Tag Archives: disappointment

THE HUNDRED

The following is from the novel, IF TIGERS WERE ANGELS, as Ben, protagonist, has to deal with the realities of life.

*****

…I sat drowning in my sorrow thinking poor little me. Then a story my father once told me when I was a young boy came to mind. It’s a story about a father teaching his son a lesson. It’s titled “The Hundred” and he even gave me a copy of the story.

The Hundred

Son, pretend you have a quarter in your right pocket and a hundred dollar bill in your left.

I tell you to give the money to me so I can keep it safe for you, but instead of obeying me, you go outside to play and have a good time.

You’re busy running, jumping and tumbling with your friends. You’re foot loose and fancy free, without a care in the world.

In fact, you’re on top of the world because you have a hundred dollar bill and a quarter in your pockets. It’s the exact amount of money you need to go buy yourself that fancy new toy you’ve been dreaming about for so long. You’ve been saving a quarter a week for years and tomorrow will be the best day of your life. You’re going to the store to buy that toy and make your dream come true.

Then, you come back inside after a long day playing in the yard and reach into your right pocket, but the quarter isn’t there. You think, no big deal, so I lost a quarter. You think, I can get another quarter easily in another week and then I will buy the toy.

You reach into your left pocket and find that the hundred dollar bill isn’t there either. Now you panic. You run into the yard searching everywhere for that hundred dollar bill because it means so much to you.

You search for hours because you know you can’t easily replace a hundred dollars. Now, you can’t go buy the toy you’ve been saving for all this time. You realize that it will be many years before you‘ll have that much money again.

You ask yourself why you didn’t give your money to Dad to keep it safe. You kick yourself and you hit rock bottom. Your life, as you know it, is over. You can’t get any lower than you are at that moment.

You now have two choices. Put your big boy pants on and find a way to earn another hundred and a quarter as fast as you can, or sit there crying about it like a baby for the rest of your life.

What are you going to do?”

“But Dad, there’s a third choice. You can just give me another hundred dollar bill and a quarter and I can still go buy my toy.”

The dad looked down at his son, slid his glasses to the end of his nose, and replied, “Wrong! Good try little buddy, but that’s not one of your choices. I’ll give you an “A” for your thought process, but I won’t replace your hundred dollars for disobeying me. You must learn that there are no bailouts in life. You have to suck it up and move on or cry about it the rest of your life. Those are your only choices!”

At the time he told me the story, I replied, “If I was that little boy, I’d suck it up and move forward. I’m not gonna cry about it for the rest of my life.” It was years later that my father told me that the little boy in “The Hundred” was actually him. He had written it so he would always remember that his decisions had consequences. He never told me what he did, but I think I know the answer.

My father was right back then and I learned my lesson from that little story. If I ever mess up, I know there are no bailouts in life. Well, I messed up and lost my hundred when I lost my Grace. Now, I have to put my big boy pants on and move forward because I’m not going to cry about it for the rest of my life.

At that moment, I decided I had to start rebuilding my life. I’d hit bottom and was going to start looking forward to better times ahead. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew it couldn’t get any worse. Once you lose what’s near and dear to you, nothing else matters. You’re willing to try anything at that point and the risks are diminished by the magnitude of your new goal. I was ready to start living again and was determined to keep moving forward. I have many things to do before I stop to rest.

I got up the next morning with a renewed spirit, a new sense of worth, and the desire to make myself be the best person I could be. The chains of my anchors had been broken and I would start becoming the new me. I had faced the lions in the den and had been victorious, and nothing was going to stop me. I feared no evil and thanked God for guiding me through the valley of the shadow of death. I looked behind me and now saw two sets of footprints. I was walking on my own two feet and God was walking beside me, holding my hand.

*****

“The Hundred” presents a life lesson for many people in the world today who need to understand and accept the concept that their actions do have consequences. There will not always be someone around to bail you out in life.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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MY FIRST PET

When I was about six years old, my parents gave me a dog. It wasn’t anything special and looked much like Petey on the popular television show from long ago, The Little Rascals. I didn’t even know what kind of dog she was, but that didn’t matter—she was mine.

