15 October 2009

Nate Plays a Joke - from Alysia Brogdon (Nate's Sister)

Back in the early to mid 1980’s there was a rash of horrific kidnappings. It seemed like every other day some child was snatched off the street. An innocent would be taken right out from under the watchful eyes of some mother or father and never be seen again. It was during this time that my parents, Al and Marie took in a couple of my cousins to come live with us. They were having some problems at home with my aunt and uncle in another state and my parents offered to give them some stability by having them come to live with us. The cousins were around 10 and 12. I was about 15, Larissa was 19 and Nate was about 7. He was a little darling, (read: hell on wheels) and I was his Great Tormentor, but that is another story. One Easter Sunday after church the group of us went to the mall. We might have also gone to Olan Mills to have the obligatory annual Family Portrait made or maybe that was a different day. However, I remember being at the mall, everyone kind of wandering in their own direction. I had not yet learned the joys of shopping, and having to be in public with my family made me even more unpleasant than usual (I WAS 15 after all). I am most likely the one to have been in charge of keeping an eye on Nate. And I was probably doing so in a most lackadaisical way. Suddenly I realized he was not in sight. I looked around for him in the women’s dress store we were in and could find him no where. I alerted my parents who instantly went into Parent Panic Mode. We spread out…mom, dad, myself, Larissa and Manuel and Roy the 2 cousins. We ran through the mall, we called for him, we checked stores we had just left, we checked toy stores. My dad alerted security. Things were getting serious. The checkout ladies were on the look out. I was starting to hyperventilate. We regrouped inside the store where I had originally lost track of him. Hours went by (in reality in was only about 10 minutes). And then…what do we hear from inside a clothes rack? Is it…? YES! It is a laugh! A giggle, a snort! Rushing to the rack we tore aside the clothes and there, crouched down and trying to smother his glee, is Nate. The relief that washed over us was palpable. I best end the narrative here. Suffice to say back in those days it was still ok to spank your child in public and I am pretty sure my mom gave poor Nate a pretty good whack for his “joke”. Thankfully it was not such a whack as to knock the funny out of him. He may have learned the difference between appropriate practical jokes and the not so hilarious ones, but it certainly did nothing to rein in his spirit, sense of fun and love of silly. And I learned that in an instant a loved one can be gone, perhaps forever. Best not to take anything, anyone or any moment for granted.

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