In scene 3 A fine lady of the community finds Bobby playing in a corner of his house as late morning visitors continue to file by to view the body of his dead father. The sun is shinning brightly through the front room picture window, revealing no trace of the bitter cold-spell wrought in the wake of the recent storm, the Katrina disaster of its day. Being a Christian woman & a mother of a 12-year-old boy, Ronnie, Mrs. H takes pity on the youngster and decides to offer his mother some assistance during her hour of need. Thereupon she approaches quietly the playing child, taps him on the shoulder, and speaks plainly & softly. “Would you like to come to my house & play with some of my son’s toys?” Bobby looks up for a moment then looks back down as he is unfamiliar with her, but he knows who she is. Mrs. H is not put-off by his failure to respond to her invitation and further encourages him to accept by saying, “My son has an electric train set, and I bet you would like to play with it?” Bobby’s eyes lite up as he instantly looks up at her. He cannot refuse a chance to play with a toy electric train, so he leaves the safety of his home and travels across town to Mrs H’s home, just a few minutes away.
Upon arriving he jumps out of the car & follows Mrs. H into her house. He feels a little strange about going into an unfamiliar place, but the chance to play with an electric train set overcomes all his apprehension in following her into a strange house, then into the play room. He notices immediately her house is fancier & larger than his, but further inspection remains secondary to his desire to see & play with the electric train, something he has longed to do since becoming aware that such a toy exists.
Walking into the play room with Bobby close behind, Mrs. H spends a few minutes showing him all the toys, then she leaves the room to allow the youngster some privacy to engage in the fantasies of play that only children can do at his age. Bobby goes immediately to the train set and inspects each piece by lifting it off the track. He inspects carefully the engine, every car, & finally the caboose; then he places all, one-by-one, back upon the track, as if he’s a jeweler working to win a prize by putting together a mechanical clock for navigating across the Atlantic Ocean. When all is ready, he carefully inches forward the control switch to move the train across the circular track. He feels like a real engineer as he maneuvers the train around the track over & over. After several hours of play, he leaves Mrs. H’s abode hearing the hit tune by Red Foley, Chattanooga Shoe shine boy.
Watching Bobby play with the electric train set, one might underestimate his loss. As a matter of fact, he felt the weight of his father’s death throughout the remainder of his life, especially strong during the Thanksgiving Holidays. Back at the house visitors continued to pass-by his father’s casket, saying goodbye one last time to a young man of the community & a WW II veteran of the Pacific Theater.
Dale, Bobby’s Dad
(To be continued) Wayfarin’ Stranger: garland dale