Friday, July 22, 2005

Left Behind or Preacher's Kid 101

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If I had a blog site where posts could be filed in categories, this would file under "trials and tribulations of a preacher's kid" or more simply "life as a p.k.", but I don't have such a blog. So this gets mixed in with previous posts of my life as a kid, fond memories and misadventures. Early on I wrote about Easter chicks and science projects; tornados and snowstorms; life on the road and transitions; and about life as a clutz. This picture is my current inspiration or "jumping off point". I found it in an old picture album while cleaning out the bookshelves.

Me: "What's this?"
Mom: "Oh, it's a picture of Stephen when we left him at church."
Me: "We left him at church?"
Mom: "Yes."
Me: "And we actually went back to get him?"
Mom: "Yes."
Me: "Why?"

This had to have been the new church in Gary, Indiana. I don't think the old church downtown had padded pews so it isn't as tragic as it might have been and no one has to call social services. Still, it had to be a complete lack of forethought and communication for both parties because Stephen at his smallest was not a child small enough to just misplace. You would never walk past a pew with him on it and just "not see him". He came into this world at 10lbs 8oz, two weeks early, and 24 inches long. He was born the size of a three month old with one year old sized feet. He was the youngest member of the "Weight Watchers" club as he had to lose a full pound before they let him go home from the hospital. He has always been taller, wider and with bigger feet than every other kid his age, so there is no way to just "lose him". But that is just what they did. I use the word "they" because this is my parents doing and I take no part or responsibility in the process.

The church and parsonage were on three acres of land, church at one end and house at the other with a big empty lot in between. After church one Sunday night, Mom & I walked over to the house. I include myself here so I can get my jammy's on and get in bed with a book and stay out of the rest. Mom got her pj's on and got stuff ready to go to work on Monday. She taught first grade. Dad stayed at the church for a while talking to people or having a little board meeting or something. He left, turning off all the lights and locking it up. Then he, too walked over to the house.

Dad always gets milk and a banana for...well, everything. Even after a big meal, he gets a banana and glass of milk for after dessert. He piddled around in the kitchen a while and finally went back to the bedroom and got ready for bed. Mom, already dozing, woke up when he got in bed.

Mom: "Did Stephen get in bed ok?"
Dad: "I don't know, didn't you put him to bed?"
Mom: "No, I thought you were going to do that."
Dad: "Why, he came home with you, didn't he?"
Mom: "No, I thought you were going to bring him."
Dad: "No, I didn't bring him. Did his sister bring him?"
Me (in next room with door shut but with amazingly good hearing that remains to this day): "No, he didn't come with me, I have nothing to do with this!!!!!!!"
Dad (gets up and looks in Stephen's room): "No, he's not in his room."
Mom (getting hysterical....hysterical is a very typical reaction for a variety of situations with my mom): "Where is he?" "Is he OK?" "Someone didn't take him did they?"
Dad (in a calm and deliberate voice which is typical of his reaction to many of the same situations): "Now, Lorane, we'll just go back and look through the church. I'm sure we'll find him."
Me (still in the other room and a bit under my breath, not knowing the status of the parents hearing capacity): "Yeah, even if someone took him, they'd have brought him back by now simply because of the aggravation."

So, they both get up, get the clothes on and traipse back to the church. This is how they found him; still sound asleep and drooling on the padded church pews, oblivious to all the chaos and commotion he had caused. The lost was found, equilibrium was restored and all was well with the world. question nags at me as I look at this picture. What parent, uncertain as to the whereabouts or condition of their child has the thought "Oh, let me take a camera so I can get a picture of the child we left locked in a dark church for two hours!"? That bothers me. It makes me wonder if somewhere in all the picture albums and boxes, there isn't a picture of me sitting stuck in a garbage can with only head, hands and feet showing after having fallen in backwards from the porch. Surely not, but then again, I found this didn't I.

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