May Day
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MAY DAY



It was “May Day.” All the children from the Spring Park Elementary School had gathered on the school grounds for the May Day Maypole dance.

This dance involves many short flagpoles, with six streamers attached to each pole. As the music plays, the six children holding the streamers weave in and out of each other, until the streamers weave around the Maypole. Then everyone claps and yells, and the celebration begins. There are lots of races, games, food concessions and the like.

On this particular day, the weather was quite cold and it looked as if there might be rain. Several of the boys from the orphanage walked around the school grounds, just looking at who was doing what. We each had several nickels, so we decided to buy donuts from one of the concession stands. As we got there, it started raining hard. Everyone started running for the school building. It was sheer madness around there, so much madness that I decided to reach over and get myself a free donut. I had never had a donut before. Besides, they were going to get wet and ruined anyway. Since they were all going to be wasted, I ate two or three more just to keep them dry, of course.

It rained and it rained and it rained. Finally, I grabbed several boxes of the donuts and went under the donut table to try to stay dry, although I was already soaked to the bone. I sat there under that table and kept eating as many donuts as I could before the rain stopped.

After about 20 or 30 donuts, I did not feel so good. Besides, my hand was sore. I had bitten it several times from trying to eat the donuts so fast. Then it started raining harder and harder. Water was coming under the table where I was sitting, so I got up on my knees.

About that time, I heard two boys that had walked up to the table. They were talking about grabbing the cash box that was left out. They could not see me, because I was hiding under the long tablecloth, which almost reached to the ground. Suddenly, they grabbed the cash box and tried to run, but the boy slipped in the mud and dropped the moneybox. All I saw were millions upon millions of dollar bills and coins going everywhere. The boys grabbed as much as they could and took off running across the school ground. I never saw their faces and I did not know who they were, but I knew they were not from the orphanage or I would have known their voices.

As I sat there, I began to pick up the coins that were on the ground. I put them in my pocket and soon my pockets were full. Then some woman came running out of the school and started yelling at everyone to go home. I guess the celebration was canceled, because of the weather. As she left, I crawled out from under the table and headed back to the orphanage. It was still raining like heck.

When I returned to the orphanage, I went to my room, opened up my closet door and neatly stacked all the coins into rows according to their size. I was one rich son-of-a-gun and I knew it. Those Brinks people think they felt good. They do not know anything. Then, not being too smart, I decided to show several of the boys what I had in my closet.

MY BIG MISTAKE!

The next thing I knew, the house parent had me by the collar of my shirt and was dragging me down the hallway. I broke loose and ran up the stairs. I was going to run along the upstairs hallway and down the back stairs to avoid the beating I knew he intended to deliver. As I reached the landing in the center of the back stairs, something hit me in the head. My head hit the wall, almost knocking me out. When I looked up, I saw a wooden stool rolling down the stairs; it had been thrown it at me.

I just kept running as fast as I could - running to where, I do not know - just running. I was about 7 or 8 years old at that time. I was "one fast little bastard." Those are not my words; those were his words. In my mind, there was only one of those in this chase and it sure was not me.

I was the loser in that ordeal. Accused of stealing the money, I was made to clean up the school grounds for several months. The raking and picking up of leaves stopped, only because they finally beat me until I admitted I had hidden the dollar bills in the ground somewhere.

Of course, I got my little butt beat anyway, because I could not remember where I had buried the “dollar bill money.” I dug holes and was beaten with a switch for weeks as I tried to find that darn money that I had not taken in the first place.

When you are an orphan, it doesn’t do any good to tell a lie. Then, it doesn’t do any good to tell the truth, either. I learned that really early on.



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