Sun, Feb 25, 2018 03:50 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-15 communities
Lost in my own home town
Guest column
by Mylinda Johnson | Contributing columnist

There I was, on the corner of Main and College streets in Paintsville, Kentucky — and I was LOST! Truly lost, but I was raised here. I have walked the streets of Paintsville every year at the Apple Festival! How could I possibly be lost? This is how it happened.

It was a cool and breezy fall day in the (I want to say hundred acre woods but...I am not Christopher Robin!) lovely little town of Paintsville. My family and I were visiting the annual Apple Festival, which, I might add had, or at least seemed to have, more excitement than I have ever seen on these streets at one time! The skies were clear and people seemed to permeate from the woodwork! There were so many strange faces in the crowd that I had to wonder if I was not in Kansas with Dorothy and Toto.

The crowd was overwhelming as I searched for a familiar face other than my family members -— all the while also watching my children and my husband so that the children did not stray from us. It is a nerve-wrecking spectacle to attempt to keep up with three vibrant children in the middle of a crowd that large! I looked in all directions of my little hometown for what seemed like an eternity before I finally saw a non-related, recognizable person.

Finally, my dear friend Chris grabbed my arm to get my attention and to say hello, so I stopped to talk to her for a minute. Mind you, I could never not stop to talk. My husband and children walked on. This is the part where I got lost. After playing catchup for a brief period with Chris, I began looking for my family. I looked high. I looked low, but I could not find them! Oh no!

It was a very frightening experience being lost in the middle of a mob. I visited all the crafters (for the third time that day) in search of my four most important people. No one had seen them; granted, many of the crafters were from Knoxville, Tenn., Ohio, and other surrounding states, and therefore would never know my beautiful family.

I felt as though I were six or seven and my mom and dad had just disappeared in the crowd. I wanted to sit down in the middle of all those people and just boo hoo! Imagine how a small child would feel if he or she were lost in such an unpleasant incident. My fears were ultimately that with just my husband to watch the three of our children, one of them would get lost and possibly kidnapped. Mind you, I joke about them being little ingrates — well, mostly joke — but if something happened to those little guys I would be devastated! My world would come to a screeching halt and I would once again feel as though I were in the middle of a crowd of strangers with no one to help fill the void in my heart. Enough of that talk — I am not that sappy.

My point is this: If I, a grown woman —mother, wife, daughter, professional and contributing columnist — could get lost in my little home town during the Apple Festival, than anyone can! Especially a child! Those little critters are fearless, vibrant, and smart, but they do not have a clue as to what could happen to them in this world. We as parents have no choice but to serve constant watch on our children — and the neighbor's children! After all, it takes a village to raise a child!

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