Tommy’s Dog – Chapter Four

Mama felt bad after telling Tommy that this had to be the last time he could see the dog but she knew it was for the best.  While she waited for him to come back home, she got out some old photo albums and started flipping through the pages, now yellowed and crumbling with age.

Page after page was filled with pictures of “grandpa,” from when he was a little boy until just before he died.  He had the happiest eyes and he was always smiling.  He had been a wonderful father and how she wished he had lived long enough for Tommy to have really known him.  He was one of those people who leave an indelible mark on your life.

She walked down memory lane as she remembered all the corny jokes he used to tell.  She smiled when she remembered how many times he would push her in the swing he had made from a tire, while telling her stories of old Blue.

She was so lost in nostalgia that when Tommy leaned over her shoulder and spoke, it startled her.  She didn’t even know that he had come back home.

He pointed to a picture of old Blue and excitedly said “that’s the dog!  That’s the dog who hides behind those rocks!”

All mama could get out was “what?”  Tommy repeated “that’s the dog who hides behind those rocks!  I think he wants to play hide and seek.”

Mama said “honey, that can’t be.  That’s a picture of old Blue and old Blue died many years ago.  You know that.  It’s just some dog who looks like him.”

Tommy was adamant when he kept repeating the same words.  Then he said “no, mama.  I promise.  Come with me and you’ll see for yourself.”

Mama said “Tommy, honey.  I just think you want it to be him but you know it can’t be.”  Her heart sank when Tommy looked at her and said “why don’t you believe me mama?”

“Okay,” she said.  “Let’s go have a look.”  Tommy started tugging on her hand as she reluctantly walked out of the house.  When they got to the place Tommy said he saw him, they waited for a few minutes and then mama asked “where is he?”  Tommy looked disappointed and said “I don’t know.  He was here before.”

Mama said “well, he’s not here now and we have to get back home so I can start dinner.”  Tommy said “please, please, can we wait just a few more minutes, mama?  Please?”

Mama was ready to start walking back home when Tommy squealed “there he is!  There he is mama!  See?  I told you.”

Mama looked around but she couldn’t see anything.  “Where do you see him Tommy?” she asked.  Tommy looked puzzled and said “he’s standing right there, mama.  Don’t you see him?”

Mama smiled.  She now knew that the dog was just an “imaginary friend” Tommy had conjured up.  Trying to appease him, she said “yes I see him Tommy but we need to get on home now.”

Tommy started running.  He said “c’mon mama.  C’mon!”  He wants to play hide and seek.”

Mama called for Tommy to come back but he kept running.  She started walking toward him, calling his name over and over until she finally caught up with him.

Tommy said “see?  These are the rocks he likes to hide behind.”

Mama froze.  The “rocks” Tommy was talking about were tombstones.  They were standing in the middle of The Green Terrace Cemetery.

Mama wasn’t sure that Tommy even knew a cemetery was there and he obviously didn’t know what it was, given that he thought the tombstones were just rocks.

Tommy took her hand and said “he hides behind this one.”

Mama sat down and cried.  Tommy asked “what’s wrong mama?”

She said “this is where your grandpa is buried.”


It Einde.






Tommy’s Dog – Chapter Three

Mama said “I told you that he probably belonged to someone else and don’t you think that if he wanted to play, he wouldn’t have run away?”

“I guess so,” said Tommy.  But he just looks so lonely and he’s always there.  I don’t ever see anybody playing with him or throwing him a stick.”

He surprised mama when he looked at her and said “would you tell me more about grandpa’s dog?”

Before mama could catch herself she laughed and said “that little dog was something else.  Grandpa said he never left his side.”  Tommy, a bright little boy said “but I thought you said old Blue left and started his own family.”

Mama knew she had been caught and it was time to as they said back then, “fess up.”

She had never wanted to lie to Tommy.  She had long ago decided that should he ever ask where babies came from, she wasn’t going to tell him the tired old story about children being found in a cabbage patch.  But that was going to be a talk about life.  What she was going to have to talk to him about now was death.

