by The Augusta Chronicle (Jan 28, 2006)
An original story, with apologies to Aesop and the story of the golden goose.
Once upon a time Willy, Wally, Tommy, Timmy, Lenny and Lee all were
friends and lived together in a small American town. The boys had
known each other forever; they could not remember a time when they had
not been friends.
The boys went to school together, naturally, but most important, they
played together, and that is what they loved most of all. They played
basketball and baseball, road hockey and ice hockey, tennis and
pingpong and every other kind of sport imaginable. They loved the
daylight, and they dreaded the time when the sun began to set, because
that was when their parents called them in for the night. They lay in
bed at night, too excited to sleep, anticipating the next day's games.
As they grew older, some of their games changed.
When they were little boys, they also played hide-and-seek, but they
gave that up as they grew; and when they were grade-school boys, they
didn't much care who won which game.
But odd things happened as they grew older.
Winning became more important, but always, Willy and Wally and Tommy
and Timmy and Lenny and Lee wished for each other to win as well. That
tells you how fond they were of one another.
When they were a little older, they began to notice girls, and
sometimes they even allowed their girlfriends to play on their teams.
Naturally Wanda and Wendy and Tammy and Terry and Laurie and Leila
loved sports, too. Those were the girls the boys liked.
They talked about what they would do when they grew older. They
planned that they would stay forever together in their little town
because they didn't ever want to be separated.
But time passed, and the boys went off in different directions, and
they married different girls, and they started businesses and began
raising boys of their own.
All of them did, that is, but Tommy.
Tommy had a grand and remarkable plan. He wanted to build the biggest
and best baseball diamond in the world. At first his dreams included
only Willy and Wally and Timmy and Lenny and Lee. He wanted his
friends to visit him to play on his beautiful field.
But Tommy's plans changed over time. Plans often do. One day Tommy met
a girl named Tina, and she had grand plans, too - but they were not
the same as his.
"I want to build a beautiful baseball diamond," Tommy told Tina, but
Tina said that baseball diamonds were the stuff of kids' dreams, and
that Tommy ought to be a grown-up now.
Tommy thought Tina was probably right, and so he began to work hard.
He took a job he liked a little bit, and he began to save lots of
Time passed, and Tommy earned a great deal of money, so Tina said,
"Let's build a big house," and they built a mansion on a mountaintop,
and then they built a swimming pool because everyone said that
mansions needed swimming pools. And after that they bought splendid
furnishings for their mansion, and soon Tommy forgot about his
None of the other boys forgot about Tommy's baseball diamond, though.
They all remembered his dream, and they all planned to join him one
day. They lived in cities spread across the land, but they never
forgot. That baseball diamond was the best dream of all, they thought.
Then one day, after many years had passed, Tommy was sitting at home
when Willy knocked on his door. "Hi, my friend," Willy said. "I've
come back to tell you how I'm going to help you with your dream. I'm a
tailor, and I figure I'll make all our baseball uniforms."
Tommy smiled and said that would be nice.
The next day, as it happened, Timmy phoned to tell Tommy about his
shoemaking shop. "I'm making cleats for all our games," Timmy said,
and Tommy said that sounded nice.
And the next day, it happened the way things happen sometimes that
Lenny and Lee called to tell Tommy all about their hot dog and hot
pretzel company. "We're making food for the fans," the men said, "and
at the biggest baseball diamond in the world, everyone will love T&T's
Hot Stuff." That's what they called their business.
But as time passed, Tommy forgot all about his old friends. He was so
very busy making money to buy more things, and Tommy and Tina had new
friends - friends with houses just as big as their own, friends who
didn't dream of baseball and boyhood games. Tommy's and Tina's new
friends dreamed of bigger houses and bigger pools, and as time passed
Tommy thought more about real diamonds than he did about baseball
Soon his friends began to understand that Tommy would never build the
biggest baseball diamond in the world.
They didn't mind. Instead they decided to gather together to play on
an old baseball field in their hometown. This was early - before the
real season - so the fields were empty, and the men met and dressed in
Wally's uniforms. On their feet they wore Timmy's cleats, and before
the game they chowed down on Lenny's and Lee's hot dogs and pretzels.
The day was beautiful, sunny, with a brisk early spring wind. No one
else was dreaming of baseball. No one but these friends, who always
They began to play, and as they were playing, Tommy passed by - the
way magical things sometimes happen. And when he saw his friends out
on that sandy lot, playing just the way they did when they were boys,
if a little bit slower, he felt a deep pang of regret that he had
forgotten his dream. And in that moment he vowed to himself, and
silently promised his friends, that nothing more would come between
him and the building of his childhood dream.