WordPress Daily Prompt: Daring-Do

WordPress has issued this Daily Prompt:

Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?

Just yesterday I was remembering this awful situation and now I read this Daily Prompt. At the risk of having you think less of me, I will tell you about a giant fail on my part in “derring-do.” (Why must these things be misspelled by WordPress, I ask you?)

We were invited to a concert given by a posh chorale group in a well-heeled college town. The choir director, a talented composer, had written an African mass to be debuted this day, and there was quite the buzz of excitement and anticipation in the well-attended audience. Bongo drums and other authentic African instruments were on stage. The members of the large and quite renowned chorale group lined up to sing. The director, a young man, made his entrance in full African regalia with a brightly colored shawl holding his baby on his back, papoose-style. The purpose of the baby remains a mystery.

The InfoVisual.info site uses images to explain objects.

The music began. Being somewhat sensitive to hearing damage, my eyes were fixed on the baby to make sure he had ear plugs in. I couldn’t tell whether he did and as the music got louder, I got a little edgy.  Little did I know what was about to happen.

Suddenly the music got much louder and more frenetic. The choir was singing joyfully at the top of their lungs and the choir director, who had been banging away on the drums, now began leaping across the stage like a mad gazelle in some imitation of an African dance.

But he had a baby on his back. A baby whose head was not secured properly and was now flopping back and forth as his father cavorted across the stage.

Oh, I can’t tell you what I was feeling. Such anxiety. Such panic. What was I to do? Is it just me who sees this? My internal squirming became external as I looked over at the woman to my left. Our eyes met.

“Do you see that baby’s head?” I asked. She nodded and said, “I’m an ER nurse and I’ve seen shaken babies. I’m notifying security.” She scrambled over her neighbors into the aisle and disappeared.

And, blessedly, the music stopped almost immediately after she left her seat. The applause for that first song wound down, and the choir director began to introduce the next piece. Suddenly, way off to my right and out of sight, he was interrupted by the bright and chipper voice of one brave soul.

In a distinct British accent and with great authority she said, “Excuse me. A number of us are growing quite concerned with the way your baby’s head is being thrown about. Won’t you please remove…..” and she was promptly drowned out by relieved applause.

The baby was removed. The concert went on. And I was left to contemplate my own lack of courage in this situation.

Derring-do? I think not. I hope I do better next time.

Thanks for reading,







About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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73 Responses to WordPress Daily Prompt: Daring-Do

  1. suzicate says:

    I, too, have been in situations I later wish I’d been brave enough to speak my peace. I can’t imagine watching that baby’s head flop back and forth.


  2. Jodi says:

    Hooray for heroes like this lady! May we all learn from her! And thanks for writing this to cause many to pause and consider “what would you do?” Makes me wonder if I would have stood up…. I would hope to think, but I’ll bet I wouldn’t have. I’ll bet my husband would have. He’s like that. He’s one to run in to a “crisis” or bad situation and fix things. I want to be more like that! We had that discussion during the Boston Marathon bombing. My husband and sons would be the ones to run in and help. I am embarrassed to admit I probably would have run away afraid! Hat that about myself. This reminded me that I want to work on being one to run in – not away! Thanks Barbara! Hugs!


  3. Jodi says:

    Hate – not hat – ugh! I was excited to be first to comment on the fabulous Silver in the Barn!!! HeHe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you have been doing better all your life Barbara! You and your Hubby have hearts of gold from what I have read and seen. And maybe when your eyes met with the lady next to you and had YOU not voiced your concern it would have been too late and the little one could have been injured.


    • Thank you, Pix, and one lesson I gleaned from the experience is to trust my instincts. I knew something was wrong, yet didn’t act. So going forward, I hope I listen to that little voice inside.


      • menomama3 says:

        Absolutely trust your instincts, but why is it so hard to do? And I still can’t figure out what the heck the baby was doing in the ceremony to begin with!


      • Exactly, Susanne. Nothing more than an ego trip for him, I am firmly convinced. “Oh, look at the great Dad including his baby in the performance.” There was no point to it whatsoever!!


