Over her eight years of life, Susy Bell Ringer Racoon had many cubs. Although they lived in the wild they all shared one special friend.
Miss Eleanor's home was near the forest's edge. All her forest friends loved the fruit trees and shrubs that grew in her yard. In the winter when snow covered the ground and ice filled the pond and food was hard to find, Miss Eleanor made sure they all had food and water.
From her window, Miss Eleanor would watch her forest friends. Birds pecked at the seeds that filled her bird feeder. Squirrels and chipmunks gathered the seeds that fell to the ground. Rabbits and deer nibbled the carrots and lettuce leaves growing in her garden. All the racoons liked the apples that fell from the apple tree. All but Timid Tommy!
Timid Tommy was too timid to leave the safety of his forest home. He just watched from the edge of the forest. Miss Eleanor thought he could use a little help!
Miss Eleanor placed some apple slices near the hollow log he was hiding in and went inside her house. Looking from her window,Miss Eleanor found it quite amusing to watch Tommy poke his head out of the hollow log.
The next night Miss Eleanor left a trail of vegetable pealings lead to the apple tree where his forest friends were. It took a lot of courage, but Tommy bravely followed the tasty trail.
Miss Eleanor laughed as she watched Tommy snatch up an apple and scurry back to the hollow log as fast as his little feet would go.
Tommy enjoyed the apple so much that had no problem finding the courage to join his forest friends the following night.
Before long, Tommy wasn't timid any more and he would let Miss Eleanor sit beside him while he ate. He loved it when she would scratch behind his ears.
Sometimes she brought out sponge cake and marshmallows as a special treat. Tommy loved to eat grapes right out of Miss Eleanor's hand!
One night Tommy went to the tree but all he found was the bell Suzy used to ring to get Miss Eleanor's attention hanging from a tree branch. Tommy remembers seeing other raccoons hit the bell and Miss Eleanor would suddenly appear. He stood up on his hind legs hit the bell with his front paws. Miss Eleanor came running out of the house with a handful of marshmallows. "Aren't you the cleaver one! That deserves a treat!"
One night Tommy's didn't come for his visit. The evening came and went, but no Tommy. Summer ended and Fall began, but no Tommy! Winter began and still, no Tommy. Miss Eleanor heard that there were trappers hunting for raccoons in the forest and was afraid that Tommy had been caught. She missed her Tommy.
Almost a year had past since Miss Eleanor saw Tommy. As she prepared dinner she heard 'ding! ding! ding' coming from her yard. She grabbed a handful of marshmallows and apples for her company. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw it was Tommy ringing the bell!
As she got closer she noticed he was not alone! "Well, hello stranger! I am so happy to see you are safe!" Miss Eleanor said, "How nice of you to bring your family to meet me."
"May I name your wife after my granddaughter Gretchen?" As she walked towards the young coon he ran and hid behind his mamma. "My, my! You are just as timid as your daddy used to be! Your name has to be 'Timid Tommy Two'!
All too soon it was time for them to return to their forest home As miss Eleanor stood waving good-bye to Tommy and his new family she thought how nice it was that Tommy had a family and he would never be Timid or alone again.
Miss Eleanor no sooner reached her house when she heard: 'Ding! Ding! Ding!' coming from the bell that hung near the abandoned home under the porch that Susy Bell Ringer used to call home.
It was her little kitten Preston ringing the bell! "Well hello, you little coppy cat! I suppose you want a treat too! How would you like a nice saucer of milk with your dinner?" Miss Eleanor felt very lucky to have so many special friends.