On my drive into work, there is a sign attached to a telephone pole that says “Missing Parrot”. The sign has a photo of the parrot. The sign is laminated, and has been stapled to this telephone pole for years. Sometimes I see the sign, and I wonder where the parrot went.
On March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines 370 (MH370), a Boeing 777, took off from Kuala Lumpur. It never arrived in Beijing. Searchers have never located a trace of the airplane.
Where did MH370 go?
In the past 4 months, I have read news stories about four people who went missing, three of them with local connections.
Just before Thanksgiving, a student from West Chester University went missing. His body was recovered several weeks later near the Schuykill River.
I used to work at a pharmacy with another pharmacist. His 22 year old son, a nurse in Pittsburgh, went missing during the Christmas holidays. Search parties were formed, but he has not been located.
A few weeks ago, an ESPN sportswriter reported his son to be missing. His son’s car was parked near a lake. His son has not been located.
And most recently, a local 13 year old boy went missing for several days. Search parties were formed. His body was found last Monday. Tragically, he committed suicide.
After the attacks of September 11, Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called “You’re Missing”. I listened to it this week.
I work with a couple of local charities and non-profit organizations that try to help struggling people get back on their feet. Since November, I have been working with three different men. I knew their names, addresses, phone numbers, and their e-mail addresses. I was getting to know each of them. I listened to their hopes and dreams, their fears and their worries.
All three have disappeared. They moved, and don’t respond to telephone calls, e-mail, or text messages.
Where did they go?
When I went to school, the teacher used to do “roll call”. Roll call was taking attendance. I didn’t even see it sometimes. Because we had assigned seats, the teacher only had to look for empty seats, and knew immediately who was not there that day.
When I was growing up, I sometimes went to public swimming pools. The lifeguards used “the buddy system”. Every child was assigned a “buddy”. I was supposed to stay close to my buddy, and if the lifeguard blew the whistle, my buddy and I were supposed to hold our hands together up high, to show the lifeguard that we were present and accounted for. Anyone without a buddy was supposed to make a lot of noise.
I have a couple of relatives who are “estranged” from our extended family.
One left over 30 years ago, and has not been heard from since.
Where did they go? Why are they missing?
I ask a lot of questions.
I ask those questions to try to make sense of the world. I write this blog to help with that, too.
Sometimes things happen that make no sense to me at all. And no matter how many times I ask “why?”, I can’t find an answer that makes sense.
So I hug my wife and my girls and my dog, and I thank God my family is with me today.
All present and accounted for.