We’re pirates searching for treasure exploring the reservoir on the outskirts of town. The babbling creek calls to us. Letting our bikes fall on the bank, we quickly remove our sneakers and socks and wade in the cool, shallow water. A frog sits frozen, hoping to avoid detection.
We smell the heavenly perfume of the honeysuckle. “I see it!” my best friend shouts, pointing to the sacred flower. We rush over and select a jewel, pinching the bottom and pulling ever so slightly to expose a strand of silky thread, revealing a delicate golden bead of honey dangling from its end.
The droplet falls onto our tongues as we close our eyes and capture the magic of this treasured moment. We make a pact of friendship. Till death do us part.
After hours of exploration, we mount our bicycles and head home. We work our way up a steep hill, then veer right and speed down towards town.
Our bikes direct themselves to the cookie factory where we drop our kickstands and run inside. “Hi, Mrs. Stoudt!”
“Hello girls, are you ready to start Middle School?” she responds warmly, handing us freshly-made cookies.
“Nooooooo!” we respond in whiny voices as we gobble the snacks and shout thank yous.
We hold our noses while passing the Tannery, protecting ourselves from the stench of wet leather. Approaching the railroad tracks, we hear the train whistle. I take a penny from my sneaker, place it on the hot metal track, and retreat. Watching the engine barrel by, we wave to the conductor who sounds the horn. We retrieve the flattened, oval penny and cannot contain our excitement.
Pedalling through alleys and down side streets, we eventually return home. We park our bikes in our driveways and wave goodbye from across the street.
Four decades later, the two of us and our daughters are pirates walking barefoot along the Lake Michigan shoreline searching for the elusive Petoskey stone.
We rest along a sand dune to watch the magic of a beautiful sunset and cherish a treasured friendship.