A trip to town. Not the little town. The big one. It was an hour long drive from the little girl’s house. The trip was for her brother, and other errands. He was going to the bike store. Something about a tire or a unicycle. She wasn’t paying that much attention.
She meandered through the store, looking at all she wanted to see and skipping over everything else. Her brother wasn’t done talking to the sales associate. So she made another round. And another. She was starting to look for a place to sit (that wouldn’t make her mother scold her) when she saw them. The speedometers. All of them hung dutifully on their rotating display. She had always wanted a speedometer. She looked at each of them closely, debating price verses functions. She only had a little idea of what she was doing, but it is what her father did over most purchases and so she mimicked his actions.
She found one that was in the middle of the price range. It looked nice and simple to use. Her brother was finally getting close to being finished. She caught her father’s attention and told him she really wanted THIS speedometer. He said it was a lot of money (32 dollars). She pointed to the more expensive ones saying it wasn’t that expensive AND she had some birthday money to help buy it. He asked if that was really what she wanted to spend her money on. She said yes. He may have warned her to not complain about not having her money anymore but she was too excited to fully understand and agreed readily. They bought the speedometer.
Several days later, and after some frustration waiting for her father to put the speedometer on her bike, it was all set up. She rode her bike up and down the driveway (it ran from the road, the length of the “big yard”, passed the barn, through a gap in the trees, where it turned into grass in front of one of the back sheds). It was so cool to see how fast she was going.
Then, a few days later, she found the highest speed she had gone to date under one of the simple menus. She decided to try and beat it. She did. And again. And again. Then it got harder. She had to try new tricks to get faster; Start at the top of the driveway (there was a small incline), start racing in “three big gear”, lean close to the handlebars. 23 mph was her record and peak. But she would try again another day. And another. And another. Let’s just say she never has stopped trying to reach that point just beyond her current high speed.
Anna Mae Tollefson. (Copyright, 2014)
So this is once again a story from my past. I still remember my brother and the bike shop and my rationale for getting the speedometer. I have forgotten some of the particulars but I will never forget some of the details.
My bike was red at that time, a hand-me-down from my brother. Now it is purple (a hand-me-down from my mom) and the speedometer still works to this day, more than half my life later. I’d say that was a pretty good use of my birthday money and 32 dollars.