Bum Walks a Long Way
As Eddie stood in the doorway wondering what was going on, Papa looked up and yelled, “He’s here! Eddie’s here! Eddie, are you all right?” Papa dropped to his knees, hugging Eddie close.
“What’s the matter, Papa?” Eddie said. “Why are you crying? What happened?”
Nellie and Al soon joined in the hugs and laughter. When the family settled down, Al said, “Eddie we thought you had drowned. Bum led us to the deep pool and then wouldn’t go any farther.”
Nellie said, “Eddie, you don’t know how awful it was. We poked long sticks in the pond. We thought you were down there someplace.” She put her head in her hands and cried again.
Papa pulled Eddie onto his lap as he used to do when Eddie was smaller. Eddie didn’t even mind. Papa said, “I can’t figure why Bum couldn’t track you any farther, Eddie. He definitely showed us that your tracks ended in the pond.”
Suddenly Eddie knew. He jumped off Papa’s lap and said, “I know, Papa. I waded along the edge of the big pond. I was very careful, though. I checked every step.”
“Well,” Al said, “Bum lost your trail when you went in the water. He did the best he could.”
“But, Papa,” Eddie said, “Bum did find me and brought me home. I asked Jesus, but Bum came before Jesus could help me.”
“Now, Eddie,” Nellie said, “you know better than that. Jesus sent Bum and showed him where you were. Bum couldn’t find you until Jesus helped him.”
A few months later Al got married and moved to a town about 25 miles away to live with his new wife. One day Papa received a letter from Al.
“Read it to us,” Eddie and Nellie urged as Papa opened the envelope.
Papa cleared his throat and began, “Dear papa and Nellie and Eddie, This is a nice town. We thought you might let Eddie go to school here and live with us. The schools are much better, and it would be good for Eddie.”
“I don’t want to go, Papa. I want to stay with you and Nellie,” Eddie said.
“But, Son,” Papa said. “A good education is very important. I think you should go.”
Eddie finally agreed to go, but he knew he would miss Papa and Nellie badly.
Finally the day came for Eddie to leave. The trunk holding his clothes was put in the wagon that carried the family to the train station.
As Papa clucked for the horses to start, Eddie jumped up and said, “Wait a minute. Where’s Bum? He has to go too.”
“Eddie,” Papa said, “Bum can’t go on the train. Besides, Al will have all he can do to feed you, let alone a big dog.”
“I can’t go without Bum,” Eddie said.
“You must, Eddie. Bum is safely tied in the barn. We must go quickly now.” Papa clucked to the horses again, and this time they took off down the road at a brisk trot.
As they neared the train station they heard the big steam engine coming in. It let out a long, sad whistle. Smoke belched from its smokestack. Eddie felt lonely already.
As Eddie settled into a seat in one of the front cars, he felt the vibration of the still train quietly rocking him. He wished he were back home with Papa and Nellie and Bum. Tears ran down his cheeks, as he wondered how he could get along without Bum.
Eddie leaned back into the corner of his seat and shut his eyes. A moment later the conductor came through the train car taking tickets. As he passed Eddie, he looked behind Eddie’s seat then leaned down for a better look.
Then he turned to Eddie and said, “I’m sorry, but if that’s your big dog hiding behind your seat, you’ll have to put him off. Dogs can’t ride on this train.”
“It’s not my dog, sir,” Eddie began, but then he saw the big dog. It was Bum! “Hey, Bum! How did you get on the train? You’re supposed to be tied up at home.”
The conductor saw how much Eddie loved the dog, but rules were rules. He said kindly, “Go put him off, Son. He can’t stay on the train. We’re almost ready to start.”
Eddie felt terrible as he led Bum to the train door and pushed him out. The door clinked shut, and Eddie returned to his seat. He could hardly see for the tears in his eyes.
Suddenly Eddie felt a jerk, then another, and another. The train pulled slowly out of the station. In a couple of hours the train pulled into the new town and slowly stopped. When Eddie walked down the steps, he saw Al and his wife waiting for him.
Eddie liked Al’s new home. And Al tried to help him feel happy there. Eddie soon went to bed and slept all night. Early in the morning he awakened and decided to go outside. He quietly dressed and slipped through the house so he wouldn’t awaken anyone.
When he opened the door and stepped onto the porch, he saw a big brown ball of fur. That ball of fur exploded into Bum when he heard Eddie. Bum jumped all over Eddie, almost knocking him to the porch floor. “Al!” Eddie screamed. “Al! Come quick.”
Al woke in a hurry and came. When he saw Bum, he said, “How did he get here, Eddie?”
“I don’t know, Al,” Eddie said. “He’s just here.”
Al knelt down and said, “Let’s have a look at you, fella.” He gently looked at Bum’s feet. All four of them were sore and bloody.
“I know how he got here, Eddie,” Al said quietly, as he put his arm around his little brother. “He followed the train and then your tracks.”
“Please, Al, can he stay?” Eddie pleaded, as they put medicine on Bum’s sore feet.
“Of course he can, Eddie. We can’t keep two friends like you and Bum apart. I hope we can be as faithful to Jesus as Bum is to you.”
Bum stayed and Eddie went to school. From that day on wherever Eddie went, Bum went.