I restored my first bike when I was ten years old. I vividly remember the circumstances of that first acquisition. Having recently been hired as a city delivery boy for the local newspaper, I had walked my route for several months, squirreling away my meager profits until the Maxwell House Coffee jar with the crude hole cut in the lid was filled with enough coins to purchase a bicycle. Carrying my homemade bank with the great total of eight dollars, I followed my dad (who believed in walking everywhere) over the steep, unforgiving hills that made up the west side of our small Southern town. It was a Saturday morning in the mid-Fifties and I remember the elation and anticipation of the event more than the exhausting trek of a mile over and a mile back to the house. Perhaps this day was the first of many when I would see discarded and worn machinery, not as outcasts of utilitarianism, but in their original glory as brilliantly-painted tools and toys. How else could one explain the motivation forty years later to restore every bike and metal toy from the era of balloon tires and Structos? Without realizing his planting the seed, my father was showing me that all things old and rusty have a beauty and charm all their own. I thought I was underway to buy a despondent relic of the late Forties. I was actually introducing myself to a late-life work of preserving the joy of childhood and youth. Or perhaps I exaggerate to a fault. But that day I saw a rusty, unusable Western Flyer Deluxe with both tires ravaged with age, cracked and weary beyond patching, a chain that trailed behind us as we geared ourselves for the journey home, and a seat so torn and unraveled that I was destined to lose a couple of pairs of jeans to its exposed metal (not to mention the obvious discomfort that boys inevitably felt at the guise of the bicycle seat ) before I wound enough black tape around it to make it serviceable. And, naturally, the first restoration was by no means a princely work of art. Although one of my greatest thrills was walking through the bicycle section of the local Western Auto store on Main Street eyeing the parts that I could not afford, I also recall that the store owner had a gorgeous daughter a few years older that I was who came upon my eyes every Saturday morning as my brother Randy and I picked through the parts that we needed and felt the first pangs of total admiration for an older woman. So life was not all 26-inch tires and ball bearings - which was exactly the way that it was intended. Watch me as I digress. Old Yeller came into being under the slick paint brush ordered up at Kress Five and Dime. The white fender trim was so out of symmetry that I suppose some of the boys at Glen Addie Elementary School from this era are still chuckling over this original design. But they missed the entire point as they laughed at me as I jockeyed past them on the long trip home following school and the ever present obligation of the paper route. I felt the wind on my face and the hum of the Davis Deluxe blackwalls under my control. I was soaring with eagles and was at least their equal.