The early light of day on this Kentucky morning, finds Josh peddling his way up the Parkway in the light rain. His destination is the Station House where his newspapers are to be picked up, folded and tucked into his shoulder bags and huge front carrier basket on his bike.
This daily trip always provided him with a time to think about things….to look back; to plan the day… and, if he had time…… to think about his future. “Funny,” he mused “Nothing like this happens like this in bed”.
He looked back at his journey from Denver to Louisville with his mom and dad, and the things he left behind; friends, camping, his studies. This day was particularly important because it was payday from his collections he made on Saturday… money that went into the bank. Who would have thought he would be a business owner as an eleven year old in sixth grade! The future? It would have to wait; remembering today… “I do have customers who are super- serious about having a paper with their morning coffee.”
The paper route was his dad’s idea. At the start he was not too sure he wanted to commit to what seemed to be a lot of work. He had pretty much what he needed in the past . There had always been lawns to mow, leaves to rake, and magazines to sell. He already had savings and the independence of not really needing an allowance.
This was way different….. but, he cautiously committed to to sign up for a route of 132 daily papers. He had to start with their purchase himself…. then deliver and collect for them every month. “What if people don’t pay.. or move out?”. That answer, he would have to deal with. While his Dad would help him on really bad days; this was EVERY day but Saturday.
We have all heard the story told, as referred to by the older folks; “Well, I got up at the crack of dawn, hiked twenty miles in snow up to my knees and; it was uphill BOTH WAYS!”
“Well,” he assured with a smile,” Substitute the hiking to riding a bike with 100 lbs of newspapers strapped on you and the bike, having gone into the smelly, one bulb, unheated, full-of-boys station to fold them. Then, to take to the silent streets of the neighborhood to fling papers perfectly on some dry place for pick up (without breaking a window) Then collect money; it is almost like climbing a hill going and coming”.
Except…….Except…. there was a wonderful odor right near the end of the trail that led to a small open- early Bakery that was there to serve the loyal and hungry……first jelly doughnut free to paper boys! While this could never substitute for that last toasty moment in bed; it was the perfect appetizer for Mom’s bacon and eggs when he got home.
Luke’s dad could see the good that was happening to him, as he became adjusted to the routine. He knew full well about the trials and rewards of making one’s way. He had been a Bread man, delivering daily baked goods from a horse driven cart in the neighborhoods of Denver as a young man. This was his start on path to becoming the General manager of a large Bakery there in Kentucky..
Josh was no longer a boy…. he was becoming a young man. One who could positively earn his way to success as a responsible husband, father, and grandfather? “What could be better?” his father thought….”He does not have to be President of anything”.
Josh took a bite from his second frosted doughnut, as he pulled into the drive at home. He stopped, admired the look of his beautiful home, the fine family, and then quickly glimpsed into his future that he dismissed so easily at the beginning of his day, and thought;
“What can’t I do when I am twenty one?”
Well, we will just have to wait to know that; First things first: a trip to the Bank to get the money to buy Dad that putter he saw him admire; for his Birthday next Saturday.
No Card…..Just a big hug for his Father ….Teacher…. Bud
P.S. He always saved the last doughnut for his mom. How did she stay so skinny?’
She gave it back to him at dinner!
How did Josh stay so slim?………. You guess.