First I’d ride on our half-mile of private driveway - in fact, why couldn’t I just mount my bike, take one pedal stroke and coast? That worked so well that I did this stroke-and-coast thing on our private driveway until the mailman brought the correct pedal. Then it took about 10 minutes for Dad to say "OK, it’s yours. Take good care of it." What a wonderful dad we had!
Fulton Gravel Road was safe each day after a certain young neighbor fellow went to work. Tommy Lloyd, our neighbor and friend, was a motorcycle policeman in Columbia, but he was a hazard to walkers and bikers on rural roads. He was almost always racing the clock to work or back.
Otherwise, Fulton Gravel Road was just that - a country gravel road. Rocks shot out from under Lloyd’s tires when he drove his motorcycle to work from his home near the Fulton Gravel Road.
Mom chose safe times for my new yellow and tan bicycle to be on the road. When I was invited to attend summer classes at First Baptist Church Bible school every morning, I was trusted to ride my bike to the church and back. What a joy! I was 10 or 11 years old. In those summers, my Columbia ended at First Baptist Church’s front door.
Then came the most difficult experience I ever had on a bicycle. I was biking about four miles from our farm on Fulton Gravel to J.A. Page’s farm and was about halfway when mud began balling up between my tires and fenders.
I had to stop, get off, lift the rear of the bike up out of the clay mud and roll the bike on one wheel - the front wheel.
Turner School was having a pie supper about four miles from our home, and I was to spend the night with Catherine Page. Her mother would bake our pies and see to it that we enjoyed the bike ride and eating her pie with some other kids our age. It was beginning to be dark, and I was not only tired, I was hearing a strange noise as I rolled wheels in the mud. Surely there’s not something trapped in the mud that’s not supposed to be there?
I stopped to check the tires and mud, but moving on seemed to be the best choice at the moment. "Wooo" came the noise again. A strange noise, but not frightening. "Soooee." I stopped to listen. Someone calling hogs?
I stopped to rest and to see what was calling "sueee." It was Hattie Page calling me in almost pitch dark, and I was too worn out to reply.
We laughed and rested a few minutes and then went on to the Pages’ home to polish up before going to Turner School’s pie auction.
Mr. Page bought my pie, Catherine’s, Hattie’s and one other.
It was a fun evening - a country school pie supper - but no one had to rock me to sleep that night, and the beautiful tan and yellow bicycle had experienced its first mud bath. A first with many more to come.
Scrubbing my bike and cleaning shoes were delayed until the next day. Poor Mr. Page bought three pies that night, and we ate the extra one the next day, with Sunday dinner.