  5. Sandra says:

    I so loved this post. I even showed it to my husband who nodded sagely – (which is an act of great enthusiasm on his part.) And I think you should acknowledge your own part in the concerted expression of concern, for I’m sure it was your acknowledgement and support that inspired your neighbour to speak up. Well done you, on all counts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laughing, Sandra, at the description of your enthusiastic husband – I’m beginning to think there might be a branch of his family tree on my own BH’s. My neighbor was off alerting security when the brave Englishwoman (aren’t you proud of your people, Sandra?) spoke up from the other side of the audience. As much as I would like to take some credit, as the hipsters say today, “epic fail.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Daniel Buenos says:

    Barbara, great post. I adore the way you write.
    I loved your post “Ototoxicity and a Christmas Miracle” too. I read it on the train from Madrid to Aranjuez a few days ago. Such a shocking story. I praise your strength, darling. I wish you the best for this new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome home, Daniel. Imagining you reading my post on the train to Aranjuez just makes my day and I so appreciate your kind words. You are a good friend and I wish you the best for this new year as well. XXX Barbara


  7. nrhatch says:

    The audience’s collective thoughts about the welfare of that baby may well have filtered up to the Universal Internet giving the speaker the “go ahead” to speak up to relieved applause.


  8. Outlier Babe says:

    Barbara, had you been next to that man walking along the sidewalk, and seen his baby’s head similarly jouncing along, unsupported, with his every stride, you know yourself well enough to know that you would have politely spoken up.

    I agree with others: Good job speaking up to your neighbor. Let yourself off the hook, as do your admirers. Group dynamics are a different matter, and all sorts of tricky things come into play. Science has only recently gotten a handle on what triggers birds and fish to stay together when in flight and schools while making rapid directional changes. I think we, with both our higher and subconscious motivations, are a bit more complex–don’t you?

    Gonna nerd-out, here, and talk outta my you-know-what, but it all sounds good to me:

    This gaming theory site gives three rules for simple flocking–the “dumb” kind–the kind, though, the first two of which I believe applied to you in the middle of that audience:

    Alignment – a behavior that causes an agent to line up with agents close by.

    [In a crowd, we hormone-driven brain-bulged mammals are, consciously or not, taking the emotional and/or opinion pulse of those near us and aligning ourselves more closely to it.]

    Cohesion- a behavior that causes agents to steer towards the “center of mass” – that is, the average position of the agents within a certain radius.

    [What is the crowd’s consensus, or average opinion? We social primates hesitate to act until we know.]

    [This third one I include just to be fair to the originating site:]

    Separation is the behavior that causes an agent to steer away from all of its neighbors.

    [In lower animals, this merely refers to the minimum personal distance needed that enables the flock to maneuver and negotiate obstacles. In humans, a metaphor for retaining a sense of self despite group dynamics?]

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a crowd, we hormone-driven brain-bulged mammals are, consciously or not, taking the emotional and/or opinion pulse of those near us and aligning ourselves more closely to it.

      Yes, O. Babe, that is precisely what was going on. Precisely.

      What is the crowd’s consensus, or average opinion? We social primates hesitate to act until we know.

      Again, exactly.

      And, of course, all of this happening under extreme time pressure….how long can this be allowed to go on, etc. Another factor for me was being influenced by my environment. Posh concert hall, university setting, semi-famous chorale group, certainly people with PhDs in the audience all conspired to make me doubt my own intuition.

      I hope I can say “never again.” It was a powerful life lesson. And thank you for this brilliant comment which might serve as the first time I’ve ever been comforted by hard science. You rock, O. Babe.


      • Outlier Babe says:

        Yes!! That Expert Factor. So important. It’s why most docs insist that patients respect them with a surname and a salutation of advanced education, while they address them by first names, as one does with children.

        (It is so hard to see with all these soapboxes in my way, I’d climb over, but all the chips on my shoulders are weighing me down. At least I can shout out my comments to you-all, with the practice my ranting has given 😀 )

        You WILL speak out at any next opportunity–no worries.


      • LOL! I mean COL! I’ve got a few of those soapboxes and chips in my way too. Love it! And thanks for the vote of confidence.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. joannesisco says:

    I’m afraid I would be with you Barb …. paralyzed to my seat in silent horror. I’ve often worried that in time of crisis I would freeze to the spot and end up being one of the people needing saving 😦

    Having said that, I did have one ‘brave’ moment I can remember. It was during one of my son’s birthday parties many years ago. I have a pool full of 8 year olds and full assurances from each of their parents that they could swim.
    In the rowdy splashing of their playing, I noticed one boy in the deep end looking ‘odd’. On instinct I jumped in – fully clothed – and pulled him to the edge of the pool. My instincts had been right … he was going down. He spent the rest of the afternoon happily on the pool deck.

    I didn’t start shaking until much later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I see that it is permanently ingrained into your memory as one of those adrenaline-filled, terrifying moments that never leave you. That’s when you realize what a razor’s edge we all happily balance upon, right, Joanne? At any moment, poof!, everything can change. Thank God both our stories have happy endings.


