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Friday, August 16, 2013

On a Good Day...

Aloha,

Have you noticed there’s a lot of bad stuff going on – or going wrong – with the world?

This week alone, a nationally known politician was sentenced to 2.5 years for skimming campaign funds.

Overseas, Egypt is going to hell in a hand basket, and who knows what’s going to happen there?

And, in general, I don’t know my neighbors the way I knew my neighbors as a kid.

Why is that?
I don’t have any answers, except to suggest we should all consider paying it forward instead of looking back.
At least we'd be heading in the right direction…

But, let me tell you three good things that happened to me this week. (As I wrote this post, a fourth happened, but that's for Monday:)

Sat in a McDonald’s the other day, struggling with a certain scene, I looked up from my laptop in real frustration. In my direct line of sight was a father and his son (?) doing a Bible study.
In a McDonald’s. At 9 a.m. On a Wednesday.
It was awesome to witness and it absolutely gave me a shot of positive thinking to where I figured how to get my annoying MC to the end of the chapter. (She won’t listen to me…it's so bothersome...)

###

My wife, a U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. is in Rhode Island for three weeks, so SuperGrandma is in town to keep me sane, (which is in itself a good thing.) Hearing that my wife reconnected with a friend at the course is awesome news. Knowing the two women can socialize and share their downtime is a big relief - now that I know she's not "alone."

###
And, finally, I didn’t officially misplace my son...
No. 3 Son, nineteen months old, thinks he is six (or at least three) and wants to do everything like his two older brothers.

This past Sunday, he finally conquered the kid’s playground at the Honolulu Zoo.

I was delighted for him, especially when I saw him come off the slide, waddle around to the steps, climb, slide again (and again... repeat to infinity and beyond.)

So, I took a picture and sent it to my wife via smart phone. This is the picture:

It took about 45-60 seconds to upload and send with a quick note. When I looked up, I expected No. 3 Son to be back on the slide.
No Son. Empty slide.

I leaned to the left.

No Son on steps.

Okkkk…

I circled the (very) small play area.

No Son…

My inner Freakoutometer automatically kicked in as my writer’s imagination sent various scenarios to the front lines.

I walked to the busy main playground (100 feet away). SuperGrandma had No. 2 Son, and No. 1 Son was busy with his new friends.
No waddling little boy in lime green Hawaiian shirt/shorts combo…

The Freakoutometer moved to DEFCON-2…
After the third complete revolution around the playground, I noticed several parents sat up to watch me - my facial expression would have worried me, too.

The Freakoutometer clicked to DEFCON-3…
And, then from over my left shoulder I felt something. I whipped around, and about 100 yards away was afore-mentioned No. 3 Son (now since grounded until he’s, mwahhh, say 35.)

Comfortable in the arms of a young man (late teens), the mini-Houdini waved as if to say, “Boy, did I have an adventure, Papa”

Meanwhile, the Freakoutometer switched over to BlabberMode in preparation of its non-essential shutdown.
I thanked the young man and his friend – a lot – and they explained how they found Little Ninja wandering around the corner.
I shook their hands, thanked them – again – and mentioned that they have done me a great service on a good day.

###

But what's this got to do with writing, Uncle Mark?

Well, the next time I'm doing a horror or terror scene, I'll be able to pull from personal experience :)

One final thought: Smart phones may be smart, but I’m not sure about the people (ME) using them.

Remember, kids: Parents don’t let parents email cute pictures – until later :)
###
PS... This is "On a Good Day" by Above & Beyond.
The English dance music group held a 2009 competition for fans to see who could create the best music video for their next OceanLab single.
The winning video by Ashley Tritton is amazing, and if the homeless are in any way important in your life, you'll appreciate this anytime, but definitely on a good day :)

 



 

29 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad he was all right! And I bet he had no idea he'd caused a nuclear meltdown in your head. He was a bad boy and he acted as if he didn't even care...
And a Bible study in a McDonald's - that is awesome.

Miranda Hardy said...

So happy he was found and your sanity remains intact. I'm all for paying it forward, and often do. Wish everyone would take time to appreciate what they have and offer help, even in small increments.

Donna K. Weaver said...

"we should all consider paying it forward instead of looking back." That is so quotable, Mark. I love it. This totally falls in line with the post Konstanz Silverbow did this week.

I'm happy you found your son and that the people who were there weren't pervs. You must have been easy to spot with your look of panic.

If there's any consolation, Mary and Joseph lost Jesus and didn't notice for a day. Now, there was panic mode!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

So glad that he was alright Mark! And I totally agree about the paying it forward...it makes the world go round :)

M.J. Fifield said...

My sister works as a nanny, and one day one of her young charges went on an adventure, too. Her reaction sounded a lot like yours. Even grounding him until he's 35...Glad everyone was safe.

And I find it bothersome as well when my characters won't listen to me. I've explained this to them, but they do not seem to care that much. Happy writing...

Trisha F said...

I don't have kids so I can't REALLY imagine, but I can sort of imagine that sick, 'dropping stomach' feeling you must get at moments like that! Glad your son was found by those good samaritans :)

Suzi said...

We had a little mishap this week like yours, but my freakoutmeter didn't rise as high as yours, but I think my friend's did.

My daughter 6, and her friend 7 decided to take our dog for a walk 'around the block', with permission. But they did not go 'around the block'.

