Trucks and Bridges

By Edith E. Cutting

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    Gary and Tommy were building a bridge. It had rained that day, and the rain had made a little brook through Gary’s backyard.

    “I’m going to be an engineer when I grow up,” declared Gary. “I’m going to build bridges just like the ones my daddy builds.”

    “I’m going to be a truck driver,” announced Tommy. “I’m going to drive a great big trailer truck. I’ll bet my truck will be the biggest in the whole world!”

    “It better not be too big,” said Gary, “or it can’t go under or over some bridges.” Then he ran over to the garage to get another board. His family had just moved in, and there were plenty of boards from the empty furniture crates. Gary’s toys hadn’t come yet, so the boys were playing with Tommy’s big blue truck.

    “I’m going to load my truck with rocks,” Tommy said, “and drive it over the bridge.”

    “The bridge isn’t ready yet,” said Gary. “Wait till I get this board in place.”

    But Tommy wouldn’t wait. “Here I come,” he said, and started his truck along the road toward the bridge. It was a muddy road, but Tommy pushed and pushed till he got his truck up onto the narrow bridge. Then one wheel went off the edge, and the whole truck with its load of stones fell into the brook.

    “I’ll help you pick them up,” said Gary.

    “You leave them alone,” said Tommy. “They’re my rocks. If you’d built your old bridge better, my truck wouldn’t have gone off the edge.”

    Tommy started picking his rocks out of the water. When he turned around, Gary was backing the truck down so he could help put the rocks back in. Tommy dropped the rocks and grabbed his truck. “That’s my truck!” Tommy said. And away he ran, leaving Gary all by himself.

    Gary looked puzzled, but after a minute he began to work on the bridge again. “It’s going to be a four-lane bridge,” he said to himself, “just like the one Daddy is building.”

    Tommy ran into the kitchen as soon as he got home. “Mom,” he called, “Gary pushed my truck into the water.”

    “That’s too bad,” Tommy’s mother said. “How did it happen?”

    “We were building a bridge, and Gary didn’t make it wide enough, and my truck fell off into the water and got all wet.”

    “Oh,” said Tommy’s mother. “I thought you said Gary pushed it.”

    Tommy didn’t say anything for a minute. His mother took a pan of cookies out of the oven. Reluctantly Tommy said, “I guess he didn’t really push it. But it’s my truck and Gary didn’t have any right to play with it.”

    “Whose bridge were you driving it over?” asked Tommy’s mother.

    “Well,” said Tommy finally, “we both started to build it, but I guess the boards were Gary’s.” Then he turned and started to go back outdoors. “I don’t care,” he said. “He can’t have my truck. I’m going to play in my sandbox!” Tommy slammed the door.

    Tommy made a road in his sandbox, but when he tried to run his truck on it, the road wasn’t big enough for the truck to turn the corners. He looked for some boards to make a bridge up to the sandbox, but he couldn’t find any. Tommy tried pushing two trucks to make believe he was two truck drivers, but that wasn’t much fun. He sat down on the back steps to think.

    At last Tommy got up and went slowly into the kitchen. “Mom,” he asked, “may I go back over to Gary’s yard to play?”

    “What would you play with?” asked his mother.

    “I’ll take Gary one of my trucks,” said Tommy. “Then we’ll each have one.”

    Tommy’s mother smiled. “Would you like to load some cookies onto your trucks? I’ll wrap them in waxed paper for you.”

    “Thanks, Mom!” said Tommy.

    Two minutes later Tommy was back in Gary’s yard, holding a truck carefully in each hand so as not to spill the cookies. “Gary!” he called. “I brought you a truck.”

    “That’s neat,” said Gary. “See, I’ve built the bridge wide enough so that we can both go over it at the same time.”

    “That’ll be fun,” said Tommy. “I guess bridge builders and truck drivers have to work together.”

    “I guess ’most everybody does,” said Gary.

    Illustrated by Mac Magleby