Tylor’s Lumber

By Lori Stevens

Listen Download Print Share

When we’re helping, we’re happy,
And we sing as we go
(Children’s Songbook, page 198).

Tylor dressed and ate his breakfast as fast as he could. Today was Friday, and he had a very special mission.

Of all the things in the world that a boy could want, a tree house was what Tylor wanted most. He had wanted one as long as he could remember, but something had always stood in the way. One summer, his parents told him that he was too young. Another summer, they just couldn’t afford it. The next year looked good, but time ran out—his father had been too busy with work that summer.

But now, the summer of his ninth birthday, everything was arranged: Grandpa would supply all the wood. Mother had already helped Tylor save his pennies all year to buy the bright red paint for it. Father and he would build it tomorrow. And Cousin Hank would help paint it.

Only one thing still needed to be done. Tylor had to find some way to haul the wood from Grandpa’s lumberyard on the outskirts of town to Tylor’s house on Elm Street.

This was Tylor’s project today. He had received a wagon for a Christmas present a few years back and hadn’t played with it for at least a year. It had been put in the garage some time ago, and now it was loaded with old newspapers and magazines. Today Tylor would clean it out and use it to haul the wood from Grandpa’s lumberyard.

In no time, the wagon and Tylor were ready to depart. The only thing left to do was tell Mother that he was going. He found her on the back porch with two laundry baskets and a pillowcase full of dirty clothes.

“Oh, Tylor,” she said, “I’m glad you’re still here! The washer isn’t working, and I need to take these clothes to the laundromat. I can’t carry all of them by myself. Would you mind helping me before you get your wood?”

“Sure, Mom. We can load them into my wagon, and I’ll pull it. That way your hands will be free for Damion and Leslie.” (They were Tylor’s younger brother and sister.)

It didn’t take long to get the laundry finished, and Tylor was glad to help his mother, who was always doing things for him and everyone else in the family. After helping her carry the clean clothes into the house, there was still plenty of time to get the lumber. Tylor took the handle of his wagon and started down the street in the direction of his grandpa’s lumberyard.

After walking a few blocks, Tylor met Mr. Harper, an elderly man who had no children but who had always been kind to the children in the neighborhood. He owned an old go-cart that he allowed Tylor to ride on the weekends in exchange for running errands for him. Tylor liked Mr. Harper very much.

“You are just the person I wanted to see,” Mr. Harper told him. “I need a favor. Yesterday my fridge went on the blink and everything inside spoiled. I got it fixed this morning, but now I’m out of milk and I’m afraid my old cat won’t stand for that. Do you have time to run to the dairy for me?”

Although he was anxious to get to the lumberyard, Tylor had always been taught to help a friend in need, and Mr. Harper was a friend. “Sure thing, Mr. Harper. Can I leave my wagon here?”

“Of course.” The elderly man handed Tylor money for the milk.

When Tylor returned, he saw that Mr. Harper had filled his wagon with empty pop bottles. What a surprise!

“That’s for running to the dairy for me,” Mr. Harper told him. “I thought you could find some use for these.”

“Thanks a lot!” Tylor called as he turned the wagon around and headed for home. All the way, he imagined what he would buy with the money he’d get for turning the pop bottles in for cash.

He took the wagon into the garage and sat the bottles neatly on a shelf. Then he turned his wagon around and started off again.

He had only gone a few yards, when he noticed his little brother crying. For a moment he wanted to turn away. After all, it was getting late and he wanted to get to the lumberyard and back while he still had sunshine to play in. But he couldn’t go knowing that something was wrong with Damion. Tylor went over to him. “What’s wrong, Damion?”

Damion opened his hand to reveal several nickels. “All the kids are waiting for the ice-cream truck to buy an ice-cream treat, but I don’t have enough money.”

Tylor thought a moment. “I don’t have any money, either, but I know where we can get some. Come with me.”

Tylor and Damion reloaded the pop bottles into the wagon. After they had turned them in at the store, there was enough money for them and Leslie to all buy an ice-cream treat.

Tylor did not eat his right away. He put it into the freezer so that he could enjoy it later, after he was back with the lumber.

Pulling his wagon over cement, grass, dirt, and even railroad tracks, he finally arrived at the lumberyard. With Grandpa’s help, he loaded the lumber onto the wagon and tied it securely with a piece of old rope.

All the way home, he sang songs he had learned in Primary. He was very tired, and it was late. He knew that he wouldn’t have much time left for playing, but it didn’t matter. He was very happy. He had helped his mother, Mr. Harper, and his brother and still had time to get the lumber. As he smiled to himself, he realized that this feeling must be why Mother always had a smile on her face, too.

Illustrated by Julie F. Young