Losing Track of a Child

I read about a three-year-old who was accidentally left in a corn maze (should it be corn maize?) overnight. I got this a-maize-ing news from other bloggers, not our local newspaper. The details and excuses have probably been rehashed many times. I’m here to write about my experience. I lost my son. I lost track of my son for hours. It happened just last night.

Here is a photo of him at age 3 with his sisters.

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Last night I heard him go in the bathroom when I headed for my computer. Running water was my clue that he was taking a bath. I took my last quick peek of the evening to see what blogs and email had been posted at the end of the day. As usual, I was not aware of time passing. I was there two or three hours before stumbling to bed. During the night, I woke and wondered if he had drowned in the tub, but I wasn’t alert enough to check. It was with relief that I heard my husband walking in and out of the bathroom this morning. He would surely have noticed a dead body floating in the tub.

Here is the most recent picture I took of him with his Aunt Barbara and Uncle Thom. He turned 38 just a week ago and is still in good health, despite my losing track of him last night.

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Deviated Day

Six days a week we follow the same format. We walk to the creek, chat while eating breakfast, shower, and veg in front of our computers. Today we turned things around. The weather turned cool overnight, and it was almost to the freezing point when we got up. There was no chance of perspiring while walking. We showered and drove to the Belly Truck in Waynesville. Neighbors Shawn and Bob’s daughter-in-law Ashley owns the business. We had lunch there once when Nathaniel was with us. Today we went for breakfast. Breakfast needs its own paragraph, see below. We ate beside the creek near the Rec Center, took a fairly brisk walk by the stream, and did our weekly grocery shopping at Ingles.

Ashley said she had a rough start because she didn’t have heat in the truck, as she thought she would have. The biscuits would not be ready for ten more minutes. We waited in our car, though I wish I’d thought of walking instead of sitting. Ashley bounded out of the truck and apologized for the wait as she handed us our food. I said I was sure it was worth waiting for. Golly! I didn’t know what I was talking about! John had bacon, egg and cheese on his biscuit. I had gravy on mine. It was absolutely divine. Although I didn’t grow up with them, biscuits and gravy are a Southern specialty. The gravy is made of crumbled sausage in a white sauce. Ashley’s biscuit was huge, and her gravy was perfect – steaming hot with a perfect kick of pepper. She also had melted cheese on the biscuit. I’m thrilled that we had this special breakfast before she closed for the season.

I didn’t think to take a picture of our food. The little red camera would have reminded me, but the phone was mute. It’s probably like me and can do only one101717 View from Ingles parking lot.jpg thing at a time. On the other hand, it did think of taking a shot of the mountains from the parking lot at the supermarket. Maybe it’s just old, slow, and forgetful. John often speaks of what a beautiful view there is from Ingles. He is surprised the land was not used for very expensive condos right there in town. I should have walked down a bit beyond the cars, but the Extreme Moose Tracks ice cream would not have been forgiving.

It was very satisfying to have a turned-around day that included a delicious breakfast and a walk by the stream.

Meet and Greet in the ‘Hood

We can go days without speaking to anyone but neighbor Marla, out walking Albert. Today was quite the opposite. I was well past the bend in the road when feisty Raven started yapping after me. The dog figured I was off her property and gave in to a shout from the house. A few minutes later her owner stopped her car and apologized. At least it gave us a chance for a quick exchange of pleasant greetings.

A few steps more, and I was looking at a dead raccoon on the road. I suspect it was a young one, but ‘coons in the wild don’t get as huge as those on garbage welfare on Long Island. I started to count the rings on the tail, but then corrected myself. You count rings on a tree to determine its age. Doesn’t work for ‘coons.

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Next up, or rather down, was a skunk on the road, dead as could be. It might be the only animal that has more of a stench when freshly dead than when decomposing. I warned Marla with a text message, but there was a dead zone (appropriate!) in front of her house. The message went through when I was half way down the long hill.

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John and I thought Smoky was dead, because he hadn’t come out to greet us for months. I had the pleasure of petting him two days in a row and still had my phone out to get his picture.


Smoky laid on my feet for a belly rub, and that’s when another neighbor drove by in a white van. She rolled down her window and asked, “Is the dog OK? Just saw two animals dead in the road back there and hoped this wasn’t a third.”

I spent long minutes at the creek, watching leaves tumble through the rapids. It’s mesmerizing. When I walked through the gas station, the lumber trucker I talked to recently was refueling. He walked away from the noise of the truck to chat with me. He’s older than I thought. He has six grandchildren, one from his daughter and five from his son. He explained that his son was in the navy, and every time he came back in port, his wife had another baby. A man in a van pulled up and asked if he’d had a wreck.

Trucker replied, “Yeah, I did! 40 years driving without an accident.  Had two on the same day last week!”

