“Tommy knows that you pushed Hannah into the mud. If you don’t tell the truth, he’ll come to get you.”
“Daddy, I know Tommy is just a scarecrow! He’s not a real person!”
“You’d be surprised buddy. Now go wash up, we’ll talk more about this at dinner.”
It’s sort of funny, I can remember a conversation that I had when I was 10 so vividly, yet I nearly forget my keys every morning. Dad always knew that Tommy freaked me out, so he would refer to him in his punishments. Tommy wasn’t even our scarecrow at first. You see, he belonged to my grandparents. When my dad was seven, my grandparents took him on a trip to Italy. They stayed at a farm that was also a B&B. On their last day there, as “a gift for being such great guests,” the mother of the man who owned the farm gave my grandparents Tommy.
“He is more than a protector of the crops.” she told them.
This was a very nice gesture, but my dad grew up in the suburbs, which meant there were no crops to protect. So Tommy sat in the attic until Halloween came around every year.
When my dad turned 16, he began work as a farm hand at one of the largest farms in New York State. He rose through the ranks and eventually married the farmer’s daughter — my mom. Around the time my mom found out that she was pregnant with me (my parents were both 24), my pop-pop was dying. He held on so hard to see me born. He passed away when I was three months old, handing the farm and all of its business to my parents. We now grow tons of crops and we’re also involved in both the milk and meat businesses. And all the while, Tommy sat in our cornfield, protecting our crops.