I was 14. It was summer, and my little brother had gotten a Honda Trail 70 for his birthday. His birthday was in April, but it took about 2 months to get the 70’s model mini bike running again.
The family was outside enjoying the sun, and working in the yard. So, we actually were digging a ditch to run from the kitchen sink out to the field behind the house. Dad had taken a break to see his children enjoy this little treasure.
Let me preface this with, It was not my precious, it was not my treasure, if anything it was my torture chamber. However, this was the 90s, and times were free-er then, better in a lot of ways. So when My dad and brother asked if I wanted to ride that infernal contraption. I thought it would be fun.
I jumped on the seat and turned the handle. A shrill squeal was forced from my lungs as I took off at the break neck speeds of 15 mph. (maybe 20). I puttered around the yard, and thought it was great fun. There were handbrakes so I was sure I could stop, I had not a care in the world.
I drove closer to my family and puttered away, on about the third wide lazy circle the unthinkable happened. You’re thinking, She crashed, she wiped out. And while you wouldn’t be wrong it was not the end result that was unthinkable.
My 5 year old sister jumped out in front of me and started shaking her butt. “You can’t miss me.” Bouncing around and waving her arms. “You can’t miss me.” Sticking out her tongue and sing songing. “You can’t miss–oof” She was right. I couldn’t miss her.
I cut the wheel hard to the right, and having never been on a motorized bike before I didn’t realize you couldn’t turn it as sharply as a bicycle. The result was, the little bike knocked my sister down and THREW me across the yard.
I flipped over the handle bars, and landed hard on what still seems like six or eight feet from the bike (in reality I’m sure it was more like three at most). I landed hard on my back, and wacked my head on the hard packed dirt for good measure.
My family raced towards my sister, who had a little tire mark on her shirt. Where the tire knocked her down. She was knocked on her butt. While I would be scared now, or even later if we are being honest. She only was knocked down.
I lay on the ground for hours trying to catch my breath, The world swam in and out of focus. I couldn’t breathe. Panic set in, I seriously couldn’t breath. OH GODS NO!
Then a friendly face peered over me. A friendly face and a hand reached towards me.
“Take a breath.” My eyes must have looked panicked. “I know it hurts, but take one real slow deep breath.”
I tried to comply one small gasp. I had gained a single molecule of oxygen it seemed, and I was dying for more.
“Again, slower.” Again a slightly longer gasp, and the darkening edges of my vision held steady.
The anxiety still waged a war with my body, fight or flight was gone haywire, with the flight already suceeded. “One more good deep slow breath.”
That time I was rewarded with a much less painful, more beneficial breath. I started to breathe normally, and his face broke out in a lovely smile.
“Now, are you hurt?” Not trusting my voice I nodded my head. “Where?” I pointed to my head, and finally tried my voice.
“My head and my neck.” He helped me to my feet, and we found my glasses, that were tossed a foot or so behind me. (any further and they would have landed in the chicken yard.)
Remember this was the 90s. He looked me over, and I felt like I might just live. I looked towards the scene of the impact and my family was still babying the little sister.
Two days later, and still nursing my sore neck, and shoulder (it bloomed with pain later) My father forced me back on the bike. Through tears I rode around the yard again. With no new injuries or accidents, I hung up my chaps and have never rode a motorcycle again. Well, i’ve never drove one again.