Imagination, memoir by Larry Tyler at



written by: Larry Tyler


Growing up on a farm as a kid meant hard work and chores that had to be done. If you didn’t get the wood chopped, you couldn’t cook or heat water for baths. It was hard to be a kid. Kids like to play. I remember complaining to my father about working all the time and that I had no toys to play with when I did have free time. Daddy just smiled and said use your imagination. You can go anywhere or do anything if you can imagine it.

I found out that when I chopped wood, I would imagine that I was building a great fort that would protect my family. I was a big Childcraft reader and imagined many possibilities of what I could be in the future, a captain of a sailing ship, an adventurer exploring the deepest jungles of the Amazon. The future seemed to be filled with endless possibilities.

I asked my Daddy if I could really do those things. Was it truly possible? Daddy sat me down on the woodpile and said, son you have to learn, you have to prepare the way in your mind. You have to develop a sense of believing, of seeing yourself doing it. Make the needed preparations just like when you chop extra wood preparing for the winter. It was a lot to think about as a kid, but I did imagine the possibilities.

A kid has simple needs and I started to imagine having a bike. I could see it in my mind. A red bike from Sears with silver spokes. I could feel the breeze on my face as if I were riding it that very moment. I could hear the sound of the tires racing across the wooden bridge. Gathering my courage, I asked my Daddy if I could have a bike. I said I can imagine it. I can see me riding it.

Daddy hung his head, and I knew I had made him feel bad. I understood that we didn’t have money on a farm until the harvest. I pondered my situation while chopping wood. I came up with 100 different ways that I could get that bike. At the end of the day, I took the few coins Daddy gave me for doing my work into my room. I had an old tin box that sadly held $1.50.

It was Sunday and I was fishing at the creek. I saw a big Pepsi truck coming down the dusty dirt road. It was my uncle, and I knew he was coming to see us. The bridge was a small plank bridge and very narrow. As he came over that bridge the double back tires were rolling toward the very edge of the planks. There was a loud cracking noise and the truck leaned toward the creek. Crate after crate of Pepsi went crashing into the creek. The truck stopped dead on the bridge. Most of one whole side was now lying in the bottom of the creek.

Daddy towed him out of the creek with the tractor and all I heard was that my uncle was in big trouble. I watched him disappear down the road leaving hundreds of Pepsi bottles. As I sat on the bridge, and I imagined all of the Pepsi I could drink. I then remembered a story at school about a boy and a lemonade stand and my imagination went into overdrive. I told my Daddy that I was going to get that bike. Daddy just smiled as if reading my thoughts.

Now all I needed was a stand and a big sign. Daddy asked me what I had in mind. I said that I wanted a stand beside the road to sell Pepsi Colas. He told me to draw it out and come up with a way to get all the drinks out of the creek and how did I plan to keep them cold. Lastly, he asked how I planned to do that and all my chores.

At that time Pepsi sold for a dime. Since I got mine for free, I charged a nickel. Daddy built me a stand and we got a galvanized tub for ice. We put the stand beside the road near the creek and used rakes to get the Pepsi out of the creek bed.

I got up early every morning to get my work done and then I sat by the road. Sundays after church were the best of times, as folks took Sunday drives. Mom made me some pie to sell by the slice and we added corn and watermelons. I was working on my third tin box for the coins and bills I earned.

I got that bike at the end of the season, and I had my stand for two years after that until we moved to town. I told my Daddy that I really did use my imagination.

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