May 14, 2015, Chino Valley- I spent today supervising graduating high school seniors, who chose not to join their Class Trip to Orange County, but were in school to do- nothing. Their tests finished, their year’s work accomplished, the kids sat and quietly either socialized or played cards, while I read more about building a natural diet, in a largely ersatz economy. There was to be a semi-instructional video shown, but it was not at the school. The saving grace was that their parents could rest assured that they were in a safe environment.
Anyone who has raised teenagers knows the feeling, that these people who look like adults and, in the best of circumstances, carry themselves as adults, are still our babies. I was as likely to fret over our son when he was in high school, or for that matter, when he was in college, as I was when he was younger.
Imagine then, the horror felt by the mother of a 16-year-old boy, an honour student, a self-starter who took the initiative both around home and at his part-time job, when he was killed-at a bus stop- by a wayward pickup truck trailer. The facts are still being gathered, but there was a collision between the truck that was hauling the trailer and another vehicle. One was turning left and the other was going straight. It’s still not known for certain, who had the right of way.
Some things ARE certain, though: The student had the right to feel safe at his bus stop. His mother, who is visually-impaired, had the right to reasonably expect that her son would come home after school, and help her around the house, as he had done for several years. His sister, and cousins, had the right to expect, all other things being equal, that he would continue to make them proud, with his consistent achievements.
We never know when the “bell will toll”. Many of us have heard this, week in and week out- at our places of worship, at school and at the neighbourhood gathering spot. I’ve had my own brushes with death- and so far, so good. Having seen my youngest brother, then my wife, go through gradual declines just underscored my understanding of this concept.
I am not sure I will ever really comprehend what almost seems a capricious taking of life, however. The life of a child, or of a teen, seems almost sacrosanct- and yet…..