  10. I agree with Pix Under the Oaks that “And maybe when your eyes met with the lady next to you and had YOU not voiced your concern it would have been too late and the little one could have been injured.” Sometimes even our seemingly small reactions are more recognized than we think. Great essay!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ChristineR says:

    In that situation I would have done the same, Barbara, thinking there would surely be someone more authoritive than myself to do something about it. So, there is no chance of me thinking less of you. It’s odd how we like to hang on to those horrible moments of paralysis, intead of keeping the creditable memories!


    • Hello Christine! Yes, I do tend to torture myself with my inadequacies and this episode has been one that’s lurked in the background of my mind ever since it happened. How nice it must be to have the complete mental wherewithal of the lady who did speak up with such confidence. Someday I’ll get there!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. markbialczak says:

    Yikes, Barbara. I was really hoping the conclusion was going to be that it was a ragdoll for effect. This director left his good senses elsewhere. I must repeat. Yikes. I also would have thought that somebody on stage or backstage would have stopped the madman if I were in the crowd such as you were.


    • You would think, right? Those were the thoughts going through my mind as I sat there semi-paralyzed. It was interesting to observe his reaction when faced with the applause of the audience. His wife, who was playing another instrument, walked right up and took the baby out of the sling and appeared absolutely mortified. He did not.He said something to the effect of “Hey, well, we don’t want to upset anybody so no problem!” His demeanor did not leave me confident he wouldn’t do something like this again.


  13. I think in those situations, we often wait, thinking someone with more authority, better access or closer to hand will do/say something. It’s only when it drags on we realise that maybe that’s not the case and by then we often feel it too late. Or someone just beats us to the punch as in this case. I agree with the others that expressing your concern to another gave you both permission to think “yes, we can do something about this”. If that woman had not spoken up, your neighbour’s action in contacting security would have been vital. You done good. Truly.


    • Yes, Heather, you truly get it. What you describe is exactly the process and it happens as quickly as it takes to read your words. With no warning!! I learned such a valuable lesson about not expecting brilliant behavior in brilliant settings. Stupidity crosses all bounds. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not sure I would have behaved differently. It’s hard to speak up in a crowd. Especially to chastise or criticize someone. I wonder how many of the audience that broke into applause, still feels they should have spoken up. Cut yourself some slack. And like the comment above…I thought you were going to say it was a rag doll too!!


    • Thank you, Jennifer. Accusing somebody of potentially harming their baby in front of an entire audience was a daunting prospect, you’re right. And yet that British lady did it with great authority. I never saw her but everything about her manner made me think she was a teacher at one time, or somebody used to issuing commands (rather like the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey!)


  15. la_lasciata says:

    Beautiful Barbara; one is either a loud-mouth or one is not. That I am and you aren’t, for instance, is merely the way the cookie crumbles. 🙂 Had we been there together and I had leaped to my feet and upbraided him in typical fashion might well have made you want to sink into the floor; it’s all a matter of … ahh … erhmmmm … I have no idea ! [grin] It’s just how we are, and neither of us can be blamed, in truth. Nothing to do with courage, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kentucky Angel says:

    In a case like that I don’t know what I would have done Barbara, except hope it was a doll, put there as a stage prop. As for other rescue type things, I used to be a first responder in this area for catastrophic events, so I have been present after fires, tornados and other incidents. I have the training to help people out of situations that could prove fatal or injurious, and have helped rescue people in auto accidents, but my best advice is that unless you know what you are doing, stay away and wait for the professional help. You don’t want to become another person to be rescued, so if you can safely give aid, do so, but DO NOT put yourself at risk by running into a collapsed building, or a burning one to try to rescue someone, unless you can see them clearly and have an easy outlet without entering the building.–like if they are hanging out a first floor window, help them get all the way out. If they are thrown clear of an auto accident, DO NOT TURN THEM OR MOVE THEM but talk to them and give aid without touching any part that is oozing bodily fluid. So terribly many things that have to be thought of when you see something like this, but you do have to think of your own protection and your family first. Dial 911 first, then stay on scene until help arrives, but do not place yourself in danger.


    • Such good advice, Angie. I’m sure you were the picture of cool-headedness under crisis and so it comes as a relief that even you aren’t completely sure what you would have done in my little scenario. The entire episode lasted all of 3 or 4 minutes.


  17. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, great re-telling of the story. Where was the mother I wonder? And do you think this guy had been doing this since day one? Yikes. There really ought to be a license for parenting, following a lengthy instruction period on good childcare.