When it was raining heavily, a woman in a car skidded into him. After that was sorted out, he drove on and saw a man brake sharply and hit the guard rail. He said, “I threw on my brakes, and I slid into the guard rail, too.”

Neighbor Dawn was driving to her volunteer job at a thrift store, and she stopped to comment on the dead animals. She continued, “John away with trains? I’ve seen you walking alone.”

I started up the steep hill, pausing only to wave at Ironman. I call him that because he works with wrought iron. He has been cleaning up outside his building, splitting logs and piling them up.

As I went back past Marla’s house, I took a shot of the trap Dave had put out to catch the skunk. The marshmallow bait was still there. Dave and neighbor Mark across the street hoped to catch the skunk that had been lurking about their properties. They would have given it a free move to the woods. Getting caught would have been better for you, Skunk.

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Run Up a Tree

Neighbor Logan came over while we were finishing a very late lunch. He sat with us on the porch for a few minutes, and then he jumped up.

John asked, “Where are you going?”

“Gonna climb the tree,” he replied, as he ran toward the 200-year-old oak. I followed, knowing there was the possibility of an interesting photo.

He ran at the tree twice before I was in range. Running is a strong point for him, but momentum lost to gravity.

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Barefoot boy meets mighty oak.

He tried several more times before streaking back to the house and settling down to play before it was time to go home.

A thought: I wonder if Logan has seen the Road Runner in comics by Looney Tunes. Couldn’t Road Runner go up and over any obstacle in his path? Good luck, Logan!

What You See Before You Die

This is the last thing I saw clearly. We were at Jonathan Creek, and John commented on how high the water was after Hurricane Nate’s rain. The stones he called “loaves of bread” were totally under water. The rapids had also disappeared. There was nothing but a torrent of water rushing madly by.

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One moment I could see clearly, and then I lost my focus. I desperately hoped it was just the fog surrounding us.

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That was a vain hope, because I died right there beside the creek. My dying words were in Halloween orange, Lens error!

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RIP Little Toy Camera.

Not the Last Rose of Summer

Who would have thought a blooming plant would tap me on the shoulder in the garden? I stooped to trim an ambitious ground cover, focusing on the escaping tendrils at my toes. Not knowing the truth of the matter, I thought I was being stalked the second time it touched me. Looking up, I was face to face with a gladiolus stalk in full bloom. I was right — stalked! Its compatriots died months ago, and it was surrounded by dried leaves, languishing in the dust. It was bowed over, facing the ground, which is why I hadn’t seen it from the porch. Any living thing, clinging to life like that, deserved to be digitally immortalized.


The shot was a blind one. I held the toy camera under the blooms, shooting up at the cloudy sky. The old oak tree photo-bombed it, waving with the leaves it had left. The top of my Einstein hair-do jumped in, too.

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As long as the camera was in the garden, it captured two other blooms. The most enthusiastic bloom was a single clematis. I thought its expression was like a deer in headlights. It was as surprised to be there as I was to see it.

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The rose was one of 22 left on the two bushes. It will be a while until the last one succumbs. I’ll play a proper elegy for it then.  Do you have any clingers in your garden?

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Oak leaves again, this time looking up from the ground!


Neighbor Logan wasn’t avoiding having his picture taken, but he wasn’t posing, either. I was chatting with his dad and neighbor Marla as he paced back and forth, waiting for the school bus. I got what I wanted – Logan with the decorations Marla put on the sign. If there were a contest for best decorated house for Halloween, Marla would win it. She is gradually adding things to the house and grounds, these being the furthest pieces.

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Looking at Logan’s backpack made me wonder how I carried things to school when I was his age. Gradually it came back to me. I carried a satchel. Backpacks were not the “in” thing in 1949. This image came from Bing on the internet. Note it had a handle, not a shoulder strap.


Some time after second grade I carried books girly fashion in the crook of my left arm. The higher the grade, the bigger the books. There was a heavy textbook for each subject, and homework was assigned from every one. It’s a wonder I wasn’t permanently disfigured by lugging all that weight around. If I remember correctly, fellows held their books with one hand hanging by their sides. Granted, their hands were bigger, but they couldn’t possibly have toted the amount girls did. There! I’ve answered the question, “Why did girls do better in school than boys?”

By the time I married, stores put big items in shopping bags for you to carry home. I re-purposed them for many things as a matter of convenience. They were made of heavy paper with twine handles. I’m sure if I search carefully today, I can find indentations in my hands, cut by those handles. It wasn’t until the mid-70s that I owned a plastic tote bag. Before long, cloth totes were common, and they were certainly a boon for the hands. Now in the 21st century, we have graduated to backpacks for all ages. If you never carried a satchel, shopping bag, or tote bag, tell your hands and your back how very lucky they are. If they say, “Thank you,” please let me know.