The first sign of the season for the Wilson Tobs had just been spotted by 5-year-old Emma Baker as she and her daddy waited at the red light heading home. "Game Tonight,” the sign read. Sandy the farm hound was sticking her head through the back window of the truck as she stood in the bed of the truck waiting to start riding again. "Oh, Daddy, I want to go to the baseball game tonight,” said Emma. Sandy’s ears perked up when she heard the word baseball. She knew that when the Bakers went to a baseball game, she usually got a hot dog when they returned home.
The rest of the ride back home was full of laughs and talking about last year’s visits to Fleming Stadium and how much fun they had. Emma and her daddy talked about the tobacco worm mascot, Slugger. Then they reminisced about how hot it was last year, how good the snow cones were at the game, and how fun the play area was during the game’s intermission. Mr. Baker talked about the actual games, but the other stuff was more interesting to Emma, except for the museum which was right there at the stadium. That was kind of interesting to her, too.
Once the red truck stopped at the Baker Farm, Sandy jumped out of the back of the truck while Emma and Mr. Baker got out and headed up the porch steps. The air was breezy and springy, and Sandy felt like trotting instead of walking. She closed her eyes and stuck her nose in the air, breathing in the smell of home. There were the smells of sheep in the pasture, flowers planted around the porch, and what was that delicious smell coming through the screen door? Mrs. Baker was cooking lunch in the kitchen, and it smelled like ham, biscuits, creamed potatoes and green beans. Mmmm. Sandy hoped that there was a ham bone and biscuit for her.
She flopped down on the porch as Emma and Mr. Baker headed inside past the screened door. Emma looked back through the door and looked right at Sandy. "Sandy, do you want to go to the baseball game tonight?” she said. Sandy’s ears perked up and her tongue hung out in delight. What a great invitation!
The afternoon flew by as Sandy napped in the sunshine after her ham bone lunch. Sandy woke up to walk with Mr. Baker down to the pasture to feed the sheep as he rubbed her behind the ears and talked to her just like she was a person. Sandy loved this about Mr. Baker.
He told her that he was feeding the sheep a little earlier today so that the family could head out to the ball park. Sandy was still so happy that Emma had invited her to go. When she and Mr. Baker got back to the porch, Mr. Baker went inside and Sandy jumped into the bed of the truck hoping that the family would be heading out soon. When they didn’t come right out to the truck, Sandy lay down and once again dozed off which she usually didn’t do in the bed of the truck, but her lunch had been so good and filling that she just couldn’t resist another nap.
In about 30 minutes, the Bakers came sprinting out to the truck so that they wouldn’t miss the opening of the first game. They were in such a hurry that they didn’t notice that Sandy was asleep in the bed of the truck. And the next thing that Sandy knew, the truck was moving toward Fleming Stadium.
Sandy stayed low in the truck since she was just waking up. And when the Bakers jumped out at the game, she jumped out behind them, but they somehow didn’t see her. Then, she got sidetracked by the smell of the hot dogs and wandered toward the hot dog stand.
The Bakers were in the stands eating their hot dogs when Emma said that she thought she saw Sandy out on the baseball field. Mr. and Mrs. Baker looked out toward left field, and sure enough, there was a yellow dog being rubbed behind the ears by the third baseman. They thought that it looked like Sandy, but how would she have gotten to the game?
Mr. Baker didn’t remember seeing her on the porch when they left home and got curious. Then a voice came over the loud speaker at the stadium, asking the owner of the yellow dog to please come and get her off the field. Everybody at the game was entertained by the fun that Sandy was having, even Slugger who was being chased by Sandy to try to get her off the field.
She was standing on her hind legs begging, she was rolling over, she was sniffing of the bases, and she was running after the players when they would run. She was having a great time! She had even picked up someone’s ball cap and was running with it in her mouth. When the other team hit the ball, she was running and trying to catch it in the ball cap. The crowd was yelling for her to catch it, and she almost did! Everyone was clapping for her. Mr. Baker took his extra hot dog and went running onto the field. Sandy saw him and instantly came to him with a big smile on her face.
Mr. Baker apologized to the players and quickly guided Sandy off the field. The whole time, Emma Baker was laughing in delight, and so was everybody else at the stadium. This was an event that would be remembered for a long time.
When Mr. Baker got Sandy off the field, he led her up to the seats where the family was sitting. He gave her a hot dog and some bottled water and then led her back to the truck. He told her that he didn’t know she had been in the bed of the truck when they had left home because they had been in such a hurry. But baseball games just were not the place for dogs to play. He petted her on the head and told her to wait for them in the truck.
When the Bakers got back home, Emma hugged Sandy before going inside. Mr. Baker told her she was a smart dog and that he was glad she was back at home, safe. But the best thing to do was not wander off to places that she was not familiar with.
Sandy thought about this as she flopped her head down on her paws. She loved how the lights glowed through the windows until the Bakers settled down into their beds. She thought how safe she felt on the porch of the farmhouse with the Bakers inside. She also thought about how lovingly Mr. Baker had firmly guided her toward the truck at the game. Sandy listened to him because Mr. Baker always knew just what to do. If you stop to think about it, we all have a Master who loves us and leads us back home if we wander away.
Sandy the Farm Hound has
returned for a second summer.
Local author Lee Jennings is
once again writing the stories
set in our community that can be
shared with the entire family.
Look for the stories each Tuesday
for the next several weeks.