In the fifties, we would have known everyone on our street, The Smiths, The Jones, The Whozits and The Whatchamacallems. In the year 2005 we are more likely to know the last names of the people on our blogroll than on our street and if you are like us (lord have pity on your soul) then you end up naming them yourselves, The Mormons, The Dog People, The Stonehouse, The Little Farm, The ones with the barky barky dogs, you get the picture.
Today however all those nameless faces came together on this DeadEnd road named after the Creek that winds through it. Around 1:30 my neighbor (The Mormons) knocked on my door. I naturally assumed she was bringing me cookies. I’m pregnant…bring me food. As soon as I saw her face I could tell she had been crying, her four year old had been missing for over twenty minutes and she was stopping by to see if he had show up here (after all we have Thomas the Tank Engine trains). I grabbed my jacket and the phone (luckily the little guy was out walking with his Grandpa) and called my mother-in-law (she lives next door) who immediately began phoning the neighbors.
Just so you know this story ends well.
This is a rural road, ours is one of the few houses actually visible from it. As my mother-in-law began phoning her neighbors of thirty years, I walked down to the StoneHouse to ask if they had seen Little Mormon boy. I’ve never talked to these neighbors before, sometimes I wave but mostly I avoid. They are the closest house to us on the road.
Immediately the two woman stopped wrapping presents, grabbed jackets and joined the growing number of people walking up and down the road. Male neighbors, whom I have never met were wading up and down the high rushing waters of the creek and my heart was in my throat.
As I walked up to the Mormon’s to report in, I saw my father in law, with my son strapped to his back, his two dogs and ours, headed my way. By this time the Mormon Wife was close to hysterics, after checking in with My father-in-law (who immediately (dogs and all) joined in the search) I headed up to the Mormon homestead to sit with their 11 month old so that Mom was free to make phonecalls.
Truthfully, I was convinced they were going to be pulling that baby out of the Creek and I couldn’t handle it. For forty five minutes I sat with the three Mormon children aged 9, 7 and 11 months in their living room, listening to Christmas music. Through the trees I could see my mother in law walking up the road, neighbors cars stopped all along the street and people combing the underbrush and outbuildings around the Mormon’s property.
And then suddenly there he was, being led up the driveway by a stranger none of us knew. He had been hiding in the neighbors garage (she was not home). His mother flew down the driveway still clutching the phone and crying.
My father in law met me at the bottom of the Mormon’s driveway looking exhausted. He had been combing the backroads with my 30+ pound toddler on his back for over and hour. As we walked home, my mother in law joined us. Neighbors dispersed, driving silently away and the sheriff’s deputies radioed in.
Emotionally drained, I felt happy. Happy that the baby was found alive, happy that I was going home to finish up last minute gifts instead of staying to comfort a neighbor. Happy that it wasn’t my son, neighbors had been searching the creek for. Happy that Christmas Eve wasn’t marred by a terrible tragedy. But mostly I was happy with humankind. Happy with the reaction of the people on my road. Happy that even though I couldn’t name many of them after two years of living on this road, my neighbors were the type of people who on Christmas Eve stopped in their rushing about to look for a little lost boy. Happy that this Dead End road, home to the People-who-have-lived-here-forever, The Renters, The ones with the Goat, Crazy Guy and his girlfriend, and the Ones with all those white cars, is where I live.
And I’m proud to call the One’s with the daycare, the Roofer, The ones who are always building on to their house and the Ones with the minature weiner dog named Hercules. My neighbors.