Tommy's Roadside Adventure
By John Taylor; 2010 March 18, Ala' 17, 166 BE
It is March break, and yesterday was the first beautiful spring day. I was busy writing when my ten-year-old son, Tommy, announced that he was walking to Smithville, twenty-five kilometers away. "Good luck with that," I said, and went back to work. Hours later I realized he had been serious and drove to our friend Peter's place in Smithville in hopes of finding Tommy on the way. I told Peter to let us know if he turns up, and drove back. No sign of him on the side of the road, though I did stop a few times for people that looked a little like him, once for a short Mexican worker, another for a couple of other ten year olds playing by the old railway tracks. I was determined not to panic, but I was getting nervous.
When I got back home we got a call from Canborough Farm Supply Store, from a guy who had picked Tommy up. That was in another direction completely, well on the way to Hamilton. Tommy was with him, and they were on the way home to Dunnville. Tommy said he was very thirsty, but was otherwise fine, to our immense relief. The driver, evidently a father himself, dropping him off from a big pickup requested us not to punish Tommy for wandering away from home. No, nothing could be further from our mind. After all, he had told us where he was going. He rushed to the tap to drink his fill of water. I noticed that he was limping, but other than that, he was fine. I was curious to know how he ended up so far from the road to Smithville.
"Well, I walked by Video Tonite, to the Rosaflora wind turbines, and stopped there to rest. Then I got to a little village that had one house that looked like one in Smithville, but it was too small. That was when I started wanting a GPS device. I asked a couple of kids my age where Smithville was, and they pointed it out. I found a spoon on the side of the road, so I drew an arrow with it in the dirt with my initials on it to point out to you the direction I was going, and set out. [towards Canborough, not Smithville] I was getting really thirsty, and after a while I knew that I was really lost. My foot started to hurt. In the end I put up my arm and that guy stopped for me."
We had an appointment with the barber that day, and his sister was convinced that Tommy took his road trip in order to avoid getting his hair cut, but Tommy denied it. When he told us about the arrow he had drawn in the dirt, I almost choked up. One learns, from narrow escapes like that, to appreciate the bounty of being with those one loves.