By Laurie Isop
Little Mike has a hand-me-down bike,
the kind of bike most kids don't like.
The wheels are old and the chain needs grease,
the frame's not quite straight - a rusty old beast.
The horn doesn't toot, the pedals are cracked.
Old Red's seen better days, needs paint, that's a fact.
There's a raggedy flag, and a patch on the seat,
and a handle-bar smile just right for bare feet.
The older boys point, they whisper, they tease,
"That's the ugliest bike we've ever seen!"
Mike and Old Red don't care, not a bit.
He scrubs Red's seat clean with a cloth and some spit.
"Let's race up Mill Hill!" the boys holler and jeer.
But Mike and Old Red pretend not to hear.
For Mike, Old Red is fast enough.
They'll get up Mill Hill with a huff and a puff.
Mike knows Old Red is just as good
as any old bike in the neighborhood.
Old Red takes Mike to the pond and the park,
and helps him get home before it gets dark.
It's time for dinner - his mother is calling!
Mike and Red head for home - no time for falling!
The ride up Mill Hill is almost a mile.
Old Red gives young Mike a rest for awhile.
Mike carefully balances Red's two wheels.
Old Red understands how the young boy feels.
His handle-bars gleam at the top of the street,
a perfect fit for Mike's bare feet.
Now it's down, down Mill Hill, as they race through the street!
Old Red carries Mike on his patched up old seat.
But Mike and Old Red are going too fast!
Red falls to the street. Mike lands in the grass.
Mike's knee is scraped up. Old Red's lost more paint.
If his mother had seen she surely would faint!
Mike steadies Red and climbs back on the seat.
This time the pedals will carry his feet.
A raggedy flag waves as the summer sun sets.
Good friends like Old Red are as good as it gets.