We were riding our bicycles around the neighborhood, something he and I did quite often. This day though, my brother Adam was wearing an old white motorcycle helmet that belonged to Dad.
Since it didn’t fit him, Adam had stuffed it full of newspaper wads and taped them in place. Then by wearing a beanie-stocking, the helmet didn’t shift from side to side or slip down to cover his eyes.
One of the great joys we partook in was pedaling from in front of the fire station to the hill that lead to the woods, which was between the Methodist Church and the red Simpson building. We used the distance, which was probably a quarter of a mile, to gather enough speed to race up the hill to the logging road above.
The hill, as we called it, was a steep grade greater than 45-degrees and consisted of a path no wider than the handlebars of our bikes. The real trick was not only to make it to the top and onto the road, but to either stop or turn before crashing into the embankment on the far side.
Sometimes we were successful — most times we weren’t and that’s what made it fun.
One day we found our pathway blocked; Mr. Breedon had chained a billy-goat to the entrance of the bike trail. So instead of riding up the hill as planned, we dropped our bikes to play with the billy-goat.
Being limited in his movement, we could easily stay out of danger, should the goat decide to butt us, which is exactly what he did. Standing jus’ out of range of his tiny bump-like horns, I was petting the animal when I heard Adam say, “Watch this!”
Turning, I saw he had the motorcycle helmet on and he was kicking his right leg like a bull, ready for the charge. I stepped out-of-the-way, saying, “I don’t think you should…”
By that time Adam, head down, was sprinting towards the goat. The animal saw him coming and took off in the opposite direction, with Adam chasing it from one place to another.
Finally, out of breath from racing after the billy-goat, Adam trotted down the hill to where I was standing. As for the goat, he was standing in the middle of the bike path, watching Adam retreat.
After a couple of minutes of staring each other down, Adam put his head down and again making with the menacing foot drag, charged up the hillside towards the billy-goat. This time the 60 pound animal met Adam’s challenge as it reared up on it’s hind-legs and bolted down the pathway.
The pair collided head-long into one another with a mighty ‘Clack!’ which echoed off the metal wall of the Simpson building. The goat bounced off Adam’s helmet, while Adam dropped face first to the dirt.
Knowing Adam could be hurt as the goat pranced around and jump on top of him, I rushed over and dragged my brother out of harms way. Once beyond the goat’s chain, Adam rolled over on his back and began laughing – which caused me to laugh.
The next day, Adam complained bitterly about how the top of his head, his neck and both of his shoulders ached, claiming he couldn’t understand why. By then, I was the only one laughing.