have my own prize for 4th place because he was super cool like that. He looked around our carport and found a wet sponge and that became our last medal.
One race will always stick with me in my fond memory. I remember we all took off on our bikes down the street. Rob was in first place, as usual, and Clarence and Curtis were neck and neck until they reached the curve at the end of the street. Like the Talladega 500, there was a nasty wreck at this sharp turn and the two became tangled up in BMX bikes. I remember peddling so hard to catch up...and then...like my dreams.. I was able to pass my brother and Curtis as they tried so desperately to pick themselves up. Rob was waiting at the finish line and, for the first time, I got that silver medal. What a momentous occasion. I got the Bud Light can! It meant so much to me. When I see Rob now, we still joke about that wet sponge. I remind him that I didn't get it every time.