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The Pants Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
April 30, 2011

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The Pants Lesson

My Child teaches me or reminds me of valuable lessons on a regular basis. Sometimes these lessons are at my expense. These lessons can and do present themselves at any time regardless if I am ready for them. I've come to the realization that as adults, we will always continue to learn from others. In this case, I learn my lessons from my son the teacher.

My teacher has a passion for riding his bike. Every chance he gets, he is on it. That being said the natural progression and his desire was to learn how to ride a dirt bike motorcycle. I was very fortunate that I was able to buy a dirt bike very cheap from a friend that was a perfect size for my teacher. Can I tell you that my teacher just loves it and is a natural on it. Of course I didn?t realize because of the dirt bike, my hair would turn gray... at least what's left of my hair.

Don't get me wrong, I love to dirt bike as well ? as does my wife. This has become a regular event for us. We have several friends that have dirt bikes and we ride together often. Sometimes dirt bike camping is part of the equation. Basically, this means the dirt bike event becomes a weekend long endeavor. There are many dirt bike facilities that cater to this in surrounding cities. The facilities are dirt bike parks and they offer every type of off road scenario from trails in the woods, beginner to expert tracks, jumps, mud pits, drag strips and creek crossings.

We planned a day trip to one such park. The night before, I packed up the dirt bikes and gear onto the trailer. The next morning my wife made lunch and gathered snacks and drinks. She put together a backpack that contained an extra set of clothes for all of us, just in case. Finally she filled the jug of water. I hooked the trailer to my truck and finished packing the remainder of the miscellaneous items like chairs, cooler, jug of water and the bike ramp. During this time, my teacher was zooming around on his peddle bike. Like I said before, he has a passion for being on his bike. If I would allow him to carry that thing in the house and upstairs to his room, I'm certain that he would try and sleep next to it each night.

Once everything was completely packed, we jumped in my truck and headed towards "The Ridge" for the day. The Ridge is just one location where we enjoy riding. It?s a little over an hour's drive to get there. My wife asked the usual questions ensuring I packed everything. I knew I had, so I replied without question, yes.

The closer we got the more excited we were getting. Once we arrived at The Ridge, we pulled in front of the registration clubhouse and walked in. I was excited to see that the daily sign in sheet only had a handful of names signed in. To me, this is always a good thing from a selfish perspective because that meant there was not that many people out there riding yet. I prefer a situation where there are less people as it makes it a lot more fun.

We went to our normal spot to park and unload, which is next to the kids track. My teacher loves all types of riding, and his routine typically begins with him riding the kids track first, then on to other things like "Hog-Heaven", which is exactly like it sounds, yes a huge series of mud pits. He loves to get down and dirty in the mud pits. Then, we normally hit the trails for a while and eventually circle back to the truck for drinks and a snack or lunch, depending on the time.

As I began to unstrap the bikes, my wife opened the chest where our riding gear was and began to unload it and had hoped to help my teacher get his gear on. Moments later my teacher walked back to the trailer, where I was and appeared to be a little frustrated.

"Dad, where are they?" He asked.

"Where is what?" I answered.

"My dirt bike pants." He revealed.

"In the chest with everything else." I pointed out.

"Mom couldn?t find them." He informed me.

"Are you serious?" I questioned.

"Yes." He indicated.

"Oh great." I said allowed as I swallowed the lump in my throat.

I walked around to the chest and saw my wife with that "look" on her face. She expressed that his riding pants were nowhere to be found. I began to dig in the chest hoping that it was an oversight. Unfortunately it was not. I looked in the truck, thinking maybe, just maybe, I tossed them in the cab somewhere. Again, no luck. As I turned around, the vision I saw was right out of a movie. Both my wife and teacher were standing there, staring at me with their arms crossed and their feet tapping the ground. If I didn't know better, I was positive that I saw steam coming out of both of their ears. What I did realize was that my teachers riding pants were missing, but what I did not realize was that I was about to be taught yet another lesson.

I went to the clubhouse hoping to get a loaner pair of riding pants or anything for that matter. My teacher was dressed in shorts and I knew there was NO WAY he could ride in shorts, even though he wanted to do so. I would not allow that. Unfortunately there were no loaner, no lost-and-found and no pants his size to buy.

As I got back to the truck to share the bad news, I saw the disappointment from my teacher as I knew he was very excited to go riding that day. For the record, my wife and I were also looking forward to riding. We made the decision to go home and call it a day; it was not worth driving all the way back home, grabbing the forgotten dirt bike pants, driving back to The Ridge and unload everything for the ride. Time was not on our side.

Everything that was pulled out of the chest was placed back in it and I secured all the straps holding the bikes. We slowly climbed into the truck and began our drive home. The silence was loud and clear. Finally, I spoke.

"I know you were excited to ride son and I'm sorry that I messed up. I was sure I had everything. I promise we will come soon." I explained.

Then in one sentence the lesson was an open and closed case, if you will.

"Well dad, maybe next time you should double check everything before we leave." He mentioned.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: Whether you plans include a local event or an out of town trip, always double check to make sure you have everything before you leave.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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