Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Values– part 3

Values - part 1
Values - part 2

by Tom Gaylord

I went back outside and thought about it for a while. If I traded with Todd, I would have the nicest new BB gun in the neighborhood, instead of one that had to be babied and coaxed. I would also have a truckload of other neat stuff, because he had continued to raise the offer. I reckoned I might even talk him out of a bicycle, along with his Daisy. Not his good bike, to be sure, but Todd had other bikes his folks had given him over the years, and any one of them was better than my current nothing. It was very tempting.

But then I figured Todd could have almost anything he wanted by just asking for it. The only reason he couldn't have a gun like mine was they didn't make them any more. Mine was the only one around, and that made it unique. And, if we did trade, his folks could just buy him another Daisy pump, so I wouldn't have anything special after that.

My aunt had said the rifle was mine to do with as I pleased, so what I was pleased to do in the end was to keep it. There was nothing Todd could do about it. Not with all his folks' money could he own the thing he coveted the most—a thing I had regarded as a hand-me-down until that time.

As you might expect, he fussed and fumed about the situation. Some of the other kids thought I was crazy for not giving in, but it made me very satisfied to know I had something Todd could never have.

My aunt and uncle never said another word to me about the incident, but soon after it happened I found myself being showered by little gifts like the uniform in the picture. I think Aunt Olive was secretly glad I hadn't given in, for some reason.

I got a bicycle not long after that. It was a used one, of course, but it worked well enough to propel me into the ranks of Those Who Rode, which was the difference between the haves and the have-nots in our neighborhood. I often rode it with my Columbian BB gun strapped across my back, just like a real cowboy.

Todd did ruin his BB gun, just as I predicted. But it didn't seem to bother him. He got something else to replace it. And when we were older, his folks bought him a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was the first kid in our county to have a vehicle of his own. My aunt and uncle didn't even have a car until years later.

I lost track of him after we both turned twenty and began our grownup lives. I still thought about him, though, and knew wherever he was going, he was always going there first class.

Many, many years later, after I grew into manhood, I still had that old Columbian BB gun from my childhood. By then it was worth several times what a Daisy pump was. Daisys were common and the old Columbian was special. That's exactly how I always felt about it, too. I may never have had a first class ticket to anywhere, but I know the value of things, which I think is the better gift.


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