Ah, the early trips! Those first couple of times, I could feel freedom and adventure leaving home without Mom and Dad.
On my first trip, I was sandbox-age. My buddy Eric joined me. It would be a sign of the times ahead of us as we explored the boundaries of independence and our knack for mischief.
It was an early summer morning, and we wanted cookies, but my mom said, “No.”
I knew of another friend, Kyle, down the street, and his mom always had a full cookie jar in her kitchen. So, Eric and I were off to get our fix even though I knew Kyle was at his dad’s for the weekend.
I guess you could say it was our first foodie outing.
The house was locked, and nobody was awake, so we did the natural thing … and slid through the doggy door. We were little tykes, so we staggered the kitchen counter drawers to use as climbing steps.
I was on the counter, hand in the cookie jar, when Ms. E. appeared as a silhouette down the hall leading to the kitchen, “Rocky, is that you?”
My middle name is Rocco. I was named after a saint.
Ms. E. rubbed her eyes in utter disbelief as if she were still dreaming.
The next thing she saw was two tiny butts simultaneously squeezing through that doggy door.
Minutes later, my mom stepped outside to see us in my sandbox and asked, dumbfounded, “Were you in Ms. E’s house just now?”
Tasting chocolate chip on the corner of my mouth, I licked it and said, “No.”
There would be some time I had to chore off before I would get a taste of freedom again.
Three houses down, that was the length of my leash – on a bicycle. Coincidentally, my turnaround spot was in front of Ms. E’s house.
I was a beginner and loved the freedom my new wheels gave me. Our street didn’t have sidewalks, at least not down by my house. Still, it was safe. Sort of. I guess.
The third house was approaching. I was on the edge of the road traveling opposite traffic, just like I was not supposed to do. A car came behind me as I turned into the middle of the road. I was startled when the driver beeped at me. Not a hello beep but an angry one.
Back home, I came to a stop against the side steps. This was the only way I could end a bike ride without crashing. We had a long blacktop driveway. Mom was outside, and I was about to go in for a glass of water when a police car pulled all the way up to the house. This was an incredible sight for me. The officer spoke with my mom, and I didn’t quite understand what it was all about. Finally, he approached me. Mom just stood off to the side.
Mesmerized by the uniform, holster, and all, I didn’t pay one bit of attention to a word he said. But I caught the gist. It was a lecture about bicycling safety. I was intimidated, to say the least. In my mind, when you do something wrong, and the police come, there’s but one conclusion – jail!
“I have to go to the bathroom,” I squeaked out.
The officer paused, looked at my mom, and she said to be quick.
I was quick, all right. I sprinted to my bedroom, grabbed underwear, a shirt, and my favorite stuffed animal (a monkey holding a banana), and then found a towel in the bathroom to wrap it all up. I only had cartoons and kids’ shows as a guide, so in lieu of a stick to tie it to, I improvised and used a yardstick. I slipped out another door and headed for the woods.
My mom saw me.
“What are you doing? Where are you going?”
When I stopped and turned, the yardstick snapped, and my sack flung to the ground.
At this sight, my mom and the officer seemed to burst out something but quickly contained it.
Now I really did have to use the bathroom.
Instead, I had to listen to the rest of the safety lecture and then got the bonus lecture on running away. It all seemed so threatening to me.
As the black and white pulled out of the driveway, I remember being very surprised that I wasn’t in cuffs in the backseat.
After my bust, I felt on the lam, always looking over my shoulder.
Okay, one more for the foodie crowd.
I looked up from my chair, which was attached to my desk, and wondered if I had heard my teacher correctly.
Yep! She said it again – “…brownies!”
I put my pencil down from doodling on the desktop and refocused on the classroom.
“…So if you want to stay after school tomorrow for brownies, you’ll need a note from your parents,” she concluded at the bell.
When I got home, I promptly remembered to relay the information to my mom. She didn’t bat an eye, wrote a quick note, and tucked it inside my folder for tomorrow.
At the end of the next day, my mouth was watering. I gazed at the clock three times, and all three times, the long minute hand didn’t budge. One minute to go, and it seemed to take an hour.
Then, finally, brownie time!
“If you’re staying after for brownies, line up here,” my teacher directed.
Bam! I was second in line, eagerly waiting to satisfy my sweet tooth. My focus slowly turned foggy as background noise penetrated my one-track mind. It was laughter.
“Rocky wants to join the Brownies, Rocky wants to join the Brownies …” was the chant gaining volume around me.
I looked around. I was the only boy in line. My teacher looked at me with an expression of …unease.
“Rocky, boys can’t join the Brownies. Brownies are Girl Scouts.”
By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun