Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Escape

I have been contemplating blogging about Christopher's activities for a long time, and have not taken the time to do so. On Sunday, February 5, 2012, I had an experience with Christopher that I can't help but share. I can laugh about it now, but it was not very funny at the time. 

Our church service had just ended. My wife, Alice, our ward choir director, was on the stand, and I was seated in the wheel chair bench at the back of the chapel with our kids Abbie and Ben seated by my side on the bench, and Christopher parked in his chair next to us. As people began to exit the chapel, Ben told me he was going to his Sunday School class. Abbie, in a panic, said, "Dad, I can't find my other shoe." I looked on the floor, and did not see it. I bent down, and looked under the benche, and worked my way to the middle, and found it on one side of the bench center support. As I victoriously presented Abbie with her missing shoe, I noticed Christopher was not in his parking spot.

I quickly scanned the chapel, and did not see him anywhere. I did not think he could have wheeled out of the chapel so quickly on his own, and thought that Ben must have taken him to Primary. I picked up Abbie's coloring book and coat from the bench, sent her off to her class, and went to find Benjamin and Christopher. They were not in the foyer near the west doors where we usually enter and exit. I walked down the hall and checked Christopher's class room. Some of his class mates were running around the room, but Christopher was not there. I began to feel a little anxious at this point. I quickly walked through the hall to the children's primary room where Christopher loves to listen to the music. He was not there. 

I continued around the hall in our church checking the bathroom as I passed to see if Ben took him there. No sign of him. I went back to the chapel to see if I had missed him in the mass of people. I wondered if he was up on the stand--he likes to wheel up the ramp and play the piano when he can. He was not there. I then nearly ran to Ben's classroom, and found Ben sitting on his chair leaning back against the wall oblivious to the panic welling up within me. I could not imagine that Christopher could have made it outside of the church. We have heavy, double doors blocking the way outside. I resolved to make one more quick pass around the hall and then continue my search outside if I didn't find him. I was now pondering recruiting some help. In a very, very brisk walk, I zigged and zagged around people in the hall and made my way around our church again. I approached the east outside doors, I saw our former Bishop wheeling Christopher down the hall. He informed me that he was outside after our sacrament meeting. He saw Christopher wheeling himself down the sidewalk on the east side of our church. Christopher was joyously screaming. Bishop Holman saw Christopher turn the corner as he intersected the sidewalk along the road. Not seeing any of our family around, Bishop Holman started his pursuit. He saw Christopher appear to stop as he came to the point where the sidewalk crosses the entrance from the street to the church parking lot. With the path clear, Christopher proceeded to propel his wheelchair up the sidewalk, past the corner house to the "S" shaped hill that climbs out of our neighborhood valley.  Christopher was then caught and returned to the confines of our church, and to his father's delinquent care.

Now that Christopher is back safe, I can laugh about his adventure. His ability to accomplish that which he sets his mind to never ceases to amaze me. 

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