"Travis, I asked Matthew to get some bread for lunch. It would be nice to give your brother some company. Also you'll have a rest from your computer."
"MOMMMM." Travis' groaning bounced off four walls.
"'What if my friends see me?"
"They'll say, what a nice boy you are. Imagine, spending time with your younger brother," said his mother.
"You know they won't mom," Travis answered. "Besides, what will we talk about? He's just a little kid."
"He's only two years younger than you. Now go. Go. I want you back before lunch," mother said. "Remember your grandparents will be coming too."
"Going with him will be so boring," Travis answered.
"Matthew!" he yelled rather rudely. "Let's get going!"
Travis led the way as they rushed down busy Willow Street. He wanted to hurry up, get the bread and streak home again. Then he could do something more interesting with his friends.
They could go to Victoria Pool for a swim. Anything would be more exciting than simply getting some bread.
Just then an ambulance pulled over to the curb. "Matthew?" A man called through the open window. "Need a ride? I'm heading back to the depot."
"Ok," Matthew answered. "Just to the next corner."
Travis could hardly believe it. He was actually riding in an Ambulance. Usually everyone had to get out of the way from their flashing lights.
"Where do you know him from?" Travis asked later.
"His son is in my grade two class," Matthew answered. "One day his dad took our cub pack for a neat ride. We just went around the block."
"Let's hurry up Matthew," his brother said. "We still have a long way to go."
Matthew tried to keep up with his brother. But seven-year-old legs were much shorter. They walked on.
A Hostess Chip truck honked, then pulled over to the sidewalk. "Hi Matthew," the driver yelled from the window. "Want a ride boys?"
"Yup," Matthew said. And they had another short ride. Then Mr. Williams needed to turn off in another direction. The bag of chips each received was a nice treat.
"You seem to know a lot of people," Travis said.
"He helped me fix my bike's flat tire once," Matthew said. "Besides, Mr. Williams is one of my best tippers, on my Daily News route."
"Hey, this is great," said Travis. "All these rides are making our trip kind of fun."
A police car pulled over. And Officer Valerie Allen got out. Travis was a bit nervous at first. Then she said, "Matthew, I thought it was you."
She bent down and shook his hand. "How could I forget my buddy? You had the best marks in our bicycle safety program, last month."
"Yup," Matthew answered.
Need a ride?" she asked.
By now Travis was amazed at all the people his brother knew. They had another little ride on their journey. It was super neat riding in a police car. And they hadn't even done anything wrong.
Wait till his friends hear about this, Travis thought.
As they walked past the Fire Station, Mr. Blois called out. "Matthew! Is that your brother? Bring him in. He can sit in the fire truck, if he wants."
A few years ago Travis sat in the town's old fire engine. But it was now in a museum. He had never been in the new aerial truck. This was going to be a real treat.
He pretended to climb the ladder to save somebody. Maybe even put out a fire. This was cool. "Okay, don't tell me," Travis said later. "You probably came here lots of times, with your Cub pack.
"Yup," Matthew answered.
Finally they were at their destination. Right beside the bread store was a Dicky-Dee ice cream bicycle. Standing alongside was a boy about Matthew' age.
"Hi Matthew," he said. "Wanna sell? I need a break, you know."
"You did this before?" Travis asked his brother.
"Yup," Matthew answered.
So Travis waited patiently while his brother sold treats. The older boy was really amazed by all the people who liked Matthew.
On the way home another surprise was waiting.
The Mayor of Truro stopped beside them. Travis remembered his speech last month at the Jr. High auditorium. It was something about 'Pride in your Community.'
"Good to see you, Matthew," the Mayor said. "Are you still coming over to play Risk with my son?" he asked.
"As soon as we bring this bread home to mom," said Matthew.
"What if I take you boys home? Maybe you can come back and eat lunch with us."
"Sounds good to me Mr. Mayor," Matthew said.
"Iwish I could," Travis stammered. "My friends and I already made plans."
"That's okay," was the mayor's short answer.
Travis rubbed his eyes. Here he was riding in the mayor's van! He looked around, hoping his friends could see him.
It was nice getting home but Travis was having so much fun. He thought the trip ended too soon.
After Matthew left, Travis sat quietly in the kitchen, staring out the window. Awesome, his brother was going to eat at the mayor's house.
"What's on your mind son?" Travis' mom inquired.
"Next time you need bread, may I go with Matthew?" he quickly asked.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.