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  1. #1
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
    Reputation: fred-da-trog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Blessed and Bonded By Bike, Blood, and Razor Wire

    With only donated bikes and bike parts, the incarcerated young men I work with get easily frustrated when painting and refurbishing bicycles doesn’t go well. Along with donating refurbished bikes to needy kids, the bike shop also does work for institutional staff, me included. I had gotten my hands on very small geared mountain bike that would be great for my grandson in a couple years.

    ‘Manny’ volunteered to do all the work needed to turn the very aged bike into a San Francisco 49er themed bike. For the first few months Manny would work infrequently, often distracted by gang talk or frustration of lack of parts or my comments of unacceptable craftsmanship. Then for reasons only known to Manny, one day he told me that because the bike was for my grandson, the bike was going to be perfect because that’s how it was supposed to be. From that day on Manny worked everyday, re-sanding and painting pieces sometimes 3 or 4 times before he was satisfied.

    After about 4 months, the bike was done just days before the class gave me a surprise retirement party. During the party Manny and I had the opportunity to make small talk, something impossible to do during class with young felons.

    He shared learning to count his blessings had earned him a new outlook a few months ago and parole just that morning. I shared how whenever I feel low, the mental picture of my grandson jumping up and down reminded me how blessed I am. I shared my grandson is only here because my daughter had survived leukemia and against the doctor’s prognosis of her ever bearing children, my grandson was born and now he has a sister too. Manny became very solemn, “Mr. Randle, my mom died of leukemia.” She had also gotten pregnant after treatment but the first baby didn’t survive, but he did as the second.

    He told me even though he was only 5 years old, he remembers every detail of her last night. He remembered her insisting he sit with her while she sang to him. He sang the song for me. He remembered falling asleep in her lap and when waking in the morning, she had passed.

    We discussed how could we have worked together a year without knowing each other’s story. We discussed how special a child’s bicycle will forever bond us long after we go our separate ways.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Blessed and Bonded By Bike, Blood, and Razor Wire-manny.jpg  


    I may not have the best of everything, but I have the best everything that matters.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bmf032's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    That bike is awesome! Both of your stories are incredible. Thank you for sharing. You are definitely making a difference in people's lives.
    18" rigid Unit

  3. #3
    'Tis but a scratch
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Now that's passion!

  4. #4
    not actually bad :)
    Reputation: bad_andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    One of the best posts I have read in a long time.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Old Codger

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: June Bug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Ok, had to take a Kleenex break! Beautiful story on every level. thank you for sharing this.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Reviving the passion, it ain't dead yet Ska!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Awesome story for Christmas. Best wishes for you and Manny in the future.

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