The Test of Wills

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


 Now days re-purposing things is old hat.  However, back around 1958 it was done by those who had been through the depression but not so much by their children.  My grandmother's pet pieve (or one of them) was waste.  She could not stand it.  Everything got turned into something else when its original purpose was exhausted.
 
  We had old umbrellas that were patched and then turned upside down so they could hang from the trees in the yard and filled with water.  The birds love them.  Everything got reused.  Even chicken bones were ground up and used as bone meal for the flower beds.
 
  I remember once Grandmother had ordered a new fancy girdle from the Sears catelog.  It was made of a light weight rubber.  She went to try it on and got into trouble.  She got it halfway up her bottom and tummy, then it rolled back on itself.  She did not have the strength to pull it up.  She made Daddy leave the house while ran from room to room, down the hall, around through the breakfast room, kitchen, living room, and back to where she started.  Her tummy was guivering and her boosoms for floppying.  My sister got on one side and I got on another and pulled and pulled.  Grandmother was worn out.  She sat on the edge of the bed and meticulously cut the thing into two-inch strips.  You would be surprised how many things she came up with to use those rubber strips for.  She took a hack saw and cut a hole in the base of the back door.  She put the rubber strips together to provide a closing.  It became the first "kitty door".  Baskets got tided to trees with a strip of rubber.  Grandmother never mentioned the girdle again.  I do remember her saying that proper young ladies should never go out without a girdle.  I guess that is the reason my Barbie dolls had to have them.  All our small dolls got girdles made just for them.  It never made sense to me but Grandmother did not stop until every piece of that girdle was being used for something.
 
Coffee cans turned into storage cans for screws, nails, and tacks.  We even had an old hat with slits cut into it so it would fit the statuary donkey in the backyard.  Nothing was ever wasted.
 
I was turning eight years old.  I had a wagon.  I had a small tricycle and a larger tricycle.  I had one roller skate (the other one was still in the box).  I wanted a bike.  I knew this was going to be a battle.  I did not know how to ride a bike.  Daddy had told me that once I learned, I would never forget it.  It was not hard.  There were several phrases used to convience me that learning  was not going to take long.  Easy as 123.  Easy as pie.  A piece of cake.  Easy as falling off a log.  My anticipation, to say the least grew each day through out March.  April was finally here.  My birthday was going to fall on a Monday.  I crossed my fingers, hoping the celebration would be on Sunday the 20th.
 
I woke up Sunday morning.  The Gods be praised.  There was a beautiful girls bike standing in the living room.  It had two little wheels hooked to the rear tire.  Daddy explained they were training wheels. I did not push the issue.  I had no idea you had to train tires.
 
We left the beautiful gift right where it was and went to church.  I was so excited I was getting very antsy because everything was taking so long.  "When do I get to learn to ride my bike?"  It was a simple question.  Grandmother started to speak and I interrupted her.  "Grandmother you are not going to take all but one wheel off of it."
 
She looked at me with big eyes and said, "Well, one thing for sure.  You will have to be trained."  She looked at my mommy sitting in the front seat.  "Do you remember how?"  She had a puzzled look on her face.  "It has been a long time since I rode one."
 
"I remember,  I can teach you.  It will be fun."  Mommy smiled, Grandmother looked blank.  I knew she was trying to figure out how to stop the inevitable from happening.  She touched Daddy's arm.  "You remember don't you honey?"They smiled at each other.
 
"Sure, baby.  Like falling off a log.  We will have you riding in no time at all."  The rest of the trip was spent with each of us getting ready for the next phase of getting me on the bike.
 
We got home.  Grandmother announced we would eat our noon meal before doing anything with the bike.  Then Daddy would test ride it around to the alley to make sure everything works.  It sounded like a plan.  Mommy had one more surprise for me.  A wonderful basket that was decorated with flowers and ribbon all around the top.  It was to be mounted between the handle bars, just over the front wheel.
 
Things happen rather quickly after lunch.  Daddy, walked the bike out the front door and onto the sidewalk. He got on it.  The bike wabbled back and forth until he finally crashed it into a tree.  The bike was okay but Daddy had a spranged ankle because he got his foot tangled in the training wheels.  Grandmother took Daddy in the house.  Mommy looked at the bike.  She took a deep breath and strattled it.  She seemed to try to stand up and push with one foot.  The bike moved.  It started wabbling again.  Then she got a hold of it and balance seemed to take hold.  She was showing me how to move the peddles.  Then she tried to show me how to put the breaks on by moving the peddles backward at the same time.  This monuever caused her to loose her grip and she fell with the bike coming down on her leg.  It was broken.  So far I was not really impressed with easy as 123 or falling off a log.  I let Mommy lean on me as we hobbled back into the house.
 
Daddy's ankle was wrapped.  Mommy had the vet next door come and set her leg.  Once everything had gotten quite I went out side to discover my new bike decorated with several baskets, flower pots, and even an unbrella bird bath tied to the back of the seat.
 
  My bike had been repurposed before I had a chance to ride it.  I folding my arms across my chest and pouted for a while.  Then, while Grandmother was watching.  I slowly approached this garden on wheels.  I relocated the flower pot that was on the seat to the basket on the front of the bike.  I got on my bike.
 
"No, Baby, you will get hurt."  Grandmother was running to stop me.  "Please, stop."
 
"I will learn how to ride this bike today."  I shouted so loud our next door neighbor came out to see what the commotion was all about.
 
I wabbled.  I fell.  Grandmother screamed.  Two hours later magic happened.  I rode down the street on my garden bike.  I learned to put the breaks on.  I started and stopped several times as the flowers came lose and fell.  I was grinning from ear to ear when I rode back up to the porch.  Mission accomplished.  Grandmother realized it had been a battle of wills.  She also knew she could not run fast enough to stop me.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek and a hug around her neck.  "It is okay,  I will let you win next time."  We both laughed.
 
A few years later Grandmother got her wish.  Once the bike had been worn out it once again became 'yard art' with a display of flowers right in the front yard.  I also told my parents that when it was time to teach my sister, I would teach her.  It was safer.


Submitted: July 11, 2021

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Excellent Theophilus

Hahaha! Wow! The ending was really funny.

Well, over here, we recycle (as we like to call the word) so many things. But, giving used items another purpose at times is usually tiring so at times, we end up giving the recycled items out to neighbours and we even sell some.
A good and funny story indeed!
From this part of the world, I say a beautiful evening to you.
Keep writing!

Wed, July 14th, 2021 8:42pm

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Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. It means a lot when a fellow writer says something. Glad you enjoyed the story. It would not be the last time my stubborn streak came up against my stubborn grandmother. Hope your day is a good one.

Sun, July 18th, 2021 3:24am

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