On most days, the branches of the willow trees outside my first home would continue an incessant rustling and whispering in the humid air. I would often grow lonely and a bit afraid. There was no reassurance from an old doll I carried around by one leg. There was not even a yard dog to give company or comfort. My mom’s littler terrier dog Mickey had run away, probably from being so lonely himself. He never came back. So- I sucked my thumb. That habit persisted even though my grandmother would often put mustard or other nasty-tasting things on it to make me quit. Nothing, it seemed, could take the place of that thumb!