Tommy jumped out of bed and ran over to his hat tree. He did this each morning as soon as he woke up. What shall I be today? he wondered. A fireman? No, I was that yesterday. A baseball player? No, I was that Monday. Maybe a cowboy? Yes! That’s what I’ll be today. He reached up, took his cowboy hat off its peg, and put it on as he started down the hall to see what his mom was fixing for breakfast.

“Well, Tommy, I see that you’re a cowboy this morning,” said his mom as Tommy hurried into the kitchen and sat down in his chair.

“I’m not Tommy. I’m Cowboy Billy, and I’ve come to see what kind of grub you have for a hungry cowpoke.”

“Well, pardner, I’ve rustled you up some eggs and bacon and a glass of milk,” Mom said as she set his food down on the table.

“Well, Ma’am, that sounds pretty good,” said Tommy before blessing his breakfast and starting to eat. As soon as he was finished, he hurried off to get dressed.

Back in his room Tommy started looking for his chaps and his furry vest. He knew that before the day was over he would probably have to chase some rustlers and maybe a bank robber or two, so he opened his closet and pulled out his stick horse, Sam. Once he was dressed, he hopped onto his horse, galloped down the hall, and went outside. Tommy spent all morning playing in the backyard, and by lunchtime he was a pretty tired little cowboy. He rode Sam into the kitchen and put him by the door.

“Ma’am, do you have some oats for my horse?” asked Tommy. “He’s had a long morning chasing rustlers, and he’s pretty hungry.”

“Well, pardner, let’s see what I have,” Mom said. She held a bag up to Sam’s mouth.

Tommy could barely keep his eyes open as he ate his lunch.

“Well, pardner, don’t you think you should mosey on down to the bunkhouse and rest for a while?” suggested his mom. “I’ll wake you if you’re needed to chase any rustlers or bank robbers.”

Tommy slowly got up and headed down the hall to take a nap. Later, when he woke up, he jumped up and ran down the hall to the kitchen, shouting, “Got to go, Ma’am. There’s a bunch of robbers at the bank!” He jumped onto his horse and headed for the backyard again.

That night when Tommy got ready for bed, he put Sam to rest on his pillow, put his chaps and vest back in the closet, and put his hat back on his hat tree. Then he hopped into bed.

As Mom kissed Tommy good night and turned out the light, he was wondering which hat he’d choose the next day. Maybe I’ll be a fireman or a spaceman. Or maybe I’ll just be Tommy.

Photos by Michael McConkie