A Broken Promise

Everyone in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, gambled on everything,
so it’s not all that shocking, maybe, that when we were 6, 7, or 8,
Lon Anderson (not Loni, just a boy in my class) bet me two dollars
that he could jump from the top of the jungle gym, and like a dummy —
what did I know? — I took the bet, which caused problems at home
that I had not anticipated, when I asked for two dollars, explained
why I needed it. My parents chose that moment to be piously Protestant,
to abhor gambling, or at least, their daughter taking part in it
at such a young age. After much hushed discussion, they decided
I would have to go to school empty-handed, explain to Lon Anderson
that I wasn’t allowed to gamble and should not have taken that bet,
and that I was sorry. Why don’t I remember following through?
Did I secretly borrow two dollars from my brother or find it in my room,
or did I break my promise to Lon, and it turned out to be no big deal?
In any case, now I know not to bet against someone who says they can
do something; every Lon has jumped off that jungle gym many times before.


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