She was trying her best to keep up with the Lady.
The lady walked very briskly beside her talking all the while, her bright yellow skirt seeming to reflect the summer sun as her white pumps glided effortlesssly across the gray pavement. She was speaking about things that the child could understand, things that would keep her attention away from the sound of the big cars and the squeeking of brakes and whir of their tires as they passed in front and behind . Little legs moving, head bent over the handlebars, bright yellow fabric blocking out the city street, and a melodious voice talking about things that she could understand.
She was delighted to talk with the lady, no adult ever seemed this interested in her four year old jibber jabber, not even her beloved Gramma, who loved to hold and rock her while singing and humming softly into her ear.
So entranced in her conversation with the lady, she barely noticed when they had reached the sidewalk. The toddler awkwardly dismounted the trike as it swifly disappeared up into the grasp of the lady...She looked up then, as she placed her little hand trustingly into the bigger hand, she had never seen such a pretty lady before...not even her mama with her skin of ivory and raven black hair, could compare with the beauty of the alabaster skinned lady, with hair that sat high upon her head in keeping with the 'beehive' style of the day. Her hair looked like the golden white hair of the angel that sat upon the tree at Christmas time!
They continued hand in hand down the city sidewalk as the lady asked, just like she had along the last block, if this was the house? "No," would come the reply as they stopped at each one. Until of course they came to the yellow house with large white trimmed windows, this house was bigger than most of the rest. White concrete stairs nestled between two white banisters lead up to white painted floorboards that belonged to a long covered porch that any little girl could appreciate spending many hours of play on. She imagined even now, sitting amidst her dolls and their scattered clothing, while she brushed their hair and sang to them.
"Alright then", if you are sure this is the house." said the lady in her sing-song voice, as she approached the white framed glass door with it's shiny brass house numbers that hung just above,
But as the lady pressed the doorbell and the chimes rang and echoed within; the little girl cupped her hands, and placing her forhead on them, looked through the window to the foyer just beyond. The house was beautiful both inside and out. She noted the hanging geranium much like the one her grandma also kept hanging from the porch. Suddenly, the little girl felt embarrassed and ashamed, she had lied to the beautiful lady! This was not her house at all. With her childish imagination she just wanted to believe, if even for a moment, that it was.
The lady seemed to understand how the little girl felt, and the little girl was relieved to know that the lady was not angry with her for decieving...only disappointed. And although the lady seemed to have known that it was not the house all along, she still bothered to play along with the child, as though she knew she would feel ashamed at the deception, and end up telling her the truth very quickly. The crest-fallen look upon the child's face made the lady's heart melt. It was good that the child felt so badly about lying. But she also understood the nature of the human spirit, even at that young age.
They continued hand in hand along the city block and crossed another street. This street was much narrrower and shaded compared to the last one. The little girl knew it was still much different than the street she lived on with it's uneven sidewalks broken apart by the roots of the big trees over the years, and the dirty yards where grass would not grow because of the darkness from the old trees. The two story wood and shingle sided houses on her block were also much older than these modern bungalos along this street. The porches here had nicely manicured shrubbery in front of them, with flower boxes neatly hung from or sitting atop of glistening painted porch railings, not anything like the houses with their crooked porches and paint chipping from weathered railings and banisters where she lived with her Mama and Gramma, and three half siblings. No, these did not look anything like the house that she lived in.
As they neared the end of the block, the shade gave way to the hot pavement of the sun-brightened sidewalks; and the lady once again sat the little red tricycle down for the little girl to sit upon. But just as the toddler placed her foot on the pedal, a big black and white police car quickly pulled over close to the curb. The car barely stopped before the door swung open and Mama leaped out of the car. Mama was speaking very fast, the little girl could barely understand a word as she focused her eyes on the big policeman who sat in the drivers seat. She could understand that she was in trouble as she could not seem to tear her eyes from the gun that sat holstered at the officer's side. A gun just like the one she saw when the police had to be called when their german shephard went crazy with distemper and kept growling at everyone outside on the sidewalk in front of their porch one day. Grandma made her stay inside with her and held her trembling body close as she rocked and whispered Shh..shh..into the child's ear as the loud popping sound filled her senses making her so afraid!
Mama scooped her up and gently placed her upon her lap in the passenger's seat of the police car while the officer with the gun holstered to his hip put the tricycle in the trunk of the car. It was only then that the little girl remembered the lady in yellow, but as she turned with her little finger pointing towards the busy intersection where she had last stood, there was no lady standing there. Mama held her tightly as she fixed her eyes once again on the sunny sidewalk that was slowly becoming more distant, the child was sure she had caught one last glimpse of the beautiful lady with her beehive hairdo and bright yellow dress waving goodbye to her as the policeman continued to drive away.
Tired from the day's adventure, the little girl soon fell asleep and was not even aware when the officer parked the police car in front of the old two story gray shingled house with it's crooked porch where a single geranium hung.
In front of the house on 9th street, a group of concerned neighbors and family members gathered. They had all been looking throughout the city neighborhood for the little girl who had vanished from the fenced backyard when a neighbor child had left it unlocked to run home next door when her mother called her for lunch.
Imagine their reaction when they all learned that the child had managed (somehow) to cross 10th Avenue, the busiest city street and was found several blocks over, and about to cross yet another very busy street!
This is a true story. Although certain details have been embellished somewhat , since it was experienced by a four year old me.
By Lisa Stager
This post is dedicated to another little four year old, who has caught the attention of people all around the country recently. My heart goes out to his mama and family. I can only pray that, like me he was holding the hand of his guardian angel as she shielded him from all fear and pain as she took him to be with Jesus instead of back into the arms of his mama.
Link to this story here:http://www.whptv.com/content/OMG/story/Body-of-missing-4-year-old-boy-found-under-his/w-JMAoDmYUeFsURO7-saHA.cspx
And with this busy holiday upon us, please be careful to keep a sharp eye on your little ones, as they can wander off so quickly.
Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!