It's with a very heavy heart that I sit down to write this one. I had actually written a longer one, but I deleted it as it was just too damn long. You see, within the last couple years, 'Leave it to Beaver' has become a staple in our household and a major influence on our family. If you'd all indulge me for a moment, I'd like to share a story.
At the start of COVID, my son's preschool was shutdown (along with everything else) and he was home with dad for the long haul. So, one morning I was looking for something to watch with Little Guy and I thought that he'd get a kick out of 'Leave it to Beaver', a show about a boy around his age getting into all sorts of misadventures, and as it turned out, I was right. It became a massive hit with my then 5 year old and a daily morning staple for us from that day until he started going to Kindergarten full time in late spring 2021.
So, when it came onto my radar that both Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers, "Wally and The Beaver" themselves, would be coming to Rhode Island Comic Con in 2020, I asked my son if he wanted to go meet them. He was ecstatic and couldn't wait to go, but unfortunately due to "Two weeks to slow the spread..." it was cancelled. We had to wait another year before we had another opportunity and thankfully we were able to attend.
Upon arrival at the convention at around noon (we went on Sunday, as I figured it'd be the final day and a bit more easygoing), we raced to find were they'd be only to find that we had just missed them due to a pro photo op schedule. While the timing wasn't the greatest, it did give us plenty of time to get to know Tony Dow's wonderful wife, Lauren. Little Guy must have charmed the heck out of her, because she instantly took a shine to him. He picked out a photo to have signed when Mr. Dow returned and she set it aside and told him that because he was a good boy that she'd make sure it was taken care of. After leaving and passing by the table several times, our wait was finally over and Tony Dow was there in person! Lauren told him that the sole reason we were attending was to meet him and he spent an incredible amount of time with us. The thing I took away the most is how amazingly nice he was with my son, asking him questions like how he was doing in school, what kinds of activities and sports he likes, what he liked most about the show, etc. He was kind, genuine and really left a great impression. He signed two pictures for us and posed for a selfie, but after some time Jerry Mathers arrived and my son just seemed to magically gravitate 6 feet over to his table before I was able to complete the financial transaction for the photos and selfie. After meeting Jerry Mathers, I went right back over to Tony Dow to apologize for leaving the table before paying and that I wanted to square it all away. They came back with a dollar amount that was far less than what I had bought, and after trying to explain and give the full amount they said that Little Guy's autograph and selfie were free of charge. Before we left the convention for good, we returned to his booth to say goodbye and were sent off with handshakes, hugs and well wishes by both Tony and his lovely wife.
I hope you're all still here reading, but I wanted to share this story to hopefully describe the kind of person Tony Dow was. He and his wife were WONDERFUL to my little boy. After finding out that his cancer had returned back in May and the outlook was not good, his wife had asked his fans to pray for Tony and since then, my son and I have been adding him to our prayers before bed. I'm asking you to add him to yours. As of the time I'm writing this, I haven't broken the bad news to my son. I'm not sure how he's going to take it, but I know for certain that he'll never, ever forget how nice Tony was to him. God bless Tony Dow. Thank you for your warmth and kindness.