But I wanted to prove that I wouldn't be influenced by Bubba. In fact, I thought, I might be a good influence on him.
Bubba and I rode our bikes all over North Shore subdivision. His grandma lived just outside the boundary of my permissible travels, across Lynch Drive. He wanted to go visit her, so I went along. She seemed nice enough to me, a ten year old boy who'd rather be outside playing. As we left, Bubba seemed in a hurry. He had gone in his grandma's coins and taken several of them.
Back at my house, we inventoried the stash. They were mostly old collectible coins. Silver dollars. Half dollars. He told me she'd given them to him. I knew he was lying because I was there. There'd been no mention of money or coins. But I went along, after telling him he should return them. We went to the nearby drive-in and bought ice cream. The lady questioned why we were spending such coins, but we insisted she take them.
My ability to influence Bubba was not as great as I thought.
On another occasion, Bubba's bike was broken or something. He rode on back of mine while I pedaled. No big deal. But when we passed Gary's house, Bubba jumped off. Gary had left his motorcycle bicycle in his yard. It was a sweet bike. It had a gas tank, throttle and hand brakes - even made motorcycle sounds. Bubba got on Gary's bike and pedaled as fast as he could. The whole time, I yelled at him, telling him he couldn't take it.
But I followed him anyway.
When we got to the woods, where no one could see, Bubba stopped and celebrated. My continued pleading to return the bike was ignored. Now, he explained, we needed to change the bike's appearance, so it couldn't be recognized. Bubba tore off all the fancy motorcycle accessories. All that was left was a plain bike. It was really sad.
That's when I realized my mom and my brothers were right. I left Bubba.
It wasn't long till the cops showed up at my house. I had been seen with Bubba, so I was guilty by association. When I told them what happened, they went looking for him.
Poor Gary. He was heartbroken.
Although I haven't given this much detail before, I have told this story to my kids in hopes they could learn from my experience. I've told it or referred to it many times. Nowadays, all I have to say is "Bubba" for them to know what I'm saying.
"He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20
That's Day 6 of The Forty Day Project.