A dollar or death

                     I had a red bike when I was a kid back in Amarillo, Texas. My sister’s bike was blue. That was a big deal to her for some reason. I rode my bike a lot more than she did so it was broke more often. My bike was usually broke with a flat tire or no brakes so I would just swipe hers. There was a time when hers had a flat and she pitched an absolute fit when I would not give her my bike to ride. I tried to reason with her. “You know, everybody knows my bike is red. If they see you on my bike, well, I’ll never hear the end of it. The guys will be all over me. I would probably have to leave town.” She did not see the clear logic behind that argument and raced into the house to appeal to Dad. That was my window to escape. I jumped on my bike and pedaled off north on Chisholm Trail heading to the nearest field where she could not get to me (readers will remember that girls were never allowed in the fields around our neighborhood – state law).

                As I came up on the intersection of Chisholm Trail and Cherokee, I looked down in the gutter and spotted a dollar bill. For a guy who never had an allowance, a dollar bill was like winning the lottery. I slammed on the brakes knowing that I would have to grab the dollar and keep going as quickly as possible. I was still in sight of my house and did not want Dad to catch my attention (and thus, in all probability, lose my bike). At the moment I hit the brakes, they decided to quit. I rolled right past the dollar and straight towards Cherokee, all the while flailing about like a crazed drunk trying to stop. Now, Cherokee was a very busy street and I was not going to be able to stop in time to avoid rolling right out into the middle of the street and so meet my sorry end. I found religion right then and there. I made every vow to the Almighty that could be made in a desperate plea for survival. I don’t know to this day how I pulled it off, but the bike stopped just short of the front bumper of a 1962 Dodge Dart. I dropped the bike, ran back and grabbed the dollar, then rushed back to the bike and off to the field. I had evaded death (from Dad and the car), retained my bicycle, and found safety in the field. I had also sworn eternal loyalty to the Almighty though I have since long forgotten the exact vows I made. I have no doubt He will remind me at some point.

                I eventually had to go home and, as memory serves, was compelled by my Dad to fix my sister’s bike before I could ride my bike again. I don’t fix flats very well……


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