I Choked

I heard the call: “Doctor! We need a doctor! CPR! Help! Does anyone know CPR?” and I choked. If asked, never in bazillion million years would I have said I would turn away. Before tonight, I believed I was one of them….

I looked around the room, expecting someone else to respond.

The Literary Advance of Houston Champions of Literacy Series dinner, sponsored by the Junior League of Houston, was coming to a close. I was standing at my table, saying farewells to the copyeditors and publisher of my new picture book, Dance, Y’all, Dance, when the call rang out.

I jumped when the call rang out.

I was ready. I knew CPR. I could help….

And maybe, if the person who needed help had been within eyesight I might have flown to her side.

But she was out of sight.

In the hallway.

And there were loads of people still in the room.

“I can’t believe there isn’t a doctor here,” one of my companions remarked.

I agreed. In this vast pool of fully literate and deep pocketed attendees who could believe not one was a doctor….there had to be a doctor.

We continued with our conversation.

And moved onto other subjects.

I had pretty much forgotten the distress call when our goodbye group was interrupted by the arrival of one of the event organizers (one in the “know”).

“What happened to the person?” someone in the group asked. “Is he or she alright?”

We didn’t’ know the gender, hadn’t cared enough to find out, I Choked.

I heard the call: “Doctor! We need a doctor! CPR! Help! Does anyone know CPR?” and I choked.

If asked, never in bazillion million years would I have said I would turn away; before tonight, I believed I was one of them….

I looked around the room, expecting someone else to respond.

The Literary Advance of Houston Champions of Literacy Series dinner, sponsored by the Junior League of Houston, was coming to a close. I was standing at my table, saying farewells to the copy editors and publisher of my new picture book, Dance, Y’all, Dance, when the call rang out.

I jumped when the call rang out.

I was ready. I knew CPR. I could help….

And maybe, if the person who needed help had been within eyesight I might have flown to her side.

But she was out of sight.

In the hallway.

And there were loads of people still in the room.

“I can’t believe there isn’t a doctor here,” one of my companions remarked.

I agreed. In this vast pool of fully literate and deep pocketed attendees who could believe not one was a doctor….there had to be a doctor.

We continued with our conversation.

And moved onto other subjects.

I had pretty much forgotten the distress call when our goodbye group was interrupted by the arrival of another.

“What happened to the person?” someone in the group asked. “Is he or she alright?”

We didn’t’ know the gender—hadn’t cared enough to find out—let alone the ideentiy of this “poor-unfortunate-in-need-of-aide we had been so consurned about minutes before.

I was one of the “good Samaritans” or so I had always assumed. One of those who jumped ran, rushed to the aide of a countryman. Smug in this belief, I had conducted myself: passed judgment; heaped praise but when the call for “help” an honest call, a true call rang out, I ignored it...

What does that make me?