The Shiny New Red Bike.
by H. Buice - Zoutendijk
It was a cold Georgia morning and my family lived in a farm house with large cracks here and there in the constructed 4x4 piece of 1900 woodwork mastery. The cold wind would blow from the cracks into the house, and I can remember no matter how much coal went into the heater, it was still so very cold inside the old farm house. The first Christmas spent in our old house was the year my brother requested a new bicycle from Santa Claus, and since I mimicked everything my brother did, I wanted one also.
My parents were so poor, they had to struggle to buy anything, and most everything we had was given to us, or it was something from the local junk yard sanded down and painted more than one time by my dad. Now daddy thought he was pretty handy with a paint brush and he painted everything with a brush, including the automobiles, like the old bright green Packard. When I was a teenager I drove a canary yellow corvair with big paint drippings down the doors "daddy's autograph! I guess I was very lucky to even have a car in the 60's. I often wonder where he got all that paint, and how did he get so many obnoxious colors, from chartreuse to burgundy? Our "55 Pontiac was a sickening granulated burgundy color, but what an engine! The envy of the neighborhood teenaged boys. Me? I felt what embarrassed was, for the first time.
Christmas morning arrived and I opened my eyes. I was very excited about getting my brand new shiny red bicycle. Shiny was extremely important to me. I could only think Sears and Roebuck catalogue shiny, after experiencing brush paint all of my life.. "It will be a shiny new red bike". I climbed out of the old cotton mattress bed, as my tiny feet hit the ice cold wooden floors. As I jumped over the cold cracks in the floor, there inside the kitchen door, as I peaked around, was a full blown shiny new red bike with a great big red ribbon tied to the handle bars. "There is a Santa", I thought. Next to the shiny red bike was something else, but I ignored what was there, although it looked as if it had a worn tire. I still ignored it. I went into the kitchen like a bullet. I could smell ham and redeye gravy as my mother stood cooking and looking at us over the old breakfast bar. I remember how she looked that morning. The sweetest smile was on her face as she cooked Christmas breakfast for us. My brother, Mitchell, "Mickey", Mitch was right behind me. He was very loud. "Oh wow look mother!", he said." It is a shiny brand new red bike". I wondered why Mickey, my big brother, was so excited about MY brand new bike. He loves it as much as I love it. "Okay, I will give him a ride once in awhile." I might even let him ride it all by himself." I could even hear my mother now. "Hilda, you have to share your new bike with your brother. Let him ride it once in awhile too."
I rubbed my eyes to awaken to what was the happiest day of my life. I was even singing "Jingle bells" to the top of my lungs and Mickey joined in. We were laughing and my mother's sweet smile turned to "annoyed as hell".
Everyone came into breakfast. Daddy, Mother, Brenda, Mickey and ME, and Buster, my collie.
Red eye gravy, salted ham, homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs, and hot sweet cocoa. I could hardly eat this delicious food. I just looked at my bike all during breakfast. I wondered how I could let the seat down so I could reach those brand new black pedals.
My heart was pounding. "Will I fall the first time I ride outside?" Will Mickey chase me on foot, as I ride, begging to ride my brand new red shiny bike?"
We finished breakfast and daddy went back into the kitchen. He rolled out" something? It looked very strange. It was granulated white, painted with a brush. The handle bars had some rust, but the rust was painted over with the same granulated white paint. The tires were old and worn. It squeaked as daddy rolled it across the fake linoleum kitchen floor. He stopped to back it up, because it appeared the chain was stuck, and it would not roll. It resembled a bicycle. It was much smaller than my brand new red shiny bike. It smelled of daddy's sickening granulated paint, and IT HAD PAINT DRIPPINGS! Daddy was so very proud of this bike. He wiped it off a little with his hand, and he inspected the seat. As a matter of fact he lowered the seat. My heart sank. "Poor Mickey." "Poor , Poor Mickey" How could they do this to him!"
"I will let him win the first race. Even though I will be on my shiny new red bike, I will let him win."
Then daddy parked the old white bicycle. Mickey looked at my expressions for some reason, and he kept looking at me with what appeared to be a glare. I wanted to apologize. I knew how he must have felt. He is so envious, I thought. I smiled the warmest smile at him, just like my mother's Christmas smile. He looked a little saddened by my smile, and he put his head down. "Wow! I definitely will let him win the first few races now."
Then I could hear the music from everywhere, as daddy walked out of the kitchen, entering the living room with the shiny new red bike. It sparkled like nothing else I had ever seen, and that is the very truth! I stood up. I was shivering, and not from the cold. My new bike was being pushed towards me. Mickey stood up also. "Poor Mickey." I might let him touch my bike, but just not now." Daddy looked Mickey square in the eyes. "Merry Christmas son" Here is your new bicycle." Mickey jumped up and down. He squealed as loud as the old white bike. He grabbed my shiny new red bike and hugged it.
I think I said, "Damn, why is he screaming and putting his finger prints on my bicycle?"
I felt very confused as to why daddy said "Merry Christmas son." Mickey ran and changed from pajamas to warm clothing. He got the bike and with daddy's help, rolled my shiny new red bike out onto the porch ,and down the porch steps. My brother looked back at me, and quickly stuck his tongue out at me; in an instant he was gone on my bike. I began crying "He stole my bike." He stole my bike." Daddy looked at me. He said in a very, very stern voice. "Santa brought you a pretty white bike". Now go change your clothes, put on a coat and catch up with your brother." It was at that time I realized the old brush painted white bike was indeed meant for me! Did Santa get that paint somehow from my daddy at a bargain price?
I was looking for other presents, and then noticed there was something inside my old sock stocking hanging by the fireplace. My name was on the stocking. I thought briefly,"Santa writes like he is ten years old." Inside my stocking was a small plastic bag, and inside the plastic bag were five marshmallows. A note from Mickey was attached to the bag. It said, "You have been very, very bad this year, and here is your Snowman poop!"
I ran as fast as I could out of the house, because I knew that old white bike would never make it." You bet I will catch up with him, and he will give me a ride on MY shiny new red bike."
Merry Christmas to all.
The writer of this story never got a shiny new red bike, but her children did.