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We Loaded Our Baskets

I was born and raised as a country boy in the rural Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the art of writing..

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My friend Bill and I rode our bicycles for miles on the Pennsylvania roads. Whether it was to the railroad tracks, Brinker’s bridge for a day of swimming, to the old sand spring, or to Lewis’s Supermarket, we always had fun.

We both had a basket on the handlebars of our bikes and we would often load them up with Coke bottles to take them to Lewis’s to trade them in. All of the bottles then were made of glass. It was years later before the plastic bottles hit the market. All of the glass bottles back in 1958 got us a two cent refund for each bottle. It doesn’t sound like much but it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy things in 1958.

With a basket full of Coke bottles we went to Lewis’s and got our money back for our traded in bottles. Two cents each doesn’t sound like much but it gave us enough money to buy some more Coke and a candy bar or two. In 1958, a bottle of Coke was six cents and we could buy a Hershey’s candy bar for five cents. A bottle of Coke and a Hershey bar cost eleven cents. A far cry from what they cost today.

With the money spent, we loaded some more Coke and our candy into the baskets on our bikes. We headed back toward home but made a stop near the stone bridge on Mill Creek. Near the bridge was a huge flat rock that we often stopped at. Bill and I would sit on that rock and talk for hours after we placed our soda in the cold water of Mill Creek. We would sit there, eat our Hershey bars and discuss the problems of the world. When you are only ten years the problems seem pretty minor.

After having our Hershey bars and laying back on the flat rock we would pull a couple of bottles of Coke from the creek and they would be very cold. It was so refreshing on a hot summer day, sipping on a bottle of Coke and watching the cold water of Mill Creek cascade over the rocks. We would look up at the stone bridge and wonder how long it took people to build it. To us then, it was an amazing feat of engineering.

Sometimes we would take a little dip in the cold water of Mill Creek. Even in the hot summer weather the creek was still very cold. I think now of what things cost then. It’s been fifty-seven years ago when I was ten years old that Mill Creek was often a spot Bill and I went to.

The visions come back to me so clear, the bike rides, trading in the Coke bottles, stopping near the stone bridge, chatting with my friend Bill and having a wonderful summer day. Memories like that never go away and I’m so glad they don’t.

The stone bridge crumbled in disrepair in later years and had to be replaced. The beautiful stonework was replaced with concrete. I now live in another state and I haven’t seen my friend Bill in years. I haven’t ridden a bike in years either. Distant memories of the years I loved.

© 2017 Larry W Fish

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