“C’mon, Mo! I’m going to the creek to cool off. C’mon, boy!” Ten year old Jody laughed when she saw the dog running. Old Mo had been dumped at the Callahan’s farm when Jody was just five years old. She never tired of watching his floppy ears when he ran. Jody sat down on the porch and rubbed Mo just behind the ears. It was the best thing she could do for him; if Mo had been a cat, he’d be purring.
Since Jody’s chores were done, she was free to do what she wanted. It was a hot summer day. While she was doing her chores, she’d had time to plan her afternoon. She planned to go to the creek when she was done with lunch.
When the dishes were washed and put away, Jody changed into her swimming suit. She called her dog. The two of them played together as they walked through the meadow to the creek. It was quite a sight to see them play. Jody threw a stick for Mo to fetch. His big, floppy ears flapped as he bounded across the field.
“Fetch the stick, Mo,” Jody shouted as she threw the stick ahead of them.
The old dog would race ahead, grab the stick in his mouth and come leaping back to Jody. As she reached for the stick, Jody said, “Oh, Mo, you’re so good. Now give me the stick.”
Mo shook his head.
“You know you’re going to give me the stick, so stop growling.” Jody laughed. They struggled for the stick for a short time, but Mo finally gave up the stick; but the game continued all the way to the creek.
Sitting beside the creek was relaxing for Jody and she stroked Mo gently.
“Mo, I don’t know who dropped you off at our house, but I’m sure glad they did. You’re my bestest friend. It’s so nice to be able to tell you everything.” The dog seemed to understand and licked Jody’s cheek. “Oh, yuck!” She said as she wiped her cheek. “You better get going. I’ve got take my shoes and socks off. The water always feels so good. The minnows tickle my feet. Go on, I’ll be there in a minute.
The creek wasn’t deep, but was a great place to cool off. Mo was still sitting on the bank. Jody laughed at Mo,
“You big sissy. C’mon in. The water’s fine.” It didn’t take much coaxing. Mo jumped in and rolled around while Jody tried to catch some minnows. Suddenly Jody shouted,
“Mo, you crazy dog. You’ve gotten me all wet.” Jody was trying to sound stern, but the giggle in her voice gave her away. Mo was shaking the water off and sprayed Jody. She chased Mo briefly.
As she and Mo started toward the creek bank, something floated by and caught Jody’s eye. It was a fifty dollar bill. Jody was so excited; she grabbed it, looked around and saw three more bills floating nearby.
“Mo, wait! There’s money floating around here. Let’s see if we can find more.” Mo wasn’t interested in anything and laid down in the sun. Jody continued searching for additional bills. When she finally quit, she’d had over two hundred and fifty dollars.
Mo and Jody hurried back to the house.
“Mo, you wait here. I’m gonna show Mom what I found.” Mo yawned, stretched, lazily laid down and fell asleep while Jody went inside.
“Hey, Mom! Mom,” excitedly Jody shouted as she slammed the screen door. “Mom, look what I found.”
She slapped the soggy bills on the table and watched her mother reaction.
“Where in the world did you get these, Jody Callahan!” she responded.
“I found in the creek. Mo and I were getting ready to come back and I saw something floating down stream. I waded over and I found one bill and then another and they kept comin.’ Can I keep them?”
“Jody, this money belongs to someone. We’ve got to see if we can find out whose it is.”
The look of expectancy turned to disappointment.
“I can’t keep it?” Jody hung her head as she tried to hide the tears that were welling up in her eyes.
“Honey, I didn’t say you couldn’t keep it. I said we need to see if someone lost the money. Why don’t you get the newspaper and see if someone is advertising they lost some money.”
“Aw, okay!” Jody was so dejected. She’d already planned how she would spend the money.
Jody spread the want ads over the kitchen table. With her index finger, she scanned the paper. Oh, no! She thought, this really does belong to someone. She looked around. Her mother wasn’t
watching. I could tell Mom I didn’t find anything. She remembered her Sunday school lesson about telling the truth and decided she should tell the truth.
“There it is, Mom. What do I do now?”
Her mother placed her hand on Jody’s shoulder and said,
“Well, dear, since you are the one who found the money, I think you should call the number in the ad and tell the person you found it.”
Jody dialed the number in the ad. An answering machine answered so Jody left a message. “Hello! This is Jody Callahan. I read your ad in the paper. I think I found your money. Please call me at 555-4944."
Jody joined Mo on the back porch.
“Ya know, Mo. I’m glad we went to the creek today. The person who lost that money is going to be real happy to have it returned.” She paused and added, “But I really wanted to buy something special for you.” She rubbed Mo behind the ear. “Ya think you could settle for fetching a stick for a while longer?”
When Mo heard the words “fetch” and “stick,” he sat up expectantly. Jody laughed at the enthusiasm of the dog.
“I guess that means yes. Let’s go.” Jody and her loving dog headed toward the large front yard to play. Mo ran ahead and his floppy ears made Jody laugh again. Jody found a nice stick and threw it. Mo did what most dogs do: he chased and brought it back to Jody. The game went on for ten or fifteen minutes when suddenly Jody heard her mother shouting,
“Jody! You’ve got a phone call. Hurry now, you’ve got a phone call.”
Jody didn’t fell much like hurrying because she was certain it was the person who’d lost the money. Yet, she followed her mother’s ordered. She ran to the house and stood beside her mother. Her mother was holding the phone out to her.
Panting, Jody took the phone. Breathing heavily she answered, “H.. hello. Th.. this is Jody Callahan.
“Miss Callahan, this is Mr. Hardin. I want to thank you for your honesty. I lost about two hundred fifty dollars about a week ago. I’d been saving it to buy a new hearing aid. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to hear the birds singing again. You are an honest young, lady. I’d like to give you twenty-five dollars. Does that sound fair?
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Hardin. How can I get this money to you?” She paused and watched her mom. “Mr. Hardin, if you give me your address, Mom and I will bring it to you.” Jody loved to go for a ride with her mom.
“That would be fine, young lady.” He gave her the address.
Shortly afterwards, Jody and her Mom climbed into the pickup truck. Mo hopped in, too.
“Mo, you don’t go in the truck,” Jody proclaimed.
“I guess he does this time,” her mother answered. “After all, Mo helped you find the money.”
It seemed to take forever to get to Mr. Hardin’s house. It was an old house. It looked as if it had been years since the outside had seen a coat of paint and the steps were a bit rickety. Mo jumped out of the truck before Jody and her mom could stop her. He bounded up the steps and almost knocked down the old man.
“Mo, you get back here. Leave Mr. Hardin alone.” Mo was jumping up on Hardin.
Mr. Hardin laughed, “It’s okay. I like dogs.” He reached out to shake hands with Jody and her mother. “Young lady, can you tell me how you found this money?”
Jody sat on the little stool near Mr. Hardin. She careful and meticulously related the story.
“If you hadn’t found the owner, what were you going to do with all this money?” He curiously asked.
“Oh, I wanted to buy Mo a pull rope to play with,” she dropped her eyes. She added, “I think I would have gotten an ice cream cone, too.”
Mr. Hardin laughed and handed her the promised reward, “Well, you deserve an ice cream cone.”
Jody turned to walk away. She spun around when she heard Mr. Hardin call out,
“Hey, here’s some extra. Get Mo some ice cream, too.” He handed her another five dollars.
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