I named her Inky because of the large black spots that were scattered randomly all over her body. Inky became my best friend and followed me everywhere I went, which was all over our neighborhood. We were inseparable, and I loved that dog.

I was completely responsible for her. I had to feed, bathe, and make sure she had water to drink. Caring for her was actually good training for me, as it taught me a lot about responsibility.

Inky and I had been together for about three years, and my love for her had grown stronger each year. I came home from school one day and couldn’t find her. I searched all over the neighborhood looking for her. I kept calling her name, but there was no response. I thought she was lost. I was devastated.

I continued searching for hours, and finally I saw her under the house. Back then, our house didn’t have a foundation curtain wall around the perimeter. There was nothing to prevent you from seeing under the house. I called her name, but she didn’t move. I crawled under the house to get her. When I put my hand on her, she still didn’t move and felt cold. I continued talking to her, but there was no response.

I ran inside the house and told Mama I found Inky but I couldn’t make her wake up. Mama came outside with me and called to Inky, but she still didn’t move. That’s when Mama hugged me tightly and started crying. I didn’t know what was going on, but I figured it wasn’t happy tears, as she sometimes called them. This was very different—I could sense pain as she started talking to me in a shaky voice.

“Inky is. . . um, Inky went to dog heaven to be with Jesus,” she said.

“No she didn’t! She’s right there. Mama, make her wake up!”

“Tommy, Inky’s spirit is in dog heaven with Jesus. She’s not coming back home. You need to bury Inky’s body because her heart has stopped beating. I’m so sorry, but Inky is not coming back. . . she’s dead.”

I shouted, “No! No! No! I want Inky to come back! Please let Inky come back to me,” I yelled as I ran to my secret hiding place up in the huge oak tree in our backyard. I climbed up as high as I could and sat there crying my heart out. I wanted Inky to come back home to me. I sat there for about an hour, I guess. To me, Inky was just resting. . . nothing else. I knew she would come back out from under the house to play with me.

Then Mama walked out to the tree with a shovel in her hand. That was the day when the frailty of life hit me hard. I had never considered that Inky could be dead. I didn’t really even know what being dead meant. I had never experienced anything like that before, except for the fish Dad and I caught. Even then, I didn’t think about the fish being dead. It was the process we went through in order to eat them.

“Tommy, I know you’re upset, but this is something that happens to all living things. They are born, they live for a while, and then they go to heaven. Now come on down. It’s time for you to bury Inky. She needs to have a proper funeral. You can put her grave over there by the fence.”

I came down from my hiding place, and Mama handed me the shovel. I could hardly see because of the tears in my eyes. All I could think about was I didn’t want to bury Inky, but it didn’t matter. Mama told me I had to do it. She handed me a plastic bag and told me to place Inky in the bag before I buried her.

I started digging and my tears continued streaming down my cheeks onto the soil. I cried so much while I was digging that I think I ran out of tear juice. I placed Inky in the hole and covered her with the tear-soaked soil. When I finished, Mama came over and handed me a cross that had “INKY RIP” written on it. I placed the cross in the ground at the head of her grave. Mama said it was time for us to say a prayer for Inky.

I bowed my head as Mama said, “Jesus, Inky is in dog heaven with you now. Please take good care of her. She was a good dog, and I know she will be good for you too. Amen. Do you want to say something, Tommy?”

All I could manage was, “I love you, Inky. Please come back home.”

I then climbed back up into the tree to my hiding place and sat for a long time. Mama didn’t say anything else and went back inside the house. Having Inky with me for three years was great, but having her go to dog heaven was tough on me.

When I came home from school each day, I went out to Inky’s grave and knelt down beside her. I talked to her, but I never heard her bark in reply. I did this every day for about a month. I managed to live through the experience, and I guess it helped me appreciate the time I did have with Inky…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

+++ BACKGROUND INFORMATION +++

The preceding is a true story from my youth. I changed the name of the boy and used the story as a scene in my novel ON GREEN DIAMONDS: PURSUING A DREAM where one of the main characters (Gabe) reflected on an experience from his childhood. There are many other life lessons throughout the book. Hope you have a chance to read the full story, which is available from most online bookstores in eBook, paperback, and hardback formats.

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

contact Tom by e-mail at OnGreenDiamonds@gmail.com

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels