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  • Cheri Newell

A LONG FLIGHT

I want "BO-O-O-O-O"


A huge package arrived at our house one morning.

"Mama! Mama!" Shannon, my one-year-old, pointed to the box.

"Let's see," I said.

We opened the package to find a super-sized version of Pikachu from her Auntie Vivien.

Shannon's eyes grew wide and she grabbed the toy while I read the card inside. It was a gift for her big brother, Ryan! Oops!

Shannon had already taken ownership of the toy. Her attachment was immediate.

"Bo... Bo... Bo," she cooed.

She hugged the toy so tightly, I knew there was no way I could take it from her. I would just have to make it up to Ryan on another day (and never let him know Bo was his toy).

During the first year of this friendship, we took our family on vacation to Jamaica. We decided on the six-plus hour, red-eye flight, hoping the children would sleep.

In my brilliance as a young mom, knowing best how to wean an almost two-year-old off of her favorite stuffed toy, I confidently told my husband we should leave Bo at home. He did not argue the point with me.

The minute we got on the plane, I knew this was going to be a long and painful flight.

Shannon was talkative at this point in her life, but on this fateful night, she knew one word only... Bo!

"Bo! Bo! Bo!"

In every imaginable pitch, tone and volume... "BO-O-O-O-O!"

I began to draw pictures of Bo. Shannon calmed down for thirty seconds... then the screaming and yelling began anew.

"BO! BO! I want BO-O-O-O-O!"

"Look, Shannon, another picture," I pleaded.

"BO-O-O-O-O!"

The flight was full, and her screaming could be heard throughout the entire plane.

Everyone on that flight arrived exhausted.

As we made our way down the aisle, a man waited for us at the exit.

"I just want to know one thing... who is BO?"

Shannon had her friend until she was twenty years old. Bo was a raggedy old thing by then. We made a family trip to China and Bo was somehow left in the hotel room. Although Shannon was grown at this point, there was still a loss for her childhood companion.

This story and photo of Shannon were sent in by Bonni Ying, Palos Verdes, CA.


Children love with such abandon... be it a stuffed toy... a book... or a trinket. The memories these objects elicit can only be felt in the heart and cherished. I admire the ferocity of children's emotions... no matter the time or place. This ferocity can be comedic as well as exhausting... which leads me to ponder... THE KID DID WHAT?



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