My Missing Daughter
by Linda C Butler
Told by Charlie Vance
We opened a store in Herb Lake, an early mining town, when our daughter was a toddler. We originally lived in the back of the store, but later rented Bill Marshall’s house next door when he moved to Wekusko Falls.
At that time workhorses were an important element in the community and were used mainly to haul firewood and to haul frozen fish for commercial fishermen. They were not used for work in the summer months and grazed freely in the local pastures.
One day Naomi (Jane) ran into the store crying: “Linda is missing!”
Herb Lake was built along the lakeshore and it was every parent’s nightmare that a child might wander to the water’s edge and fall in. It was about 150 yards to the lake and I ran to the shore as quickly as I could while Naomi alerted neighbors to organize a search party.
I couldn’t see Linda by the water so I circled around, trying to figure out where she might have gone. There was an old stable nearby and I thought to check that. The door was open as the horses sometimes went inside where it was cooler and the flies were not as active. This day I saw fifteen or so horses inside. I quietly approached the doorway and bent down and looked through the horses’ legs. There near the far wall, playing unconcerned was my daughter.
My first impulse was to walk between the horses and bring Linda out, but I realized that if I spooked them, their hard hooves could kill her. The thought came to me that since she had walked through the horses to get to the far side, she could likely come out the same way, without disturbing them.
I was bent down by the open doorway and very quietly I said: “Linda, come to DaDa.”
Linda looked up and saw me, then smiled and waddled through the horses’ legs towards me. Quietly I kept encouraging her to come, and finally she was close enough that I grabbed her in my arms. I gave her a big hug, so thankful that she was safe, and carried her home.
(c) 2014 Linda C Butler