A Warm December Day

Yesterday, was a rare warm December day that got me out and about. It began going antiquing with my daughter and son-in-law and ended with a spectacular bike accident. It was just the last blog post, I was saying that it would be a good idea to have short-term disability insurance. I wasn’t thinking I would need to use it so soon. Well…more on that later.

Antiquing in Decatur

My son-in-law collects uranium glass, and there was plenty to be found at the old Wabash train station. I was there to be extra hands and eyes to prevent my four-year-old grandson from breaking anything breakable – not an easy task.

A good part of the time was spent hearing, “Wow! Look at this old thing.” In reply, I would state I had one of those things when I was a kid. It didn’t take too long till I started feeling way older than I should. It’s a great feeling being a grandmother, but I sure don’t think I look like any grandmother I had. They were cool, and I loved them, but they were old in my eyes. I don’t think of myself that way, other than the cool part.

We visited a nearby antique shop just steps away from the train station called Never Forgotten Thyme Shoppe, and boy is that place full of character and history. The building looks small from the outside, but goes on and on inside. The creaky old floors reminded me of K’s Merchandise when it was downtown. I’ve missed those creaky floors. I’ll take the possibility of falling into a basement over the blandness of modern box stores for a Saturday afternoon adventure.

Never Forgotten Thymes Shoppe

But you haven’t truly experienced the place until you visit the basement. You enter it from an outside ramp. The makeshift plywood door slammed shut behind me like a trap door. There has been no attempt to hide the fact that it’s a basement. In fact, it’s the basement of which all basements aspire, complete with the musty smells, poorly lit areas, exposed wires and plumbing, probably a ghost or two, and a large pit for burning coal in the past.

My 2021 sensibility soon kicked in like a wet blanket, and I spent much of the time noticing how the building was not built to today’s building codes. I was continually making a mental map that would take me out of the place in the event of a fire or terrorist attack. I saw cracks of daylight here and there between the boards and planned how I would efficiently pound my way through old window wells covered by fiberglass panels. Yeah, that’s how my mind works. I have been almost thoroughly ruined by today’s overzealous safety codes and predatory lawyers.

The basement is used as a flea market a couple of Saturdays each month. Never mind my neurotic nature. It’s worth a visit if you’re into antiquing or old history. Vendors have their own sections, and they are as colorful and interesting as the unique finds on the shelves. My son-in-law found some uranium glass and a rock that glowed under the black light he brought with him. I enjoyed myself.

Walrus Manufacturing Building on MLK Jr

Walrus Manufacturing Building Demo

On the way home, I had to stop and take a couple pictures of the 117-year-old Walrus Manufacturing building that is in the process of being demolished. A wall collapsed a few months ago, prompting the demolition. Much of the building is still standing. Robert Faries, one of Decatur’s most influential businessmen of the early 1900s, started Walrus Manufacturing. Years of neglect, long after Walrus Manufacturing closed, doomed the building.

The Wreck

Once I got home, the warm weather convinced me to get out and go for a bike ride. I didn’t get very far from home before the wheels fell off, almost literally. As I was about to cruise down Westlawn on the way to the bike path, the battery of the electric bike I was riding fell out. It temporarily wedged between the bike frame and the front tire, twisting the stem of the handlebars, which made it impossible to steer the bike.

Though, when it was happening, I didn’t know what was happening. It felt like the bike was disintegrating beneath me. I expected to find mangled parts for a half a block. While I was heading for the pavement, I thought, “Some of the bikes I’ve reviewed aren’t the greatest, but yeesh!” The bike veered off to the right, and I held on for dear life until I made impact with the pavement.

My left thigh has a very large bruise. I also hurt my right ankle and elbow. But it was my right shoulder that took the brunt of the force. The scary part was realizing that I was helpless against the forces of gravity. As much as I tried to brace myself, my head still hit the pavement, but my helmet did its job.

It could have been way worse. If it had happened just another 20-50 feet down the road, I would have been picking up speed going downhill. I also had on a couple layers of long sleeves, and long pants, which prevented my arm and legs from being hamburger right now. Even with the layers, my arm still got scraped pretty good. I will definitely invest in some elbow pads and wear them every time I ride in the future.

The moral of the story. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding a bike, but know you can still get hurt no matter how much you plan against it. Most importantly, make sure the battery is all the way in when riding an electric bike! Ugh. I’m just so glad no cars were going by when I wiped out. It was embarrassing enough, just in front of the squirrels.

So now, I’ll need some tests to determine if it’s a torn rotator cuff. All signs are pointing that way. This year has been rough on me. It’s been one punch after the other. But I’m okay. I’ll deal with it. It was still a good day.

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