A Tale of Two Huffys

When I stepped off the front porch steps into the crunchy yellowing grass of winter, I was already looking left. Just barely downhill from me and across the street was my bestie, Debbie. We operated with only two settings: best friends and I never want to see you again. I can remember so many stomp offs where I said that very phrase and yet I didn’t last even the afternoon before I was back at the best friend setting again. Fortunately, a third setting of ah, just forget it, this friendship is too much trouble did not exist. It was always worth the trouble. And we always patched it up. 

Debbie’s house was a smorgasbord of forbidden goodies like HBO and her brand new betamax machine–the 1970s forerunner to the VCR. I watched The Food of the Gods at her house, mesmerized at the car sized mosquito that landed on the 1977 VW beetle, killing the poor saps that were driving it.  I didn’t have HBO. I would be 15 before we sprung for a VCR. My brother broke it the first weekend by shoving one tape in on top of another. Which is impossible, by the way.  He’s an engineer now. 

On December 18, 1977, I wasn’t interested in inside games.  No Rated R movies about oversized rats. No betamax. No playroom full of toys. I had Christmas on my mind. I had a few little piddly things on a Christmas list that year. But only one thing really mattered: a new Huffy. Both Debbie and I had asked for this. We had admired the aisle of girls’ Huffys in our Kmart, as little tears of longing formed in our eyes. It’s like Huffy had done their market research IN OUR BRAINS. 
We wanted those bikes.
Bad. 

That afternoon, one full week before Christmas, had us kicking around her yard together.  Without a bike, I had to walk the 50 feet to her house. Like an animal. I wish I could remember our intentions on this particular day, because it would make a better story if I could. My mother would remember. But I don’t.  It’s possible that our intentions were straight up mischievous and my brain has blocked the memory to preserve a better opinion of myself. I can’t tell you what drove us to be standing in front of her backyard shed that day. But we stood there together and each grabbed a metal handle to slide the doors open. And like a cartoon drawn in unison, our mouths dropped open and bounced back a little against our chins. Two of the most beautiful bikes we’d ever seen were propped up together against the left wall of Debbie’s shed. And we needed to shut those doors and get out of there. Fast.

As we snuck around the side of her house and plopped down in the front yard, we both replayed images of glory in our heads. A peach one, #5, Peaches. And a pink one, #2, Sweet Thunder.  I secretly hoped mine was the pink one but didn’t say that out loud.  I didn’t want to give potential disappointment a place to take root.  Whether or not we meant to spoil our Christmas surprise, I can tell you we knew we had. And at that point, we vowed to keep our secret and keep ourselves off the naughty list. 

It was a long 7 days with this burning secret in our chests. We didn’t discuss it anymore, but it was in our eyes every day for a week. Oh, the things we had seen. I was wearing my guilt like a bad pair a bellbottoms.
 
On Christmas morning, I came down the stairs to find Sweet Thunder leaning against a chair in our living room, reflecting the lights of our tree.
I was thankful I got the pink one. 
And I was thankful the madness of pretending I didn’t know was finally over. (I think we both confessed our sins within a day or two.)
And I was thankful to have a sweet, sweet ride to get me to Debbie’s house that much faster. With rubber grips and a padded seat, I could cut my travel time from 2 minutes to 18.7 seconds. And I did.  Almost daily.

Those bikes were rolling Christmas miracles. Cadillacs. The possibilities open to us were endless.  We’d wait until the current shed scandal died down a little. But when that all blew over, Peaches had a basket.
Practically luggage.
An interstate bike.
I was smelling the state line. 

Happy holidays,
Sweet Thunder. 

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Huffys

  1. I don’t think I ever knew you two found the bikes.It would have been fun if your mom and I knew and made you 2 until the day after Christmas to get them.

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