I went out into the kitchen and suddenly, I had a plan! After toasting four slices of bread and smearing them with butter, peanut butter, and jelly, I crushed some potato chips on top of the peanut butter to add a salty taste. Then I packed them in paper bags, grabbed two bottles of Cherry Coke, and motioned to my sister. “Let’s ride our bike to the Aggie,” I said in a whispery tone.
Diane and I pedaled hard to make the trip a little faster. After eight blocks, we arrived at the agricultural center. There was a pretty little pond with ducks swimming around, and I hadn’t forgotten the pieces of bread – end pieces – to break up and feed them. We parked our bikes on their kick stands and sat on the grass to enjoy our paper bag picnic by the water. After feeding the ducks, we chased after butterflies, tried to catch a few grasshoppers, and stretched out on the velvet grass to close our eyes and feel the sun’s warmth.
Some neighborhood friends arrived, and we organized a game of kickball. Suzy and Lois had jump ropes, so we sang, “Cinderella dressed in yella went downtown to kiss her fella” while we jump-jump-jumped. My little sister made ugly faces at us and occupied herself digging in the dirt with a stick she’d found. Finally, my friends left and we picked a lovely bouquet for Mom (dandelions and Queen Anne’s lace). The sun was getting lower in the sky. I scrunched up my face in a frown. What time was it?
We rode home, but we did it more slowly this time. Either we were tired or we already knew what was going to happen to us when we arrived. And yes, you probably already guessed. We were in BIG trouble! Mom was hysterically crying. She had been calling all our friends and then the hospital and then the police. Dad was riding around in the car, looking for us. He had left an appointment in town to come home when my mother had called him in sobby tears. We were grounded for two weeks. No bike riding, no t.v., no radio. No phone calls from friends, no weekend birthday parties (I had to miss one), no sympathy from Grandma. My mom didn’t mess around in the discipline department. Why I ever crossed her, I’ll never know. Lesson learned: Don’t leave home without permission……Or at least, leave a note!