Disclaimer: The author of the poem within this story is unknown to me, but the title of it is Hand Prints. No copyright infringement is intended. Although it probably wasn’t written in the 1940’s or 1950’s, I’m using it in that time period for story purposes.




By Audrey W.



~*~*~ *~*~*~ *~*~


May 11, 1974



Roy walked out to the parking lot behind the station looking for his partner. He had noticed Johnny’s mood turn somber after the members of A-Shift had a discussion at the dinner table about their plans the following afternoon for Mother’s Day.


After looking in the dorm and locker room and not finding Gage, Roy had noticed the light shining out in the lot from the open door of Johnny’s Land Rover.


“What’s up?” Roy asked, as he approached the vehicle.


Johnny was holding a piece of yellow construction paper that was folded in half. His gaze didn’t leave the paper as he answered.


Nothin’. I just remembered I had this card out here. I found it in a box in one of my closets the other day.”


DeSoto stepped closer to get a look at the item in Johnny’s hand. It was at an angle to where he couldn’t see the front.


“An old birthday card?”


Gage shook his head. “Mother’s Day.”


“Mother’s Day?”


“Yeah. I made it for my mom when I was four years old.”


Roy suddenly understood why the younger man had become despondent after the discussion at the table earlier. He knew Johnny had lost his mother at a young age and had since been raised by his aunt in San Francisco. The previous couple of years, they hadn’t been on duty this day, thus the mention of Mother’s Day plans never came up. Now, here Johnny was not only listening to others talk about plans he couldn’t make because his mom was deceased, but he’d found a piece of the past as a reminder of how it once was when he did share the holiday with his mother.


“It’s been in your closet all this time?”


Gage nodded. “I packed up a lot of stuff my aunt gave me when I moved out on my own.” He ran two fingers up and down the seam of the card. “I never really looked through it. Just kept everything in the box and when I moved from my first apartment to the one I’m in now, I didn’t look in the box. Just moved it from the old closet to the new one, ya know?”


Roy nodded. He folded his arms and leaned against the side of the Land Rover, finally getting a view of the design on the front of the card. There were two small handprints done in white finger paint, with flower stems and leaves painted underneath them. At the top of the card were the words Happy Mothers Day printed in pink paint.


“Did you do that on your own?”


Johnny held up the card. “This? Nah. My aunt helped. I remember I wanted to get my mom flowers and didn’t have any money. So my aunt showed me how to make a card like this.” He cracked a smile as he looked at the handprints that stood for flower petals. “It was either this or go in search of Dandelions. There’s a poem inside that she copied down for me, too.” Johnny opened the card and handed it to Roy. “My brother teased me about this for a long time, but I didn’t care then. It made mom happy and she ended up buying me a red wagon afterwards that I’d wanted, so I figured I got the last laugh.”


The senior paramedic read the words inside the card as he listened to Johnny talk.

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.

But everyday I'm growing - -
I'll be grown someday
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away.

So here's a final handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.




When he was finished, Roy closed the card and looked at the front again.


 A little boy’s handprints. Johnny’s.


Gage sniffed and swiped at his eyes, hoping his partner didn’t notice the emotion in his voice when he spoke.


“When ever I’d make a mess or get into trouble, mom always used to tell me someday I’d have kids of my own that would do the same kind of things. She couldn’t wait to see the day it happened, either.”


“She’d probably be nagging you for grandchildren now. Telling you ‘hurry up and get married, I’m not getting any younger you know’,” Roy said in a higher pitched voice, imitating a woman.


“Yeah,” Johnny snorted, accepting the card back from his friend. “It’s been a lot of years since she’s been gone, but I still miss her at times.”


“I can imagine. You okay?”


The younger man looked up at his partner. “Huh? Oh. . .yeah, I’m fine. I just had to come out here to have a minute with. . .” Gage shrugged. “Well, with ‘mom’.”


The tones sounded, sending the station out on a call for a warehouse fire. Johnny quickly set the card on the passenger seat of the Land Rover. As he closed the driver’s side door he glanced at the card again and smiled.


Thanks for the memories, Mom.