Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
For my ninth birthday, my parents gave me a beautiful red Hiawatha with coaster brakes. The next summer our street was repaved. Freshly laid, black asphalt! The last day of paving, my friends and I noticed an operator who wasn't paying much attention and slid in behind his compactor to enjoy a deliciously smooth bike ride.
I didn't see the compactor reverse directions—Impact!—and I was lying face down, scraped and bleeding. My Hiawatha looked like abstract art. I put the wreck behind our garage and waited with it for dad. This was not going to be pretty. A man from the paving company arrived about the same time as dad.
The paving company offered to pay my dad for my bicycle plus damages. Dad refused. He felt the accident was my fault and I had to learn to take responsibility. The man shook dad's hand and left.
Picking up his lunch pail and heading up the steps, dad said, "I hope you enjoyed it. That's the only bike you'll ever get from me." And it was.
his firm handshake
toadstools in the lawn