The bike was a 1950s vintage one-speed, perfect for the seashore’s flat terrain. It had a wide, comfortable seat, sturdy aluminum or steel handlebars complete with a one-chime bell, and wide tires. I rode sadly but hopefully towards the convent by the sea, riding into the wind. It had been a long time since I had ridden a bike, and my legs could feel the steady push-pull of pedaling at a measured pace. Damn, it was tough riding that old bike. Despite not having ridden for awhile, I was an avid, regular walker and worked out with weights several times a week. I couldn’t believe how tough it was just to pedal on such flat terrain. “Oh, yeah, I’m riding into the wind—that must be why it’s so damn hard,” I reassured myself. On reaching the convent, I spied a sister and hurried over to her.
“Sister, I’m having an awful day. Could you possibly give me communion?”
“Well, Father just finished Mass. I’ll see if he’s still here. Come with me,” she offered.
“Come on, sister,” I muttered inside, “we’re in a post-Vatican-II world. Sisters can give communion. Even I could give communion in an emergency. Can’t you just do it?”
“No, I think Father’s still here. He’ll give you communion.” Father gladly offered me communion and asked if I knew what day it was.“It’s Thursday,” I replied, “the fifteenth of August.”
“Quite right, young lady,” the kindly priest answered. “It’s Our Lady’s feast day, so be sure and put your feet into the ocean and say a thank you to Mary.”
Story – “Riding into the Wind” / Ann Bracken
Photography – Carla Costa