“Sit down Tommy,” she said.  “I don’t want you to get upset when I tell you this, okay?  Tommy said “okay.”

Mama said “one day old Blue was hit by a car and he died.  I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to be sad.”  Tommy’s eyes welled up with tears and said “what happened to his family?”

Mama was thinking “oh, boy.  Which is going to be worse, telling him there never was a family or that his family moved on?”

She decided to tell him that the “family” had moved on after he died.  Tommy of course, asked where they went.  Mama said “I think they moved to another state.”

Now it was time to tell him that grandpa had died.  “Do you remember grandpa?” she asked.  “Kind of,” Tommy said.  “He was funny and he had grey hair.”  Then Tommy laughed and said “and he couldn’t play fetch very well.”

Mama smiled and said “honey, he’s not with us anymore.”  Tommy looked up and said “where did he go?  Did he get another family?”

“No,” mama said.

“Did he get hit by a car and died too?” Tommy asked.  Again mama said “no, he just got old and sick and he died.”  Tommy looked at her and said “will he come back after he gets better?”

Tommy’s little boy mind wasn’t capable of understand the finality of death and mama wasn’t exactly sure what to say to him.  While she was thinking, Tommy looked at her as if he hadn’t heard a thing she said and asked “can I go play with the dog now?”

Mama said “yes, but I want you to try to find something else to do.  I think you are becoming too attached to that dog and when he goes back home, you’re going to be very sad.”

Tommy stood there for a few minutes and mama said “do you promise?  Do you promise that this will be the last time you’ll go see the dog?”

Tommy reluctantly said “okay.”  Mama said “you have to say ‘I promise’ and let me see your fingers.”  Tommy held out his little hands and said “I promise.”

Mama said “okay, then.  Go see him and tell him goodbye.”


To be continued____________


Tommy’s Dog – Chapter Two

Mama was still giggling about what Tommy said but managed to say “you know, grandpa had a dog when he was a little boy.”  She turned around and winked when she said “that was before his hair turned grey.”

“What was his name?” asked Tommy.  Mama said “his name was old Blue.  Grandpa was just a little whippersnapper like you when he had it.”

“What happened to it?” Tommy asked.  Mama said “I think he found a wife and started his own family.”  She knew Tommy didn’t know that dogs didn’t get married, start families and move away and she hated to lie to him but she thought he was a wee bit too young to hear that grandpa’s dog had been hit by a car and died a few days later.

She also didn’t have the heart to tell Tommy that grandpa had died the year before.  He wouldn’t understand about death so she had kept him alive with memories and stories, like the dog he called “old Blue.”

Mama said “that dog was so special to grandpa that he never had another one.  He said ‘couldn’t another dog in the county ever take the place of old Blue’.”

While mama was strolling down memory lane, Tommy suddenly interrupted her thoughts and said “maybe I can name that dog.”  Mama looked at him and said “remember?  I told you he probably belongs to somebody and I’m sure he already has a name.”

Tommy said “well, then can I feed him?”  Mama asked if the dog looked hungry.  Tommy said “no, but I thought maybe if I fed him, he would like me.”  Mama said “honey, I’m sure he likes you but I’m not sure we should feed someone else’s dog.”

Tommy said “well, then can I just take him a bone?”  Mama said “I’ll tell you what.  The next time I make chicken, you can take him a bone.  How’s that?”

Tommy smiled and said “Okay.  I’m going to go play with him now.”

Mama shook her head.  She was afraid that in just those few days, Tommy was becoming too attached to the dog.”

Tommy came home that afternoon, carrying a big stick.  “What have you got there?” mama asked.  Tommy said “I was trying to get the dog to play fetch with me.  I called him old Blue.”

Mama didn’t know why but she suddenly got chills.  “What did you say?” she asked.  Tommy said “I wanted him to play fetch with me but I didn’t know his name, so I called him old Blue.”

