The blooming month of May means May Baskets, Mother’s Day, and blooming flowers. Everyone enjoys being outdoors where the daffodils are bursting with yellow sunshine, the tulips are about to open, and Creeping Charlie is encroaching on lawns and between bushes. After a long Minnesota winter, who wants to stay inside the house where we’ve been hibernating for endless months?
Not sleeping last night, my mind wandered to thoughts of past Mother’s Day events. I remembered the time when my little sister Barbie suddenly remembered that Mother’s Day was arriving on Sunday. She’d forgotten to buy our Mom a present.
Barbie had to do something quick. Being only a kid about nine years old, not able to drive, she relied on her borrowed horse, Roxy, for transportation to town. We were lucky kids; we had a horse to ride. The Faulkners had lent us Roxy, who belonged to their daughter Bonnie away at college. Barb and her pal Allison Kinney were the perfect tomboys, more comfy in blue jeans, T-shirts and dirty tennis shoes than frilly girly dresses. They were so absorbed trapping gophers at the farm to get bounty money for new bikes, racing to Peters’ golf course where they earned caddying money, and babysitting for a quarter an hour, that they’d forgotten about buying presents for their Moms’ holiday.
Downtown Glenwood’s Ben Franklin had a fetching array of gift possibilities: those fuzzy fake red roses, glittery rhinestone rings and sparkly pins, hankies with personalized initials, sewing kits and cooking supplies in addition to the girls’ real motivator, penny candy. Potter’s dime store had plastic bottles filled with sweet liquid, Black Jack gum, Chiclets, Tootsie pops and loose candy. That dime store tempted every kid: who could resist those delicious chocolate covered peanuts, maple nut goodies and lemon drops in glass cases as well as wax pipes, lips and mustaches. The store was a treasure of goodies for every kid in town.
Gentle Roxy was their only option for transportation to town. Though Roxy was an old girl, she was an agreeable horse who loved Barbie and would do most anything the little girls asked, including trotting into town carrying Barbie and Allison on her back.
Once they passed the beach, the hospital and jogged into Glenwood, they had to figure out what to do with Roxy while they shopped for Mothers’ Day gifts. Clever Barbie came up with the perfect solution: “Let’s park Roxy at the parking meter in front of the Corner Drug Store where my big sister Patty is working today. She’ll keep an eye on Roxy.”
Plugging the parking meter with a few of their hard-earned pennies, the girls remembered to give Roxy a carrot from Mom’s frig and headed to the Ben Franklin across the street.
Returning with their purchases of Evening in Paris perfume for their moms, they spied a crowd of excited, big-eyed kids surrounding Roxy. Always resourceful, Barbie and Allie decided they could make some easy money if they sold rides on Roxy. Not one kid balked at giving up their pennies to put a foot in the stirrup and throw a leg over Roxy’s back to sit for a minute or two. What little girl doesn’t want to feel like a princess riding her horse to find Prince Charming?
Small town life can’t be beat when you’re a kid. Everyone knew that the cops wouldn’t be angry with this entrepreneurial adventure. Chief Kettles and his guys in blue uniforms and gold badges only grinned at the little girls’ resourcefulness; no one gave them a parking ticket or called their moms. Life was pretty gentle in my small town of Glenwood back them.