Outside is a big, beautiful open world…it’s always movin…It’s not because I can’t get out like I want to anymore that I miss it. I’ve always needed to be outside. As soon as I had a choice in the matter, I was out the door. I started walkin when I was nine months old to the day. From then on, my parents couldn’t keep me inside. Momma told me about the first time I escaped. “It was a big snow storm we had at Christmas time. You had just started walkin a few days before… Daddy came in the front door with an arm load of firewood and left the door open for just a minute while he put most of the haul down by the fireplace and added a few more logs to keep the flame high. That was all the time you needed. One minute you were there in the middle of everybody and everything…waddlin around our legs, under everybody’s feet…everybody talkin and singin and Grandma playin Christmas carols on the piano in the parlor…our typical hub-bub of Christmas activity… And the next minute you were gone. Nobody expected you to go missin. Nobody had really even gotten used to you walkin yet! But then Tommy came up to me and pulled on my skirt and said, ‘Momma, have you seen Baby? I’ve been lookin but don’t see her?’ Thank the Lord for your connection with Tommy…you‘ll always were special to each other.
“And, at the same time that Tommy was askin me about you, and I started to look around for you, your always tidy Daddy had stepped back outside onto the porch to shake off his coat. Lordy, to think what might have happened… to think that we might not have found you until the snow melted! The thought of what could have happened makes me feel sick and weak, even still. No body saw you go… nobody was around to stop you. You just made up your mind, and walked right out the open door and off the porch… and you landed in a snow drift that came all the way up to the edge of the porch floor. It was well over three feet deep. Of course you weren’t even close to three feet tall yet, so Daddy had no idea you were even out there. There was no way he could even see the top of your head. All he could see from the light comin through from the inside was the hole that you had made… he didn’t even know what had made the hole at first. When he bent down to look, and saw one of your little hands reachin up through the snow, your calm and collected Daddy lost his control completely. We heard him scream, ‘OH MY HEAVENS!’ His voice seemed to come from a different world. Everybody inside the house heard him, and froze. I knew right away that it had to have somethingto do with you. I started movin toward the porch, but time seemed to have stopped. I felt like I was tryin to move through something solid. I was tryin to think what could make him sound so frightened… wantin to see, but not wantin to see at the same time. My fear was numbing my brain. Then when I got to the porch, your Daddy was movin so fast doin what needed doin that it snapped me back to reality. For a few minutes everything seemed to move in double time.” Momma closed her eyes and a little shudder went all over her body.
When she opened her eyes, she was lookin straight ahead at nothin, but obviously she was seein that scene all over again. “Daddy didn’t know how long you had been in the snow. None of us did. I’ll never forget the look on his face. He was so white with fear that he was almost blue. You scared us all to death! To death. I have never ever been so afraid in my life.
“Daddy scooped you right up and he just kept sayin, ‘It’s alright. It’s alright’. Over and over he said it, but neither of us knew if it was really true. We had no idea if you were gonna to be alright or if you were gonna catch your death of cold. Daddy handed you to me, and I quick stripped off your wet clothes and wrapped you up snug in the thickest blankets I could find. Then I held you tight in my arms by the fire. You were quiet as a mouse and your eyes were as big as saucers. I think seein your Daddy and me so scared had been the only part of the adventure that had bothered you! Little stinker that you were, once we all decided that it seemed like you really were gonna be alright and everybody started talkin about what you had done… when we were all able to speak without so much fear in our voices, you got back to bein yourself too and you just laughed and laughed.” Momma closed her eyes again but this time she smiled with relief … like she was just rememberin that it really did turned out alright.
“You got warm and cozy all wrapped up in my arms, and in no time you had laughed yourself to sleep. Every little while you would get a grin on your sleepin baby face… and let out a little baby chuckle. You thought it was all a grand time. You weren’t scared for yourself at all! You were in hog heaven… you had all of mine and your Daddy’s attention. Daddy sat beside us all night. He didn’t take his eyes off you, or his hand off of my arm. Grandma put everyone else to bed that night, and Granddaddy helped her. You, me and your Daddy were in our own little world that night. Your Daddy just kept sayin, ‘That’s a tough one right there. Thank goodness she has thick skin and a bunch of angels watchin over her. Yes, indeed. That one is tougher than she looks. Thank goodness. Thank God.’ Daddy kept thanking God you were safe…over and over he said ‘Thank You’ …and he looked at you… and every now and then you would wake up and look into his same green eyes as your own… like you were lettin him know that you were alright… and makin sure that he was alright… and he would nod his head at you and smile and you would go back to sleep.”