Monday, January 31, 2011

One skate, RIP

My left Rollerblade broke this last Saturday. I mean it cracked from heel to tongue. Dead, unusable, more ways than one.

I got my first set of Rollerblades back when I was in 7th grade. I was 13. I paid more for them than I paid for anything up to that point. I mortgaged all of my spending money that I had saved and some that I had not yet received. My father was not one to allow "pre-spending" of money, but I had an already established passion of rollerskating in parking lots.

My dear friend Micah, brought me to a discovery of just what joy a smooth set of roller skates could give when they paved the parking lot in my 6th grade year. We were are a tiny school, and we played in the field to the side of the parking lot and in the gravel lot on rainy days. The black top was really nice when they put it in, and it called to us all...

The roller skates made it a land of freedom and speed. The black sparkling surface stretched half of the old lot. It was stupendous. I always loved roller skating, but the mixture of the sun and wind made it akin to flying...My $10 skates were black and had yellow wheels and I thought that nothing could bring such joy...

Then I went to Montgomery Cyclery with my dad. My dad spent a lot of time in bike shops. I know he bought a few, and I know he got them tweaks and presents...but I had no idea that they sold anything else until one day I was reading on the floor (as I was want to do)...and happened to fall in love with my first true love, some Rollerblades.

To this day, I cannot remember if my dad introduced me to my drug of choice or if I happened to notice them. But I remember lacing their HUGE, plastic, hockey boots and falling deeply in love. They were the original Lightnings in White with black inner boots. And the smooth speed when those wheels hit the polished tile absolutely took my breath away.

I replaced 2 sets of wheels before I hit high school and innumerable brakes. The speed, oh, the SPEED was freedom in it's finest form. The wind in my hair, the sun on my back....the bite of cold through my jacket...or lack thereof, that resulted in several bouts of pnuemonia......

Actually one of my most treasured memories, was a day that it snowed at school....It was right after they finished paving the rest of the parking lot which resulted a doubling of my rink, so the black top was fresh and smooth...and the sky was black, the snow started falling, but it melted the second it hit the pavement. As I screamed through the wind, the snow whipped around me, transforming it to some kind of fantasy that will never again be attained until I get to heaven. Truly. That mix of speed and magic has never been touched since.

When I was 15, Sears or JCPenny had an impromptu sale on the upgraded Rollerblade Lightnings, in a smoother chic black on black that I couldn't say no to, especially as the bearings on my older skates had seen better days...I skated in rain, snow, sleet and it was really beginning to tell. My speed, although I was stronger, started to lag...So, I happily bought my upgrades for a steal....and have had them for 20 years as of this spring.

In college, hills were a dear friend, the flying feeling was even more pronounced as I screamed up and down, and felt the shackles of the world fall became almost a religious experience, the separation from my cares, stress, or pressure of my future. It felt as if God himself was running his fingers through my hair...soothing me...

I actually fell in love with my husband on these beloved skates. He was a random request of a skating partner one hot August day in college. I just wanted some companionship on the pavement that day and he was the first to be able to keep up with me on skates....sometimes I giggle that they were a bit of a backwards Cinderella moment...because the skate "fit"... :) Of course, we found that we were a match far past the pavement, but it was the start. Another one of God's gifts through my skates!

I skated until I was 6 months pregnant with Gabriel, at which point, my core balance failed me. When I had him, I finally was released back to them and feared falling which would impair my mothering ability. That worry didn't release me through the rest of my kids...I get out there periodically, but my true enjoyment was tempered by my need to care for someone after I took the skates off...until this weekend.

This last weekend was the first time where my kids are all at the point that they have a certain measure of self-sufficiency...and I felt truly free to enjoy the speed...until I started up a sparkling hill in my neighborhood and was unable to to correct the leaning of my skate....and found the crack...

I cried. I admit it. I was devastated. And they are just stupid skates...but the joy that they have brought me over the years really is unmatched, shy of my husband and kids...It was like an end of an era.

I have researched purchasing some new skates, and am planning to do so, but after the 20 years of devotion to my black pair, I feel a bit the harlot. There are some beauties out there and I found a road group that actually does a marathon of varying distances from Athens to Atlanta, on in-line skates...I am SO very tempted to try for it this who knows... It appears that I may be tempted beyond what I can bear for that... :)

The idea of whipping down a road blocked off for ME for an entire day sounds like heaven...and God can run his fingers through my hair again...yes, I believe I will have to try for it.


  1. How silly ~ I found myself tearing up. . . A sweet nod back to a simple, carefree time even as you look forward, anticipating the delights of the life to come! Maybe you and Gabriel could enjoy such a venture together! Sounds heavenly ~ despite taking away my breath :) . . . did THEN & STILL DOES!

  2. Go for it, Tiffany!! I remembered roller blading being your first encounters and "dates" with Ethan. He loved that about you, because he valued his skating ability as well. It's great exercise and very freeing! I roller skated a lot when I was a preteen and teen. Something about your father-in-law you may not know--he was phenomenal on the floor in those old traditional roller skates and the dance moves at high speeds! I was never brave enough to keep up with him, but enjoyed skating until I, too, was so afraid of breaking something, missing work, and not being able to take care of my children. You are much more skilled than I--the miles of skating with a road group sounds like a wonderful adventure!!

  3. How fun!

    Sorry about the loss of your skate... I used to love rollerblading. I haven't done it in ages, but I think I still have a pair lying in my garage somewhere. Maybe I'll try them on again one of these days!