General Non-Fiction posted July 3, 2022

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My Harrowing experience 853 words

I Lost My Son!

by Shirley McLain

Nothing is more horrifying to a mother than losing her child. I became that horrified mother one summer morning in 1970. The light of my world, my son, Allan, was two and a half years old. He was all boy. He began walking at seven months, and not long after began to climb.

Our home was in Vernon, Texas, but I was in Oklahoma visiting my family. My family home is five miles from 270 Highway, north of a community called Cabiness, fifteen miles west of McAlester.

Mom and Dad built a house on the spot where mother's maternal grandparents lived until they passed. The house burned, but the land meant something to Mom. A tall pine tree stood at the end of the driveway, which Mama helped her grandfather plant when she was six years old. Each of Mama's grandchildren knew the story about her tree. It is still a family treasure.

In front of the house is an open field. To the left of that field is a stand of red oak trees with lots of boulders and a dry cistern from a previous cabin torn down many years ago.

My son and I woke up to a beautiful day. I had to get my belongings together for our return trip back to Texas the next morning.

Mom and Dad went to work, so I was home alone with my son. Allan thought he could do anything and go anywhere on that mountain by the age of two. My father made sure Allan knew all about feeding cows and growing and cutting hay. My son was my father's mini-me. Whatever Dad did, Allan had to help. If Daddy left the house, Allan went with his Papa.

My Uncle Charles lived a mile down the road in his mom and dad's house. Charles raised cattle and horses on the land once owned by his maternal grandparents. Since daddy helped my uncle take care of the livestock, Allan thought he also cared for them.

My son didn't talk. To Allan, horses were "whoa," and cows were "moos." For some reason, known only to my son, everything was known by the sound they made.

As I got things together, Allan climbed onto the couch with a book and began reading. I couldn't understand what he said, but he was doing a great job turning the pages. I went to the back bedroom to gather our dirty clothes out of the closet and take them to the washer. I could still hear Allan reading to himself.
I took the clothes to the laundry room at the back of the attached garage and started the load. When I returned to the kitchen, I didn't hear my son reading anymore. My first thought was maybe he had gone to sleep. That would be wonderful.

I stuck my head around the door frame, expecting to see my son asleep on the couch. He wasn't on the couch. He wasn't even in the living room.

I began calling his name and searching the house. He wasn't inside. My anxiety was growing by leaps and bounds. I was a nineteen-year-old mother who lost her little boy.

The wind blew high from the west that day, making hearing difficult. I looked around the house and in the garden, because Allan loved working in the garden with his Papa. I couldn't find him. My anxiety quickly rose to terror status.

I thought I heard a faint cry, but I wasn't sure because of the high winds. Looking out across the flat field, I knew Allan was either in the hog pasture or lying down in the hay grazer in front of the house.

The only transportation available was what we called the "big truck." It was used to haul cattle to the vet or stockyards. I had never been behind the wheel of that monstrosity, but I knew I needed help.

My uncle and his hired hand were in the process of feeding. I hopped in that big truck, fired the engine, and finally found the reverse gear, so I could back out of the yard and get to Charles's house.

I think I drove that mile in first gear. I had never driven a stick on the floor, transmission before.
Charles and Henry were about to pull out with a second load of feed when I arrived. After explaining the situation of thinking, I could hear crying, but couldn't determine where it was coming from. The two took off for the hog pasture, which is the land between our house and Charles's place. I drove that blasted truck back to the house and anxiously waited for news about my son.

I could hear Charles and Henry calling for Allan as they walked the pasture. I spent my time praying and crying for the safety of my son.

After what seemed like hours, Charles walked into the house carrying Allan. I didn't know whether to kiss Allan or whip his butt. I took him out of Charles's arms, held him close, and cried. Thankful he was found safe.


A Harrowing Experience contest entry

This taught me I couldn't trust my son to stay put. He managed to open the storm door on the front.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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