This Thing Called Courage

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Missing Young Man


I TRY TO WALK WITH FIONN THE DOG FIVE MILES A DAY, even in the cold. Actually the cold isn't so bad-- the worst is a hard, driving, cold rain, or very icy sidewalks, especially at night. But that's beside the point-- we see so much on our walks, the routes of which we vary daily. We often encounter people who pull over from the road to talk to us/ask us questions, or people who might be walking along as well. And there are some regulars we encounter every day. Most of those who pull over are lost, and a person with a dog, I think, seems like a likely person to help them out, presumably local at that. Once or twice the inquiries have been less savory. Once we were warned that a very large snapping turtle was just ahead up the road. (We ended up rescuing the turtle, and bringing her to the far side of Dark Hollow Pond-- female turtles round these parts leave their homes between May 15-June 15 to go out and lay eggs-- sometimes as far as a mile from their homes. Sometimes they get confused on the way back, and end up on the Fellsway-- not a good thing.) That's part of our job too.
Tonight's encounter was sadder. A man and a woman in a jeep pulled over as Fionn and I were walking up the Fellsway, round 10:30 or so. The man was handing out flyers (see above-- like all the pics here, one can enlarge it by clicking on it)-- Had I seen this young man? No, I said. The man was the boy's father, and he reported that his son has been missing since January 5, and has been seen in this area. He said that he had called home from the pay phone at the gas station down the street (where Fionn and I had just bought a bottle of milk) two nights ago. He said that he thought his son was looking to get involved with a gang. The flyer says he might be in Lowell, Everett, Medford, or Stoneham. It says he left home with minimal clothing and no funds. His name is Keaton 'KJ' Snodgrass, from Litchfield, NH. He is 14, 5'9", 130 pounds, brown hair in a buzz cut, brown eyes, slight build. Anyone spotting him in the area should call the Litchfield Police, at 603.424.4047.
How very sad-- I wonder what it is that makes a kid do something like this? God knows I did a lot of crazy stuff at that age-- including running away-- but why run away to join a gang? At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, maybe it's the rap music, and the television culture of glorified violence. At any rate-- please keep your eye out for him if you're in the area. I'm putting his flyer on my altar, and hoping for the best, and will keep my eye out for him while we're walking...

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