    • Oh, the mother was another musician right up on stage watching the whole thing. She was clearly beyond humiliated when the British lady spoke up and rushed up to whisk the baby away. She did not reappear on stage. I got the feeling she did what she was told. Later I learned from the choir member who had invited us to this event that it had been gently suggested to him by others that it wasn’t a good idea to have the baby up on stage, but he thought he knew better. Can you imagine?


  18. I’d have been going for security…my husband, on the other hand, would have been down there nobbling the gazelle and giving it a piece of his mind.
    I know what you mean about the inhibitions…posh place, posh people, concerns about politeness…it tends to give a moment of paralysis because this should not be happening in this context. Don’t beat yourself up about it….the concern was general and something was done.


    • “The concern was general…” Yes, thank the heavens, although in those few agonizing minutes I had no idea that it was. I love the image of the nobbled gazelle. Such an egomaniac, Helen, using his child as a prop. I am officially finished with self-flagellation — these lovely comments have made me feel much better! Thank you.


  19. bkpyett says:

    What an extraordinary experience. It is so hard to speak up when it is another parent of a child. I don’t know if I’d be courageous enough either.


  20. KerryCan says:

    Thats an amazing and horrifying story! I’m so glad to know that the audience intervened–and obviously you weren’t the only one who was struggling with how to act. I’m sure I would’ve failed to act in this situation (I hang my head in shame to admit this)–it has been so ingrained in me not to make waves or call attention to myself, I’m sure I would’ve been silent but terrible relieved (and envious) when someone else displayed courage.


    • All the circumstances were in place for me not to act too, Kerry. Draw attention to myself at a venue where I was an invited guest of one of the sopranos? Never! Oh, the sense of relief was palpable and the round of applause hugely gratifying. And then everything and everyone carried on as though nothing had happened. A very strange experience indeed.


  21. ritaroberts says:

    I think you can safely say “NEVER AGAIN ” Barbara its something you will never forget. Great Post to make us all think. !


  22. dorothy says:

    Sometimes we’re frozen in place but your eye contact was an important moment as it gave courage to someone who moved forward. You may have played a bigger role than you know. Believe in yourself because I know that you jump for a good cause.


  23. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Barbara. We all have these moments, these regrets. But we learn from then. And then perhaps the next time we have the courage to act. I’m thankful this situation ended well with that resounding audience concern terminating a dangerous situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thank you, Audrey. That’s the thing, isn’t it? We have to file these experiences away under “lessons learned” which I certainly have done now.


  25. kristieinbc says:

    Oh, but you did do something. You asked the person close to you if she saw the baby’s head bouncing, and that got the ER nurse moving. Had you not said anything she might have remained where she was and done nothing.


  26. And just after this post comes the news of the massacre in the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris….that poor women, one of the colleagues of those killed, who was forced to let them into the building by their threats to her and her little daughter…however is she going to cope with the future…


  27. dorannrule says:

    Sometimes it takes two people to acknowledge there is an urgent problem. You were really fine to add your support, and if the other lady had not acted my bets are you would have moved quickly. Don’t beat yourself up!


    • You’re right, of course, Dor. I see that much more clearly today than I did before writing this post. I’m using my blog as a shrink’s couch evidently, but it worked!! How frigid is it in your neck of the woods? It is brutal here — the wind is howling…..


      • dorannrule says:

        It is brutal here too – 9 degrees tonight and we have the wood stove perking along so it’s cozy inside. Son and family coming this weekend so I hope it warms up a bit. He lives in CA and likes to tell us how balmy it is there. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Phil Taylor says:

    Wow! What a crazy situation! That must have been awful to sit and watch. I’m sure that the music director got a serious talking to from someone after that display. And where was the mother of the child? Certainly she should no have even let that ridiculous display even begin! (Yes, I too noticed the spelling error and wondered how it got by.)


    • Sorry, Phil, my earlier reply seems to have vanished. Oh,you’ll love this. You asked about the mother? Well, she was right up there on stage playing another instrument. Read Rachel’s comment below to have confirmed that fathers aren’t the only ones to do really bone-headed things. EGAD.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. WOW! At least you noticed… So many people these days are oblivious to what’s going on around them. I had a couple bring their 1 month old baby to my photography studio, and when the baby wouldn’t smile (YES, REALLY!), the dad — get this — took a sour candy from his pocket and put it in the infant’s mouth!!!!!!! (Yes, really!) I didn’t know who I wanted to choke more – the dad for doing that, or the mom for letting him! UGH!


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