Gumbo Saves The Day
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"Take care of your mother and Gumbo," said Terrence's dad, "you're the man of the house until I return."
"Okay Dad." Terrence replied.
Those were the last words Terrence's dad said to him before he hopped in a taxi cab last night to leave on a business trip.
Terrence was used to his dad going out of town and knew it was his job, but wished he didn't have to leave.
When his dad was home they would play basketball together, ride bikes and read comic books.
He missed his dad terribly when he was gone.
Last night was awful because of his dad leaving, but this morning was even worse; Terrence's dog Gumbo was lost.
Gumbo is the mutt of all mutts.
He looks like a combination of many dogs while looking like no other dog at all. Gumbo was Terrence's best friend; he had been with him his whole life.
Gumbo was a smart and loving dog and always there for Terrence when he was upset. He was always by his side; even sleeping on his bed with him.
It was unlike Gumbo to ever run away.
He was usually extra sweet to Terrence when his dad left, which is why he and his mom were worried about Gumbo.
They feared something terrible had happened to him.
Terrence spent the morning with his mom making lost posters of Gumbo to hang all over town.
He drew the best picture of Gumbo that he could.
He was a unique looking dog with long hair, floppy ears and brown, yellow, black and white spots all over his body.
Terrence's mom wrote 'LOST: Gumbo. If you find him or see him please call 667- 1743. He is loved and missed very much.'
Terrence and his mom jumped on their bikes and hung fliers on every light post they saw from their neighborhood until they made it all the way down town.
When they got there, they passed out flyers to every shop keeper and person walking down the street.
They posted them on street lights, the walls of covered bus stop shelters and even put them under the windshield wipers of cars parked on the street.
They finally passed out their last flier when it began to thunder.
"Terrence, we have to head back now," said his mom.
"I know, but I want to keep searching for Gumbo, I don't want to leave him alone for the night, especially since it's going to storm. He hates storms."
Actually it was Terrence who was afraid of storms, and he liked that Gumbo was always there to comfort him when it did storm.
As Terrence and his mom rode home in the rain he knew it would be his first night ever without Gumbo, he hoped it was his last.
The next morning, Terrence woke up tired and upset.
He didn't sleep much at all because he was so worried about Gumbo.
He lay in his bed all night, imagining him cold, wet and afraid.
He pictured Gumbo walking around, crying out for him.
His mom was just as worried, but for another reason.
Terrence's dad had left the night before to go out of town on business and she hadn't heard from him since he got in a cab to go to the airport.
He would always call her and Terrence before he got on the plane, when he landed safely at his destination and at least once each night he was gone.
By now, they should've heard from him at least twice.
Terrence was so distraught about Gumbo that he hadn't realized his dad had not called for 2 days.
His mom wasn't going to remind him either, the loss of Gumbo was enough alone for Terrence to handle.
The storm had knocked the power out overnight and the house was dark, except for the early morning sunlight coming through the front room window.
This typically didn't happen because there was a big tree in his front yard always blocking the sun.
The big oak was now on its side across the driveway; it had been uprooted overnight by the strong storm.
Terrence and his mom went outside to see their neighborhood a mess.
Trees and power poles were down, cars turned over and homes damaged.
There were fire trucks and police cars lining his street.
Terrence was lucky because his house was not damaged and he and his mom weren't injured.
But he was worried for Gumbo now more than ever; he didn't know if Gumbo found a safe place last night during the storm and was alive.
One of the fire trucks stopped in front of Terrence's house.
"Are you two okay?" asked one of the firemen.
"Yes," replied his mom, "luckily our home wasn't damaged."
"No!" Terrence yelled. "My dog is..."
Before he could finish his sentence, an urgent call came over the fireman's radio.
"Attention all units, we have a code 17 at the airport; we need multiple units to respond immediately."
"Copy that," replied the fireman over his radio, "we're on route."
"10-4," said the voice on the radio.
The firemen climbed in their truck, turned on their siren and sped off.
"Let's go have some breakfast Terrence, chocolate chip pancakes sound good?" asked his mom.
"Sure," he replied.
He couldn't have cared less about breakfast; he just wanted Gumbo back.
Breakfast was quiet except for the sound of chainsaws in their front yard.
Two neighbors were cutting the uprooted tree into smaller pieces of fire wood.
In the middle of breakfast, the power came back on.
"Mom, can I watch cartoons while I finish breakfast?" asked Terrence.
"Sure" said his mom, while doing dishes.
He turned on the television and a news reporter was on, talking about a fire that was going on at the airport.
"The airport has been shut down for two days now without power.
Passengers have been trapped inside the airport with no way of getting out.
The storm has caused significant damage to the airport terminals and many of the planes," said the reporter, "and now I've just received word that a fire has broken out in one of the terminals. Firefighters are on the scene battling the blaze. We've been told by witnesses that one of the fire dogs has pulled many people to safety and a few passengers are assisting firefighters on the scene.
We will have more as the story unfolds."
"Hey mom," asked Terrence, "I wonder what dad is up to, he hasn't called since he left?"
They were glued to the television and couldn't stop watching the coverage of the fire at the airport. They didn't know why, maybe it distracted them from their worries; or was there more to it than that?
"Well folks, I'm happy to report that the fire is out and power has been restored to the airport," said the reporter, "local passengers are free to leave as flights have been postponed indefinitely. Thank you to the firefighters and brave passengers who helped those in danger to safety. There are no reported injuries and that is due to the actions of those brave individuals."
Just then, as his mom turned off the television, they heard a fire truck coming down the street with the sirens blaring.
It stopped in front of their house.
It was the same firemen from this morning except there was a guy in a dirty business suit walking with them. His face was covered in smoke.
"Dad!" yelled Terrence as he was running to give his dad a hug, I thought you were out of town?"
"I never made it; the storm came in and I was stuck at the airport for two days." said his dad. "What have you and mom been up to?"
Terrence suddenly began to cry.
He hadn't really cried much since Gumbo went missing because he was trying to be brave, but as happy as he was to have his dad back it reminded him that his family still wasn't complete.
"Gumbo is missing; he's lost forever," he told his dad.
Just then one of the firemen opened the door in the back of the truck.
A big furry mutt came running out.
At first Terrence couldn't tell if it was Gumbo because his fur was covered in smoke, like his dad's face.
"Gumbo!" yelled Terrence with tears in his eyes. "You're alive!"
Gumbo jumped on him, knocking him to the ground and began licking him. Terrence's mom, dad and firemen were all laughing; he couldn't stop laughing either, he was so happy to have his dad and Gumbo home.
"Son," said his dad, "Gumbo ran away to come find me. He ran all the way to the airport before the storm hit.
We were trapped there all day, that's why you and your mom couldn't find us.
Then, when the fire broke out, Gumbo started pulling people to safety.
When I saw how brave he was I had to help too.
Gumbo left to bring us back together and here we are."
"Your dad and Gumbo are heroes Terrence," said one of the firemen, "so much so that we offered to make them both members of the fire department."
"Is this true, Dad?" asked Terrence.
"Yes son," said his dad, "I will never have to leave you again."
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