(this entry is the actual post for March 22 for some complex reason related to the cascading effect of having missed March 20)
My mother’s bicycle was pretty basic: seat covered in brown leatherette; handlebars sporting grips that complemented the faded candy blue frame; three gears, the thumb-drive shifter mounted so there was no need to move a hand off the right grip; pedal brakes. She had added a wire basket that perched above the front wheel, though the rear pannier rack was standard; the basket was needed for the padlock’s thick chain and the Tour de France U-lock. “Toouurrr de Frahncsh,” she’d brag, though the longest she’d ever ridden was 40 hill-less blocks. To her credit, she did it in heels, but still.
She called me after she’d locked it to the U-shaped bike rack outside the museum. “U-shaped! Don’t you love the synchronicity?”
“That’s great, Mom.”
The Tour de France always secured the front wheel, the chain went on the back. She took a photo with her smartphone and sent it to her sister, my sister and me. I texted back that her tires looked a little soft. “Nxt, bk shp 4 new.” My mother understood texting much earlier than I did; I still use punctuation.
She was devastated, of course, when she discovered her bike had been stolen. She didn’t get angry until she logged on to the Times website—my mother gave up the paper edition as soon as it was feasible—and clicked on the Style section home page.
The subject line of the emails she sent to her sister, my sister and me was “My BIKE!” We dutifully clicked on the link, started the slideshow (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/03/22/garden/20120322-MAKE-2.html). The first photo was nearly identical to the one she’d sent before the theft.
My sister replied all: “Do you think they’ll give you the lamp? If they do, can I have it?”