Mama gently, but sternly reminded Tommy that they had discussed him giving the dog a name.  Tommy said “I know but I called him old Blue and he came walking over to me.  He wouldn’t get real close but he acted like he wanted to play so I picked up this stick and threw it.”

Mama asked what he did next.  Tommy said “he just looked at me, wagged his tail and then ran over and hid behind one of those rocks.”

“Rocks?” his mama asked.  “What rocks?”  Tommy said “those big rocks out next to the woods.”


To be continued____________

Tommy’s Dog – Chapter One

Little Tommy lived with his mama in a small but well-kept house at the end of Still Shadow Lane.  It was a little blue cottage style house with yellow and green trim.  His daddy had run off with another woman right after he was born and it was just the two of them but laughter and smiles were abundant.

His mama had carefully hand painted the number 38 on a board and it hung over the front porch from a piece of chain she found on the side of the road.

Mama was always finding interesting things and she was blessed with vision.  She kept a book made of cloth pages and she carefully sewed and labeled her treasures to the pages.  Her findings ranged from smashed real gold earrings to antique pop-beads to a tiny rusted locket.  Her motto was “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Little trinkets weren’t the only thing mama found.

One day Tommy came running home and said “mama, look what I finded!” In his little hand was a badly scuffed, hardly recognizable coin.  “It’s just a penny,” he said.

His mama said “that’s okay.  Pennies make dollars and it doesn’t matter if they’re brand new or a little worn.  Let’s go put it in the found money jar.” For as long as Tommy could remember, mama had what she called a found money jar.

It was an old “Tom’s Cookie Jar” from the early fifties and it had come from one of the stores that her grandma and grandpa had once owned.  Although the lid had long ago been broken, it was a treasured possession.

Any time money was found, it would go into the jar and it was never to be taken out until the end of the year.  When the end of the year arrived, they would take it out, count it and then buy something special with their free money.

Tommy dropped the penny into the jar and then said “I saw a dog today!” Mama smiled and said “you did!?  What kind of dog?”  Tommy said “um…the kind that goes arf-arf.”  Mama giggled the way she did so often when Tommy said something cute.

Mama also kept another kind of book.  In that book she wrote down all of Tommy’s sayings.  She wanted to write them down and when he grew up, he could read it to his own little boy.  Once when he asked her what she was writing, she said “sometimes, men grow up and they forget that they were once little boys.  I don’t want you to be one of those men.”

For the next several days, Tommy came home and told his mama about seeing the dog again.  His mama said “I’m sure he belongs to somebody in the neighborhood.  You know dogs.  They like to roam around and protect their territory.”

Mama asked Tommy if the dog was wearing a collar.  Tommy said “I don’t think so.”  Mama said “well, we’ll ask around the neighborhood and see if anybody has lost their dog but I’ll bet he lives somewhere close.”

Tommy looked at her optimistically and said “if he doesn’t belong to anybody, can we keep him?”  Not wanting to get his hopes up and not wanting to disappoint him by telling him that they really couldn’t afford a dog, mama said “we’ll see but like I said.  I’m sure he belongs to somebody.”

The next day, Tommy came home and said “that dog isn’t wearing a collar, mama.”  She asked him if he was sure and he said “yes’um.  I looked.”

He looked at his mama and said “mama?  Is it okay if I pretend he’s mine and call him my dog?  Just for now?”

Mama smiled and said “just for now but you know it’s just pretend, right?”  Tommy looked down and shuffled his feet.  Then he said “okay.  It’s pretend, just for now.”

Mama tried to change the subject and asked “what does he look like?”  Tommy thought for a minute and seemed to perk up a bit.  He said “he has grey hair, sort of like grandpa.”  Mama laughed and said “grey hair?  He must be an old dog.”

Tommy said “um, I don’t think so.”  When mama asked him why he didn’t think so, he said “he can run faster than grandpa.”


To be continued_______________