More Trouble for Tommie
Fangs for the Memories
I. Seymoore Duckz
It was a hot, still summer’s day in tiny
. The temperature was heading towards the century mark, and most residents (with names like Lars, Gerta, and Gayland) looked anxiously towards the sky, knowing that such a day could easily end with a tornado suddenly sweeping down on their fair town. St. Cloud, Minnesota
Meanwhile, back at
507 3rd Ave. So., Bill and Marion Donnelly had no concerns about what the weather might bring, for they lived daily with the threat of disaster. No day passed for this quiet and soft speaking, fun-loving couple without the threat of calamity visiting them. For they were the parents of the human tornado that went by the name of Tommy Donnelly.
On this particular hot, sunny day, the other six Donnelly siblings were busy with either their Good Will Club, searching the skies for alien invaders, or busy filling squirt guns so they may try to cool off Marion, who was heavy with child. When was she not? Three year old Tommy was busy playing in roofing tar, seeing what effect it would have on his curly blond hair.
Suddenly, Bill Sr. was on the front porch frantically calling to his always well behaved children, and Tommy, to get into the house immediately. Apparently a police report had just been issued on the radio that a rabid dog was in the vicinity of St. Cloud State College. The first six Donnelly children were in the house in a matter of seconds, of course, for they were well trained to obey their father’s commands at all times. When Tommy finally came in 47 minutes later, Bill calmly explained to them about the rabid dog, and how they might as well help mom with the chores inside while waiting for trouble to pass.
Trouble rarely passed the Donnelly household. Being too small to do any chores, Tommy sat amid the galoshes by the front screen door. The Donnelly’s had never had a pet that Tommy remembered, and he had always wanted a dog. The idea that a “rabbit-dog” was in the neighborhood fascinated him. In his mind he pictured a hopping, long-eared dog munching on carrots, for what else could a “rabbit-dog” look like.
When the big German Shepard ambled into the front yard, Tommy was a bit surprised, but quickly called to it. Too young to know about doggy body-language, Tommy naturally thought the crazed cross-eyed stare and the frothing drool dripping from Fang’s mouth meant that the pooch just wanted to play catch.
Looking around for something to throw to the hound, Tommy grabbed one of the stocking caps that hung on a hook, which was waiting patiently for winter, not wanting to be a dog’s chew-toy. Tommy opened the screen door and threw the hat to Fang, who pleased the boy by leaping and catching it instantly.
Bill Sr. happened by at that instant, and sprang into action. You see, The Donnelly clan had but two stocking caps to share amongst themselves, being such a big, and proud family without a lot of ready cash on hand. For the frigid
winters, you dared not venture out without a stocking hat for fear your ears could freeze right off. Why else do you think so many Minnesotans had names like Lars, Gerta and Gayland, names that can be heard even without having ears anymore? This particular hat, which now rested firmly in the doggie’s tight sharp-toothed grip, was the one Minnesota referred to as the Billy, Michael, Tommy, I mean Katie’s hat. Marion
Now, Marion and Bill had almost saved up enough money to buy another stocking cap for the family, but a spate of recent fines and damage payments concerning Tommy’s exploits on the
10th Street Bridge had wiped out their savings once again. Therefore, without a thought to his own safety, Bill instantly headed out the front door in the direction the startled dog had gone off in.
Tommy watched delightedly as first the dog, and then Bill disappeared around the back of the house. After only a few seconds of shouting and loud growling from behind the house, Tommy was once again rewarded by the sight of Bill sprinting back towards the front of the house, frothy hat in hand, screaming for Tommy to open the door, with the frothy-mouthed dog hot on Bill’s heels, snapping his jaws in outrage.
Bill had not run so fast since his days as the miler for Notre Dame, and legend has it that if Tommy had not opened the door on Bill’s seventh time around the house, Bill would have been the first man to break the four-minute barrier for the mile. In fact, it is said that when Roger Bannister read of this episode in the St. Cloud Daily Times, he hired out the same rabid dog to pace him in the mile two weeks later, and thus he was the first sub-four-minute miler.
Meanwhile, once back inside the house with the worse for wear hat in hand, Bill could only catch his breath, look at Tommy rolling on the floor laughing, and wonder what punishment now. He knew there would be none, for punishment would never teach young Tommy to make better choices when dealing with life’s challenges. Bill knew that only with growing up would Tommy ever likely, or hopefully, outgrow his habit of making foolish choices. Would that ever happen? Would he ever start making good choices? Only time would tell.