They went around the pond, which said 6 year old is not allowed to venture alone. (No drowning worries, it's just too far away for her age.) And it's like 4 blocks away.

So they stopped at the park, brought the dog down the slide--which apparently she did not enjoy.

Then they let the dog swim in the pond, which she does enjoy.

Then they proceeded to walk around the pond, now heading back towards home, which is where I found them.

Then she tried to convince me that 'around the pond' is 'around the block'. I knew that she knew it wasn't though, she was just trying to save her butt.

Btw: that's pretty cool you wife is a Lt. commander in the Navy.

joeh said...

Now I'll have to tell the story of when my son did that to me. We lost him in the house!!

DEFCON-3 is not fun.

Suzanne Furness said...

Worst nightmare when they wander off, glad you found him safe and sound.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark ... well thank goodness he's safe - number three .. what a terricon moment and I bet he thought he was the bees knees and so full of himself ... you wonder where they get the speed from at that young, when we're so slow as we get older!!!!

Glad all's well .. no wonder your wife sent SuperGran to check on things!!! Hilary

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Thank heavens for the young man who found him and brought him back to find you!

Melanie Schulz said...

I have a three year old son who is just like that- has given me serious palpatations more than once.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Glad your son was safe and sound with those two young men. You must have been terrified, Mark.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I can totally relate to that heart-stopping, cold sweat-inducing moment - it's happened to me twice. I will never forget how it feels. So glad your little man was safe and well!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Maybe he was looking for Mini-ninja Alex. Glad he's okay and this happened in Rachel Schieffelbein's novella Second Chances. The female M.C. had a total meltdown until she found her little sister soaked in from falling into a fountain. That Bible Study would've cheered me up too and no matter how bad things get we have to remember the good while being prepared for any type of sudden social/political apocalypse. So far I've...read a lot of dystopia so I need to get better prepared. Anyway enjoy your weekend and nice that your wife has someone to socialize with while she's away.

Melissa said...

They're quick, aren't they?
And we were worried about texting and driving... *shakes head*

Hang in there, Mark. :)

Mark Means said...

Well, Marvin, the way I see it is that, yes, there's a lot of bad in the world but I believe there is always a "balance" out there. We may not always -see- this balance, but it's out there.

I like your pay it forward attitude and hope it's catchy!

Speaking of 'catchy', glad you caught No.3 son :)

Have a great weekend.

Julie Luek said...

Oh Mark, I hate that panic parental mode. I lost my daughter once in a grocery store and convinced myself that one of the hunter-men in camo that frequent our town in fall had snatched her. She'd just wandered off of course, but I was sick about it!

You son sure is a cutie patootie. Nice of you to send a pic to your wife. I'm sure this is hard for her.

mshatch said...

omg that must've been so scary. My son is all grown up now but I remember when he was small and always watching him like a hawk, always worrying.

J.L. Murphey said...

With all the bad stuff that could have happened this was a bright,shinning moment of human kindness. Glad your son is okay. Of the trials of being a father. Just wait until they turn into teenagers, a whole new experience in DEFCON. lol

As far as writing goes...that which doesn't kill us with a heart attack is grist for the writing mill. You have a whole new set of emotions to put into your writing.

Cally Jackson said...

Ack. I can only imagine the terror that would have induced. So glad he was safe and sound! Thanks for your comments on my blog recently. I haven't been called a dude-ette for a long time! :-)

Al Diaz said...

I think I can imagine the experience but I know I'm not nearly close to what you felt. Bad No. 3 son... or bad mALk for playing with smart phones when in duty, hahaha. Good he is okay.

Thanks for the song! It made me laugh to remember those years. :)

klahanie said...

Greetings Mark,

I can very much relate to your, "Freakoutometer". Even though my son is now in his twenties, I still get those moments of panic when I'm not sure of his whereabouts.

Smart phones, or mobile phones aka cell phones, have brought with them a whole new kind of rudeness. Somebody allegedly visits me and then spends their entire time on their not so smart phone.

Time to find a clone....

Gary

Morgan said...

Oh my gosh... I swear those are THE WORST moments in life... (that and when a child is choking/gagging on something...)

I'm so sorry for that awful moment! And it happens in a SECOND...

And love the McDonald's story! (Free Wifi! Yaaay) And isn't it the truth with not knowing our neighbors the same way???? It's strange... I miss the simplicity of what it was like back then. (I don't know if it's the technology aspect or just being a naive child or both, but there was magic back then and I miss it)

:D

Green Monkey said...

you wrote that really well Mark ... I sat up straight, with pinched brows when reading. what a handsome fellow by the way - love his smile!

Debra McKellan said...

lol Second "missing child in a park" PSA I've seen since Saturday. I was at a Filipino-American Fiesta, and they casually said during a break that the drummer's daughter was missing. They found her, but it was as funny as it was a little scary.

Glad some kids brought him back to you. :)

Nicole said...

Whew, that would be quite the scare. Glad it ended up in the "Good News" category instead. :)

Julie Musil said...

Mark, I can totally relate to the missing kid! One of my sons escaped me twice. Once when he was about 2, at a campground. Another when he was about 3, at Universal Studios. Universal Studios!

And when the world is turning upside down, it's important to focus on what's going right!!

Sakib Khan said...

Nice blog Mark it perked me up...

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