My sister and I had many times asked Grandma Byrd if we could walk to school which was right across the street from the corner store. But Grandma Byrd had always insisted that it was too dangerous and forced us to ride the bus. A bus ride, I might add, that was 45 grueling, minutes long! The school was only a ten minute walk from our house. The trouble was, according to Grandma Byrd, crossing a two-way highway was far too dangerous for a couple of elementary girls, The highway didn’t have a lot of traffic like a freeway, but cars did go fast. However, that didn’t stop me from asking Grandma Byrd at least twice a week to let us walk to school. Finally she got tired of it, and promised me that if we waited until summer, she’d let us walk to the corner store to see how we did at that. I nearly peed by pants with excitement. However the excitement was short-lived, because with Grandma Byrd’s promises, there was always a catch. Grandma made us do chores and save our allowance, which always was paid in coins, for our first walk to the corner store.
Summer finally came, and there we were,
all of six-years-old and I; a whopping seven. We were sitting on the ground, legs spread out in a V shape, with piles of coins earned by raking grass and leaves, pulling weeds, picking up twigs from freshly pruned trees, stacking fire wood, hunting tomato worms that destroyed grandma’s tomato plants, hanging out clothes to dry and every other chore Grandma Byrd could think of over the past year. It was a landmark day for us. You could feel excitement bursting throughout the day, but none so much as the moment we sat there counting the bounty we’d earned and saved since the day Grandma Byrd promised we could walk to the corner store all by ourselves. Tracy
Now to an adult, one year age difference doesn’t mean much at all. As a matter of the fact, one year difference in adulthood is considered, pretty much, the same age. But as children of six and seven – the age difference is astronomical. That one year gave me knowledge that my younger sister could not begin to fathom. That’s how the great coin deception had come about.
We’d counted our coins, stuffed them in a little pull-string bag that Grandma Byrd had given us, walked to the mail box at the end of the driveway - ready to cross the highway. The time had come; we were off to the corner store – alone for the first time. Grandma Byrd was of course standing at the edge of the driveway, making sure it was safe to cross. She looked both ways and sent us off.
About three blocks into the walk, Tracy and I were talking about our nickels and dimes and pennies.
pulled out a dime and said, “I’m guna get a lot of candy with this one!” Now I don’t know how my thoughts turned to wicked here. I really was a very kind and loving child, but I suppose the prospects of having so much money right there on my person had changed me a little. So I said to my naive little sibling, “Well, you know this nickel is much bigger than your dime, it must be worth a lot more! Do you want to trade?” She smiled at me and said, “Really? Okay!” Tracy
It was so easy! We traded nickels for dimes and went on to the store. Of course I was afraid that
would figure out what I had done. However, to my surprise, she didn’t say anything to me about it. I suppose the large selection of candy laid out before her six-year-old eyes created such a distraction that she was unable to think about who-had-more. After buying every candy our coins could buy, Tracy and I set off for the short walk home. There at the end of the driveway stood our Grandmother. She must have been waiting for us, not wanting us to cross the highway alone. Tracy
Of course, and we all knew my trickery could not last,
mentioned my kind generosity to Grandma Byrd. Grandma Byrd promptly told Tracy that a dime was twice as much as a nickel. Now, Grandma Byrd was strict, but she appreciated a witty trick too. She didn’t punish me, and because I earnestly told her that I’d gladly share my extra candy with Tracy , I wasn’t scolded. We all ate some candy, and had a big laugh. Tracy
I honestly didn’t mind sharing my candy with
; I was feeling pretty bad about myself most of the walk home from the corner store. However, that did not stop me from pulling the same trick on her again. It was a hard sell at first, but once I reminded her that the little coins were obviously worth more than the bigger coins; it wasn’t more than a block’s worth of walking that all my dimes had made it into her bag and all her quarters had made it into mine! hehe Tracy