Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a chance on the weather and drive up to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, for the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival. It was not a particularly nice day to be outside -- it was cloudy and humid, and the parking lot and festival grounds were soggy and sloppy -- but I always enjoy the festival. The vendors sell high quality merchandise (no license plate birdhouses or paintings on saw blades, for example) at reasonable prices, and the musical entertainment is very good (if you like bluegrass).
Once I finished looking at all the booths, I bought a drink and sat down a picnic table to rest my feet for a bit -- I always develop blisters when I wear my boots -- before returning to my car. I pulled the most recent Entertainment Weekly out of my backpack and flipped through it while I finished my drink. As I prepared to leave, an announcement came over the public address system that caught my attention:
Would the parents of David Heaton please come to the office?Now, it's always interesting to hear your own name in an unfamiliar context, and hearing it broadcast over a public address system somewhere in the middle of West Virginia was certainly an unfamiliar context. But that wasn't the really interesting thing. The interesting thing was that David Heaton happens to be the name of my oldest nephew. It seemed unlikely that the David Heaton in question was my David Heaton, but on the other hand, the idea wasn't totally implausible. The Mountain Heritage Festival was the kind of place his dad would want to visit, and he does have something of a history of getting lost at fairs. I decided to stop by the office before leaving.
I found the office, and found my nephew sitting there with a couple other boys about his age. "Hey, David," I said, "what are you doing here?"
"Uncle John?" David looked like someone had just punched him in the stomach. Seeing me there was pretty clearly the least likely thing that had ever happened to him. "Are you really here?"
I turned to one of the other boys in the office. "Am I really here?" He confirmed I was. Once we had that settled, I stayed with him in the office until his dad showed up. He was also surprised to see me, though not so much as David had been.
It turns out David had never actually been lost. He had wanted to go off and look around the festival by himself, and had been told to wait for his dad at a particular place. And that plan worked fine, until David got bored waiting and went to the office. He claims he waited for twenty minutes before finding the office, but he wasn't wearing a watch, and time perception isn't one of his strengths. Nevertheless, it all worked out in the end. And it was worth it just to see the look on his face.</p>