The other night, I was riding my bike through the neighborhood, as is my habit. I enjoy the
cool stiflingly humid breeze, the occasional small animal, the glimpses of neighbors. It’s a good time to process the day’s thoughts in a little solitude. I’ve been doing it since I was a teen.
Then, suddenly, a group of teens nearby ran past, humming and laughing.
It took me a moment to realize the melody they’d been humming, and then it came to me: Miss Gulch’s theme from “The Wizard of Oz.”
I confess that my first thought was gratitude that they were culturally-aware enough to even know the tune. My 11-year-old’s class put on “The Wizard of Oz” this spring, and I was amazed how many kids hadn’t even been aware of the classic. Apparently, the night each year when network TV shows the Wizard is no longer a national holiday.
But then it struck me: to those teens, I was nothing like them, breezing along, feeling the wind in my face and copying the circle drive in front of the Lutheran Church one … two … three times. No, I was Miss Gulch — a weird older lady.
When did that happen? Guess I better start checking to see if I’m developing a hump or warts with hair growing out of them.
And I thought again, as I often do, about the passage of time. To me, I’m still a teen, riding through town in a carefree way. But I’m not: thirty years have passed, and these kids see me as an uncool oddity, not as a fellow traveler along the brief stretch of time we’ve each been granted on this awful yet wonderful place called Earth.
I think of God, smiling (? I hope!) as he looks down at us. What must He think, as we made fun of each other, emulate each other, wish to be and hope never to be like each other? We all feel so different, and yet we’re so similar — like it or not.
You might enjoy a bike ride today, whatever your age. Then again, maybe you won’t. Who am I to say? Me, I’m off to capture stray puppies. I sure hope none will try to bite my leg off.