This is only a drill


My boys are country boys. They know if I lay out socks and underwear with their clothes we are going to church, doctor’s office or Momo’s house.  We live not off the grid, but you can see it from here. I have talked to the boys about hornets, snapping turtles, coyotes and even bob cats. I spray them with sun screen and tell them to play. When we go to big cities, (Madison, Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines) I caution them to be aware of their surroundings, stay next to me, holding on to me even and if we are separated to stay put–I will find them. We have the stranger danger talks and  I have warned them of bad guys and good guys. Who do you trust and who do you not trust. They still refuse to believe it is OK for the Pediatrician to ask to see their schmeckle and will not be convinced it is any of her business where their testicles reside.


Earlier this week a bad guy…stabbed another man in Madison, took a hostage, stole a truck loaded with guns and headed towards our little town. I took a nap with the baby that day, not something I get to do often. It was one of those hard sleeps–I woke rather stuporous and came out. There were 12 missed calls on the phone and I hear the news and that my boys are in lock-down at their elementary school.


I tell myself there is nothing to worry about, but underneath I feel a little panic. I think about the last thing I said to Noah. My eldest and I have a turbulent relationship at times. He doesn’t like me to say,”I love you” or “Have a good day” it has always upset him, so instead I say “Have a rotten day, don’t learn anything!” We both smile and he goes inside to face his day with a grin. (You should see the looks the other mother’s have always given us). I busy myself doing chores but I am afraid. I think, remember when it was Women and Children first and men would fight men???


When I was in school I enjoyed a fire drill on a nice afternoon and I thought tornado drills were exciting–a nice change of pace. My children have been practicing a different kind of drill–Lock Down Danger Drills.


They apprehend the bad guy (just steps from our church BTW) and the lock down is over. I go at the appointed time to pick him up. I ask him how his day was he says, “Good–we had a Lock Down”. I asked what that was and he said, “You know when a bad guy has a bomb or guns and wants to hurt children we get locked in our class room with the glass covered and we try to be quiet and not panic. We were in the gym tho and we had snacks this time.” My heart breaks a little. Maybe I have lied to myself, giving myself a false sense of security out here in the sticks. I am sad that the world we live in today preys upon the weak and innocent. Don’t get me wrong–I am glad the school has planned and practiced this. In light of the unimaginable tragedies that have happened in little-known towns in simple little elementary schools–it is their duty (I think) to be ready. All those little souls with their teachers, on the hottest day of the year having to face this on a Tuesday afternoon.

That night I admit I read books a little longer, kissed and hugged a little more, tickled and laughed and just was happy to snuggle. I was aware in that moment in that evening what a precious thing my little boys are and how much I hate that the evil in the world can reach them, snatch them even in the blink of an eye. Even here in a small, small town.

I want to thank the Iowa County and Grant County Law Enforcement, the entire staff of Pecatonica Elementary–aw, heck–THANK YOU to Law Enforcement, Fire, Ambulance and Teachers everywhere!

Sincerely, Sara

2 thoughts on “This is only a drill

  1. That must have been scary! It’s so hard when you don’t know what is going on. I remember one time when I looked across the street at our grade school to see 12 police cars and 2 fire trucks there. It was hard to breathe for awhile as my heart was in my throat. Turned out it was just an air conditioning unit that was smoking. I’m so glad everyone in your family and community is okay!

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