There have rumblings around school this morning that there is a contest going on at the store at the top of the hill. Mr. Leach, known as Hank by the town folk, has a huge sign in his window. I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, but this noon got permission to go to the store and read it myself!
It says that anyone who pays on their bill has a vote for each dollar paid. I guess in a mill town like ours, most every one picks up what they want and pays on Friday when they get their check. Sometimes there are people who get behind on paying and to tell the truth, that is easy to do. I think Mr. Leach would like to catch up on back bills so he has a contest to elect the most popular girl in the town. I have no idea how he came up with that idea.
Two weeks have gone by and I decide to climb the hill this noon to see how the contest is going and to tell the truth, kill some time away from school. Mr. Meserve is not the most pleasant teacher I have ever had and I still haven’t see him smile. Oh, my goodness, there is my name on the big sign and also my best friend, Kay Dorey, is also on the sign. The prizes are to be a new bicycle and a Kodak camera. Well I never have rode a bike in my life but I like to take pictures. Oh, no I take that back. I did ride a bike once.
I was walking on the “flat” and Elwin Cole came riding down the road and stopped to say hi. I told him I had never ridden a bike and he said I could ride his for just a short way. Well, I was some pleased and hopped right up on the seat and started pedaling. I kept going faster and faster and Elwin ran beside me telling me to slow down and I kept saying how . By this time my riding was out of control and I was way past Elwin. I figured to keep upright I had to keep pedaling. It all came to an end when I got to our mailbox and ran into it. I thought maybe I would go over the handlebars, but I just kind of tipped over and wasn’t hurt and neither was the bike. Elwin caught up with me, and he was gasping for breath. He didn’t say anything, just took his bike and rode away in the direction of his house. Well, he should have told me where the brake was or how to do it. I told him I had never been on one in my life.
So there is this splendid blue and white girls bike sitting in the window along side the Kodak camera. The bike is the first prize and the camera second. Ma and Dad shop at Vallee’s down the street so they won’t be buying at the store. Well, I would like that camera so I can take pictures of Keno, our husky, and my brothers.
Well, the month is over and so is the contest. It is Sunday and Dad is going to Langway’s filling station for some kerosene in the little blue can and asks if I want to ride along. I usually go and look at the candy and everything while they visit. This morning he stops the car and says are you going to go up to Leach’s and see who won the contest? I run up and there in the big store window is my name and I have won the bicycle. I run back to the car and Dad is already waiting for me and says, well? I tell him I won, I won. He says, what did you win and I tell him the bike. Well, he just grins all over and says , good for you, Muff.
Getting the bike home is another matter. It is Monday and I tell Rex and Curt I am not going home on the bus , but am going to Leach’s to get my bicycle. Mr. Leach is so pleased to see me but cautions that that the nuts and bolts or whatever should be tightened before I ride it. I tell him I will ride it straight home and my brother will tighten whatever needs to be tightened. He says, ok, but it is four miles. It is like I am flying in the wind. My hair is swishing behind me and I pedal down past the four ponds. There are no cars on the road as everyone is still working, so I look at the ponds and the birds swooping , go around the bends and down the little hills. This is just heaven. I never dreamed I would have such a beautiful bicycle. I come to our driveway and even miss our mailbox.
Rex is ready with the wrench and tightens everything while I hurry in to get the potatoes peeled and after- school chores done. I haven’t heard anything from him in quite awhile, so go to the door. He is standing there and my bike looks a little damp. What have you done I ask him and he says, I wondered if your bike floated. If I did not have the chores to do, I would have chased him to the shores of Twitchell Pond and made him see if he could float.
I am not sure if he rode it into the pond or not. I like to believe he was washing all the dust off from the Greenwood Road!
This is the nicest thing that has happened to me in a long time!