The Day We Lost Bill

We lost Bill the other day.  Jeremy knew everyone would miss Bill.  But he, above all, was especially fond of Bill.  Despite his distress, Jeremy had searched and searched.  He’d looked everywhere.  Not a trace.  Jeremy was so upset it brought tears to his eyes.

After more searching and even more searching, Jeremy became frantic.  He knew Bill couldn’t get home by himself.  That’s why Jeremy had been looking after him.  Jeremy hadn’t told anyone that Bill could neither read nor speak.  Those challenges make things difficult when you’re lost.

When the family got home, Jeremy decided to tell his parents about Bill. Describing what happened brought tears to his eyes once more.  His parents empathized with their gentle, kind-hearted son.  They knew Bill, but not as closely as Jeremy did.  They could offer no suggestions about Bill’s whereabouts.

Time passed.  The appropriate things were done about Bill’s disappearance.

Jeremy continued to be heartbroken.  His worried parents observed Jeremy’s distress with growing dismay. They could see their son was not coping well. They decided it might be a good idea to adopt.  They reasoned, that way Jeremy would have someone to befriend and look after.  It might serve as a diversion and help Jeremy to forget Bill.

The adoption proved more difficult than his parents anticipated.  They tried at three locations but a suitable adoption was not to be.   Then, on the fourth try, they found a potential adoptee.  His parents were delighted when Jeremy warmed to him right away.  He could have been Bill and was even dressed like him.  They decided to call him Bill Too.

A few days later, a funny thing happened.  Jeremy’s parents were out for a drive as they often did.  It was still early spring.  A light snow had fallen. Jeremy and Bill Too were with them, as were both of their dogs.  Having the dogs along with them meant frequent ‘rest’ stops, so the big dogs could to do their business and go for a run.  One of these stops was in a parking lot along a side road, just off the highway.  The location was familiar.  The family had stopped there a few days earlier, also to let the dogs out.  It was an emotional moment for the whole family.  It had been not long after the stop there that Jeremy noticed Bill had gone missing.

A few other vehicles were in the parking lot.   The dogs finished their business and returned to the car.  Everyone got in, prepared to leave.  On the spur of the moment, Mom decided to get back out and take a short walk around the parking area.  She was feeling the loss of Bill.  Her casual walk took her near where they’d parked earlier.  To her surprise, she spotted something on the ground on the far side of another car!  Could it be Bill?  She was sure of it.  She walked over anxiously, fearful what a closer look would reveal.  Yes!  There he was.  Bill was just sitting there, looking up at her.  He appeared much worse for the wear, although he seemed to have a smug look on his face. Bill’s clothes were covered with snow.   He was very dirty and his knees were badly scuffed.  His blue jeans were damaged at the back, revealing his ‘plumbers butt’ beneath the bottom of his red T-shirt.  And one of Bill’s hands had been hurt.   It was minor and mercifully, he was all in one piece!  He was okay!  That’s all that mattered.

After brushing Bill off and cleaning him up hurriedly with spit and tissue, as mothers are genetically compelled to do, she rushed him back to the car.  Mom assured Jeremy that Bill was delighted to see all of them, including him and the dogs. Jeremy was overjoyed.  He reached for Bill and pulled him close.  His Mom was pleased about that, and much relieved.  Dad was happy.  They all rejoiced.  Jeremy’s new friend, Bill Too, had nothing to say.  He was like that.  He was so much like Bill.  But Jeremy knew the two Bills would get along.  They’d be just like brothers.  They even looked alike.  They were happy again, and now a family of four!

Oh, did we forget to mention?  Bill and Bill Too are toy workers . . . but they were very real to Jeremy and all too ‘real’ to his parents.  Bill is the three-inch high ‘operator’ that came with the original on-sale $49 WOW brand backhoe. Bill Two came with the second not-on-sale WOW brand backhoe that Jeremy’s parents had to pay $64 to ease their son’s distress when the original Bill went missing.  And, yes, Jeremy Hanson is very real, too. He was 2 ½ at the time.

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