PANIC

Yes, that’s a keyfob. And, because it’s a Volkswagon Jetta keyfob, it’s also the key.

Last Sunday the girls asked me to take them to Portland Head Light to climb on the rocks, hike and take pictures. The answer to that request will always be an enthusiastic “yes”. While I took pictures the girls made a “house” out of driftwood, mangled lobster pots and rocks. I climbed all over the cliffs and boulders trying to capture the lighthouses from new and interesting perspectives.

I laid on a rock about six inches above the surface of the water to get this shot.

And got really low to capture this reflection.

Then I waited for the girls to be done playing. After a long while I suggested we go play on the swings before heading to the hospital to get Kirsten. The sun was getting low and the tide was coming in and I was getting a bit chilly.

Skye and Hayley headed to the playground while Jenna and I went to get the car and drive it down. I couldn’t find the key! It wasn’t in my pants, jacket or camera bag. Nowhere. If it were down on those rocks the tide would, in a very short time, completely cover it. Besides, it was getting dark and there were about a bazillion round rocks it could have fallen between. And, it was getting dark. And, the park would be closing at sunset. And, Kirsten needed a ride home after her twelve hour shift at the hospital. Fuck.

Jenna and I walked to the playground to get her sisters then headed back down the tall granite cliffs to the rocky shore where we had spent most of the afternoon. I scanned the ground in what I knew was a futile attempt to locate the missing key. I suspected it had fallen out of my jacket pocket in either of the two places I had laid down.

The girls were too slow over the cliffs and boulders so I told them to go to the top of the cliff and walk around. That way they wouldn’t slow me down and I could keep an eye on them.

At the first location, where I had laid on a rock to shoot Ram Island Ledge Light, the rock was submerged by the rising tide. I looked through the clear water but couldn’t see the key. I hurried to the second spot and, when I rounded the last corner, saw the bright red PANIC button of the keyfob at eye level. Whew!!! After snapping a few pics for this blog post I retrieved the key and headed back to tell the girls the good news. I had no idea the adventure had just begun.

The girls hadn’t gone up to the cliff, but were still down on the beach. Apparently they hadn’t heard me or communicated to each other. And they couldn’t hear me now, they were too far away. When they were in range I called out to Jenna and Skye and asked them where was Hayley. I figured she was behing a large rocks and was just out of sight. All I got was a shoulder shrug. I yelled for Skye to go find her and off Skye went. When I finally reached Jenna I was missing two girls, but was confident Skye would find her sister and we could finally leave.

As Jenna and I climbed up the cliff there were about fifteen people standing on the edge watching us. When we got close to the top a women asked if I was the dad. I told her I was a dad. She said they found my daughter, which was nice. I didn’t think they were lost, really. Pretty soon Skye rounded the corner and everybody looked quite pleased about the reunion. Until I told them I have three daughters. Those happy expressions instantly changed back to concern and panic.

With Skye and Jenna close behind I walked around the top edge of the cliffs yelling for Hayley. After only a few very long seconds we heard a man yelling that he had found her. I could tell by his voice that she was okay. She had a huge smile on her face as he carried her up to us. Everybody was relieved and happy our little family was back together. Hayley had been several hundred yards away from where I had left her. She was trying to find us but was going the wrong direction over very large, sharp and treacherous boulders.

I was never as concerned as any of the spectators. The girls are very good on the rocks and hardly ever fall off them.

3 Comment

  1. The girls “hardly ever fall off them”??? Oh yeah, that’s reassuring Brent. Good thing I wasn’t there. Don’t think I would have let them out of my sight. And I would have panicked more about the girls than the key. That was smart of you though, to look in the places first where you knew you were lying down. Oh…that’s another thing I wouldn’t have done…lie down on the rocks. *lol* I’m very happy it all turned out well in the end.

  2. @kirstendanley

    I would have panicked more about the girls than the key

    When the key was lost the girls weren’t. The two events were separated by about a minute. I never was panicked. Skye panicked. ;) I knew they would be okay. I was far less sure I’d find the key.

    Don’t think I would have let them out of my sight.

    That’s why god invented dads.

  3. Paul Carter says: Reply

    Well – I can’t say I ever experienced anything like that! I don’t have daughters!!

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