I was dying for a bicycle. What I really wanted was a Spitfire, dark blue! That had to be the most beautiful bike in the world. However, I was a realist. I had heard my mother worrying over Christmas enough to know there would never be enough money for a new Spitfire. That would have cost more than she had to spend for the whole family. I would have been happy with anything of a reasonable size without training wheels. It didn’t have to be new. It didn’t have to have a horn. It didn’t have to be blue. I just wanted a bike.
My mother did make a mysterious trip to Goodwill in Shreveport before Christmas. There is no way I could have missed knowing this. She was a timid driver. “Driving in town” was a frequent topic of discussion among her group of friends. The bolder ones proudly bragged, “I drive in Shreveport!” Most of them “drove in Springhill.” Mother didn’t mind “driving in Cotton Valley.” It had businesses on two major streets, no parallel parking, and no parking meters. A kid could drive a tricycle down Main Street undisturbed.Needless to say, Mother must have felt pretty pressed by our pleas for bikes to plan a trip to Shreveport. She worried a lot that Goodwill might have parallel parking. Finally, the big day came. Though she was secretive about her purpose, I knew it had to be related to Christmas. She even recruited a friend to babysit Connie and Marilyn, the only time I’d ever known her to do such a thing!
She left as soon as we were on the bus, not getting home till long after dark, unheard of for her. There were no packages. The next day, we stopped by Bud Hooten’s Hardware store where she bought a quart of sky blue enamel paint, some sandpaper, and a brush. We took these to my Uncle Albert’s house. He had a boy, Bobby, staying with him. While Mother drank coffee with Aunt Jewel, possibly the dullest woman on earth, Bobby came in, wordlessly took the bag from the hardware store, and disappeared. Mother entertained no questions, so I knew it all had to be related to the trip to Goodwill and Christmas.
Christmas morning finally came. The mystery was revealed. Next to the tree stood two bikes of sky blue, a color never favored by Spitfire! Draped across the handlebars of my bike hung a string of lollipops! I was thrilled with my bike. “Oh, I love it! I love it! This must be what you got at Goodwill! I never thought I’d be able to get a bike for Christmas!”
At the mention of Goodwill, Mother’s face fell. I never dreamed she’d think I’d believe this was a new bike! It was obviously repainted with wear marks that a simple paint job couldn’t fix.
I tried to make her feel better. “I love it. I knew we couldn’t ever get new bikes. I just wanted a bike.
She recovered, somewhat, though still disappointed. “Oh, well, I’m glad you like it. Now be careful. As soon as it was daylight, we were off on those Goodwill bikes, riding the first of a million miles!