Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lost One at Sunday School

Kind friend Dale Lincoln returns to the Skillin's Garden Log with a true and memorable tale:

A young man was at my church waiting for Sunday School to begin. He was filled with an extra supply of energy. I was the Church van driver. A few minutes earlier, in the van, I had notice that “the kid” had “zip” while giving him a ride from his home to the church. Many adults in the church were observing his actions and could have said to him:”Go Get Lost.!” But I would never say those words to him even though I was not overjoyed with his actions that morning. It was easy for me to thank the Lord that he was healthy and in the church. I recognized “the kid” by name. On a very dark night about eight years earlier I had been beside “the kid” and his Dad in the wilds of Maine---an unforgettable experience..

During October, darkness arrives very soon after sunset along the coast of Maine. One autumn evening, in the twilight, I drove from Eastport to my home in Perry. A half hour later I was on an errand, driving over the same section of U. S. Highway #1. A half mile from my home automobiles were lined up for a half mile. There were few parking spots!

I stopped and asked a person near the highway why all of the cars were stopped. Upon hearing the words: “Kid Lost” I quickly returned home for boots, coat, gloves, and a flashlight. Soon I was at the central area for the search parties. I found out the location where “the kid” was last seen and headed for that area. For thirty years, while hunting and fishing, I had walked through those same woods in the daylight. Darkness brings along more difficulties while tramping through a forest. My heart was heavy. I learned that “the kid” was about three years old! The temperature was in the low thirties. A cold night was happening.

“The Kid” had accompanied his Dad and a little hound dog on a rabbit hunting expedition not far from the highway. They had been walking along an old logging road. The dog started chasing a rabbit, His Dad took his eye off his Son for a very short period of time. Soon he realized his Son was missing and was sure he needed help. In a panic he ran to the nearest home, spread the alarm, and hurried back to continue searching.

I was praying that “the kid” would quickly be found. My flashlight started dimming and I knew that very soon I would have to return to the central area for batteries.

Suddenly three very loud shotgun blasts echoed through the cool night air! I had heard the signal that “the lost was found.” I thanked the Lord, hurried back to the central area, and was resting in the darkness—not noticing or recognizing the people around me.

Within a couple of minutes my night vision allowed me to recognize a small group of people walking in my direction. About ten feet from me they stopped, bent over, and reunited “the kid” with his Dad who was sitting on the ground. .

The sounds of a man crying with joy that I witnessed in those moments while standing in the darkness are not in my ability to describe. I was crying with joy as I headed toward my car and home.

The next day I talked with the man that found “the kid.” His group had continued on the logging road.
A few hundred yards from where “the kid” was last seen, he heard a whimpering sound. “The kid” was lying face down and crying only a few yards from the logging road.

To this day, I'm still amazed at how quickly a very small town had about one hundred people joining in those search parties.

Meanwhile back at the church, Sunday School classes ended. I returned to the Church Van. “The Kid” was still smiling but remained sitting in his seat as I returned him to his home. During the next two or three years I gave “the kid” several round trips from his home to Sunday School in the church van and with my family in our auto. We became friends.

For many years I haven't always been happy with kid's behavior but I don't think I ever told any of them to “Go get lost!”

Dale Lincoln of
Perry, Maine
for Skillin's Greenhouses
in Zephyrhills FL
March 7, 2009

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