Happy and sad end­ings

The Compass - - OPINION -

There was a won­der­fully heart-warm­ing, and true story, which came out of the deep south of Amer­ica a few years back.

We don’t re­mem­ber all the de­tails, but some­times the moral of a story can pack a greater punch than the nar­ra­tive it­self.

Suf­fice it to say the yarn was about a boy who swam for sev­eral miles through the al­li­ga­tor-in­fested wa­ters of a river. He also lived to tell the tale, as the old say­ing goes, “with not a feather out of him.”

That touch­ing story of sur­vival was brought much closer to home last week when a young five-year-old girl in the Trin­ity South town of Heart’s De­light-is­ling­ton made a per­ilous trek from a house to the town hall.

While her jour­ney may have been only half a kilome­tre in length, let’s not for­get, it was over some rough ter­rain cov­ered in snow and ice. If that weren’t enough, she also man­aged to cross a swollen stream, whose banks were lined with thorn bushes. It’s be­lieved the cur­rent may have car­ried her along be­fore mak­ing it safely to the other side. Then she crossed a main high­way be­fore fi­nally reach­ing the safe haven of the town hall, com­plete with am­bu­lance at­ten­dants and a public health nurse.

Did we men­tion the girl had noth­ing on her feet and the tem­per­a­ture was be­low zero?

Ex­cept for some blis­ter­ing, the young girl is none the worse for ware.

Con­sid­er­ing the dan­gers at ev­ery turn for such a small per­son, peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing her fa­ther, have de­scribed the girl’s sur­vival as a “mir­a­cle.”

It’s a word of­ten uses to de­scribe events that are oth­er­wise in­ex­pli­ca­ble, es­pe­cially those with pos­i­tive out­comes.

The Dash­board Dic­tionary de­fines a mir­a­cle as, “a sur­pris­ing and wel­com­ing event that is not ex­pli­ca­ble by nat­u­ral sci­en­tific laws, and is there­fore con­sid­ered to be the work of a divine agency.”

As peo­ple of faith, her fam­ily be­lieves the work of some divine agency in­ter­vened that day to de­liver their pre­cious daugh­ter safely into their arms.

Af­ter re­trac­ing his daugh­ter’s foot­steps, her fa­ther felt “it was a mir­a­cle she got through the river.”

If you could only see her tiny foot­prints in that snow, you too would agree. She may have been pe­tite. But help­less? Hardly! What chil­dren are ca­pa­ble of do­ing and how far they can some­times go when de­ter­mined enough to find the safety and com­fort of the arms of their par­ents never ceases to amaze us.

Just how de­ter­mined are this lit­tle peo­ple? How re­silient! How hardy can they be at all!

The story of the boy in Amer­ica’s deep south sur­viv­ing his swim through al­li­ga­tor-in­fested wa­ters and that of the bare­foot young girl in Trin­ity South sur­viv­ing the per­ils of a frosty Fe­bru­ary day in New­found­land are strik­ingly sim­i­lar.

In the case of the lat­ter, we were happy to re­port its happy end­ing. But not all such sto­ries have such happy end­ings. We are re­minded of the re­cent story of a 14- year- old Labrador boy, whose life­less body was found 19 kilo­me­tres from his snow­mo­bile, more than three days af­ter leav­ing his home in Makkovik. Bur­ton Win­ters’ de­ter­mi­na­tion, des­per­a­tion and fu­tile ef­forts to make it home cap­tured the hearts of a prov­ince and na­tion.

Those of us in the me­dia racket get to tell you all of these sto­ries, the happy and the sad — al­ways wish­ing we could write end­ings as happy as the one we penned this week.

— Bill Bow­man, The Com­pass

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