Bad Decision by Janet Keyes

One thing I have always regretted was a decision to “go along with the crowd.” I was a freshman, and most of the cool kids in the church youth group were seniors. One Sunday evening after youth group, the crowd decided to go to Brattleboro to the Howard Johnson’s instead of the 4-Leaf Clover in Bernardston, or someplace in Greenfield, like the Snow’s Dairy.

My ride was the driver for this adventure, and I could have asked to be dropped off at my house on their way, but I didn’t, even though I feared that this would make me quite late. But I was thirteen, and good judgment was not my forté.

After we left the ice cream shop, they decided to go through Guilford on the back roads instead of coming down Rte. 5. There was no Rte. 91 yet. I knew it was spring mud season, but I kept quiet. The driver took us out past the house where I had been born, then up to the hilltop where we saw a display of northern lights, then down to Green River Village. From there we proceeded down Green River Road, which would eventually connect with Green River Road in Greenfield after going through the eastern part of Colrain.

Not surprisingly, we got stuck in the mud. We knew we had to walk until we found a house that was not a summer camp. Ann felt sick and decided to stay in the car, so Marilyn volunteered to stay with her, and then Dick asserted, ” I think I should stay with these girls- they shouldn’t be alone in a car miles from nowhere at night.” That left Bill, Dave, Judy, and me to go find a house and a phone. We walked a mile or so, bootless, on the muddy road. It took a while, but we made it. I felt more than a little nervous when Bill commented, “I’m really glad I forgot to take my insulin before supper. Otherwise I’d probably be passing out by now.”

The very kind man with a house and a phone, Osdin Lynde, listened to Dave and Bill as they explained our predicament, and allowed them and Judy to make some phone calls. I made no phone call. He then went back to the car with some mud-worthy vehicle and retrieved the other kids, then took us all to Greenfield- not using the Green River Road. I think we then transferred to Dick’s car and he gave us rides home. I find it astonishing that many details of this adventure are very fuzzy in my memory. All I remember for sure is that I got home after 2 AM, and my mom was waiting up. Marilyn’s mom had called her to let her know we were all right. In fact, several parents had been on their phones, frequently and frantically, after 11 PM.

The next morning I remember falling asleep briefly in Ancient History class. It was a long, tiring day.

I think I always told my mom that we got lost, but she couldn’t really believe that I didn’t know where I was.

To this day, I wish I’d had the good sense to skip this trip.

So, what did I learn from this? That’s easy- I learned I was a gutless, lying wimp who would go along with the crowd because I was too scared to speak up.

Eventually I learned to be my own person and buck the crowd. That works better.

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