Yesterday evening, Sammy & I went and got Joycie and took her out to dinner. There's a Chinese restaurant that we like, that's one of the few remaining not offering a buffet. We really, really like this place, but the thing is, we don't like any of the entrees we've tried there... but we like the appetizers. The crab rangoons are our favorite, and 1 order has 6 large rangoons. The pork and the chicken pot stickers are good (8 to an order), both the steamed and the fried, and the steamed shrimp balls are excellent (6 to an order -- large portions). The 3 of us ordered a total of 6 appetizers for dinner, and couldn't eat it all, then ordered 2 crab rangoons to go... and the bill was only about $30... for 8 large appetizers, that's pretty good.
Stuffed and happy, and way overloaded on soy sauce, we went back to Joycie's. But my daughter was kind of in a mood, or something. She wasn't very nice, and I have to say that I didn't enjoy our visit very much. So Sammy and I left earlier than we had planned, and on the way home we stopped by my sister, Kathy's.
Sammy has decided to run for Student Council Vice President, and to do so, he has had a packet of forms to handle. He had to write up why he believes he will be a good VP, and then he had to get 5 people from the middle school to comment about him, 50 signatures from fellow students and, finally, 2 comments from people outside of the middle school. He got the mom of his friend Zack to comment about him, and he wanted his Aunt Kathy to comment. The rules didn't say anything about no family, so to Aunt Kathy's we went...
We visited there for a short time, and then he and I headed on home. We didn't get very far down the road from Aunt Kathy's when we saw Aunt Janet and Aunt JoAnne riding their bikes. We stopped along the road and visited with them. Sammy was happy to see his 3 aunts, and he told Aunt Janet and Aunt JoAnne about how he is running for VP. During our little roadside visit, Sammy opened up his door and stood up on the edge of the car, looking over the roof to his aunts. It was around 8pm by this time and getting on dusk, so we made it a short visit and booked on home.
Fast forward to 9:12pm. Sammy is getting ready to hit the hay, with instructions to do so with lights out by 9:20pm (because he's been sick, fighting a cold &/or allergies). I had threatened him with being grounded from the computer for the weekend if he's not in bed, lights out by 9:20pm... because the previous night, I told him in bed, lights out by 9:30pm, and even though I started nagging him at 9:15pm, it was past 10pm before he was actually in bed.
So anyway, Sammy rushes up to me, clearly upset... Big Time. Turns out, during our roadside visit, he had his packet of papers for the VP thing in his hands and had laid it down on the roof of the car. The papers had to be turned in today in order for him to be able to run for VP. He cannot find them, and he thinks he may have left them on the roof of the car. The. Roof. Of. The. Car.
He spent all week working on that packet. And he left it on the roof of the car. Such a dumb thing for a smart boy to do. Boys. (Yes, I did say that.)
So I threw on a shirt over my nightgown, pulled on some jeans and off we went. Of course, full on dark by now, and we're almost back to the spot of our roadside visit when Sammy said that we probably should have brought a flashlight. This is a country road, paved, but with woods next to the road. I told him that it will be a miracle if his paper is still there or anywhere near there and not damaged, like from a car running over it. Sam is very silent.
We get to the spot, and there on the side of the road, just off the pavement, fully entact and just fine is his packet of papers. Lucky kid.
On the way back home, driving down our dirt road, which is usually very dark, even when there's a full moon & a clear sky, because it's lined with thick woods on both sides, I see what looks like a person walking along the side of the road. As I got closer, I realize it is a young girl, a teenager, in bluejeans and a small black teeshirt. It's not only pitch dark out, but it's pretty dang cold by this time. Not teeshirt temperature. I stop the car and put the window down... I asked her if she was ok, and she said, "No."
She didn't know for sure where she was because she had walked through the woods to our property and came out to our road from our driveway. She had started out near her house 2 miles away, as the crow flies, about 4 hours earlier. She and a friend, a 17-year-old boy, had went out into the woods for a walk and had gotten lost. Then she said her friend (she called him her "buddy") had decided they should split up... I did not understand that part, but I think it was probably something like she wanted to go in one direction and he thought the way home was a different direction. Very, very dumb to split up, though. Breaking the No. 1 rule when you're lost. I think they decided to split up when it wasn't yet dark, though.
This teenage girl had walked through woods in the dark, a woods that's filled with swamps, bugs, snakes, and critters of all kinds, including coyotes and very likely bears. Yes, bears. Not a lot, mind you, but we definitely have a few black bears in our area. There are also reported to be cougars, as well, and bobcats. Thick, dark, scary woods. She said she was freaking out, but she seemed amazingly in control of herself. She (I never learned her name) was dirty and tired, exhausted, really, and very worried about her friend.
I turned on the interior lights of our car so she could see us, and told her to hop in the back & that I would drive her home. I offered her my cell phone to call home, but she didn't want to use it. (And she said she would never go anywhere again without taking hers with her...)
By this time, it was about 9:45pm. When I turned onto the gravel road she lives on, we saw headlights coming at us, and when they started to get closer, she said, "I think that's my mom." So I stopped the car, and the vehicle drove past us, but slowed... when she got out of the back seat, the SUV stopped... it was probably 2 or 3 car lengths past me. The girl thanked me, and then called to her mom.
Sounds carry better in the night air, but I don't really think that's why I could hear her mother so well... Her mom yelled her name (which I didn't catch) and then yelled something along the following lines, "Is that you? Where the HELL have you been? Do you know what time it is? Get your mother-fucking ass in this car." That last part was verbatim. Sammy's eyes got big when he heard that part, but I sat there feeling awful for that mom. Moms reading this know what that poor woman was going through... she had been seriously worried sick, and when she saw her daughter, great relief was quickly replaced by great and terrible anger. It's not that uncommon of a reaction. Nor is the use of swear words and the volume with which they were uttered. My guess is they were both bawling before she got that SUV turned around and back in their driveway.
What a night. Driving back home, Sammy looked at me and said, "see, Mom, I was meant to lose that packet so we could save her." Smart boy, that one.
And I can't quit thinking about her friend, the lost boy... thinking = worrying, of course. I wonder if he ended up spending the night in the woods. You can walk for miles and miles and miles back there and not run across a road or house or anything, especially if you walk in circles, which is easy to do when you run into swamps and have to try to find a way around them. That woods is thick. I know, because many years ago, I was riding my horse, Candy, out in the woods, bareback as usual. Candy was old and fat and fun to ride bareback, especially while slowly picking our way through the woods. She enjoyed it, too, but she also liked to try and rub you off her back using a tree every once in a while. Just for fun, I think. She succeeded on that day, and by the time I caught back up with her, I was totally turned around. I ended up leading her and riding her on and off through the woods, ultimately going in the wrong direction, for hours until I came out to a road. Thankfully, our little adventure started before noon, and it was summertime... so by the time Candy and I got back home about 7:00pm or so, it was still daylight. This was before the time of cell phones, probably about 1986 or 1987... and Kevin was worried out of his gourd. He didn't yell at me, though, just hugged me. Hard.
I thought my experience was dreadful, but I had company in Candy, and I could ride her through some of the yukkiest swamps, and it was summer, so I wasn't cold, and it was daylight... I ended up about where that girl started...
Last night was cloudy in our area, and the moon phase is a waxing crescent... so when I say it was dark out, it was very, very dark. I cannot imagine going through those woods all alone in that dark and cold.
And oh, yeah, Sammy is definitely grounded from the computer this weekend since he missed his 9:20pm bed deadline by quite a lot. Saving a damsel in distress not withstanding. Just in case you were wondering.