Saturday, August 7, 2010

One Sunday Afternoon

I still remember the day, it was a bright sunny Sunday afternoon when we went to visit the local relatives. We were picnicking, talking when my brother-in-law started giving line dancing lessons on the backyard patio. Always wanting to learn this type of dance, I joined in the fun. Peter, at the young age of maybe four or five, was entertaining himself by running out the back door circling the ranch style house to open the front door, run through the kitchen and again run out the back door. This form of entertainment was keeping Peter well occupied as the afternoon progressed, and I believing he was safe began to learn the fine art of line dancing. We danced and Peter circled through about every 30 - 45 seconds, slamming the doors and have big time fun as far as he was concerned.
Laughing and dancing away, I noticed that I had not seen Peter circle in the last few minutes, so I broke away to do a check, thinking he was most likely in a bathroom, had found another door, or joined the rest of the children in the basement. Looking in the bathrooms, closets, and any orifice that had a door, I could not find Peter, so I called on the kids and cousins to help me look and asked the dancers if they had seen Peter, Shortly, all twenty of us were searching the house again, and slowly spreading into the neighborhood. No Peter could be found. Where could he have gone?
Concern raising, we broke up into groups, some in cars, some on bikes, some walking, all of us going in different directions. We looked in yards, and at the nearby school with the wide array of playground equipment, we searched and searched. When we stopped and asked the local neighbors, some out washing their cars, others doing yard work, they also joined in search, giving up the their Sunday activities. We walked, we circled, we called, we checked any swimming pools, and the longer we could not find Peter, the more my heart was sinking. Could this be the time we would not find him, or would he be hurt when we did, did someone take him?
I still remember hearing sirens in a distance and thinking that this is where we would find Peter. Thinking he had escaped to a busy road several blocks away, I maintained a calm demeanor, quietly praying, and continuing the search. By this time, the police were involved, three or four cars, so as we were walking we would see them circling.
It seemed like an eternity, and it was well over an hour, maybe two when we got the word from the police department. The police had enlisted the help of young boys on bikes and when these boys noticed a little boy swinging away on a swing set located in a backyard, they went up to the door and asked the owner if they knew him. Nope, not their child, so they called the police.
Finding Peter, he was just sitting and swinging. Was he all excited to see..not really...he was swinging. Was he afraid? No, he showed no sign on any anxiety, no comprehension that he has caused any commotion. He was just swinging. Did he understand that by now about forty people were now involved in the search and as every second passed, the enormity of the situation was weighing heavily on our hearts. How he walked blocks and blocks away without being seen, how he did not get hit by a car on his way, why he stopped where he did...nothing short of a miracle. And there he sat, swinging, just swinging, almost bothered that we had stopped the motion and he had to come with us.
This was just one more day in the life of Peter Labanowsky. It was as if he walked with this invisible wall around him, a wall that protected him, this wall seemed to encompass Peter in many experiences, this one a bit more harrowing than the others.
We went home, Peter as if nothing was array. We counting our blessings and thinking how we can never, and I mean never leave him out of our site! Thinking maybe we should be the first in the neighborhood to put up that forbidden fence, everyone hugging Peter, and he wondering "what is the big deal?"

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