I have a toybox in my room. I keep blocks and games in it. In the corner I have a box full of sticks. I love sticks. Some are smooth and some are rough. Some are long and some are short. Sticks are good for digging and you can throw them really far.

I called my best stick Woody. When we’d go away I took Woody with me. He was small and I kept him in my pocket. He was smooth and fit in my hand. At night I put him under my pillow. He was a good friend.

One day Woody poked a hole in my pocket and Mom was cross.

“How did you get this hole in your pocket?” she asked.

“It just grew like that,” I said. I didn’t want to tell her Woody did it. “Did you have that stick in your pocket again?”

I just stared at my shoelaces. They were loose.

“You and that stick!” Mom exclaimed. “Why do you keep it?”

“He’s my friend, Mom.”

Then Mom smiled and told me it was good to have a friend.

I like Mom a lot and don’t want to upset her, so I had a talk with Woody. I told him not to make holes in my pocket again. He didn’t cry or anything. He just listened. Then I felt sorry for him, so I sailed him through the air. Woody liked to fly.

There is a field beside our house and we went for a walk. I saw a plant with pretty flowers. A butterfly was sitting on it. I held Woody very still and the butterfly landed on him. Then the butterfly landed on my hand. Its feet felt funny. When the butterfly flew away Woody and I dug the plant up. We took it home and planted it beside the garage. Morn was glad when she saw how pretty it was.

“I’m sorry about the hole in my pocket, Mom, it was my fault,” I admitted.

Mom hugged me and messed up my hair with her hand. I love my mom!

One day my cousin Jeff came over to play. We played under the back porch. Jeff had a little dump truck and I had a windup tractor. Mom gave us an empty cereal box and we made houses and roads.

I wanted to make another road. Jeff was using the shovel, so I took Woody out of my pocket and started to dig. Woody dug nice roads. I kept making the road longer and longer until I hit a rock and then SNAP! I picked up the piece that had broken off and tried to fix Woody, but it was no use. I felt like crying, but Jeff was there.

“It’s just a dumb stick,” Jeff said. I put Woody’s broken pieces under the porch steps and kept on playing. When Jeff went home, I crawled under the porch and got the pieces.

“I’m sorry, Woody,” I whispered. He didn’t say anything. I put him in the cereal box and carried him down to where we planted the flower and made a hole. Then I put Woody in the hole and covered him up.

He was a good stick and I miss him a lot.

Illustrated by Phyllis Luch